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Students Get iPods as Study Aids 230

Posted by pudge
from the mmmm-gothic-imagination dept.
WIAKywbfatw writes "Georgia College & State University in Milledgeville, Georgia has given iPod digital music players to its students to help them with their coursework, as reported by BBC News. Apple donated about 50 iPods as part of an experimental project to illustrate creative uses for the machine, and University professors say the gadgets have helped the students think more critically about their Gothic Imagination course." I wonder if I can write off my new iPod as an education expense.
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Students Get iPods as Study Aids

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  • by Jingle (583669) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:02PM (#5864077) Homepage
    If I can get a 30gb iPod for free it might be worth the effort for about a week. :)
  • Creative uses? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Drakonian (518722)
    I'm not seeing it.... unless they mean installing Linux. [sourceforge.net]
    • Re:Creative uses? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DavidinAla (639952)
      That's like saying that you don't see the use of someone getting a Honda unless you can change the software that controls the car's computer.

      If you want to market an MP3 player that uses Linux or some other free OS, more power to you. But to say what you're saying is just blind zealotry. Personally, I don't see a lot of use for an iPod in education (and I say that as a happy iPod owner), but it has nothing to do with religious reasons such as whether it's running an open source OS.

      David
      • Blind zealotry? Huh? I'm not saying you should only run an open source OS. I'm saying the only creative use I can think of for an iPod would be to install Linux and write your own software. As it exists out of the box, there aren't many creative things you can do other than listen to music.
        • Re:Creative uses? (Score:2, Insightful)

          by DavidinAla (639952)
          Even though I agree with the contention that it might not be the best use of educational dollars (to use iPods in college classes), your answer makes me suspect you didn't spend too much time in liberal arts classes. :-)

          There are plenty of creative uses that can be made of almost any device -- besides writing software. Whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages is a different issue, and we might be in agreement on that point, but for differing reasons.

          David
      • Re:Creative uses? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 02, 2003 @07:46PM (#5866184)
        Personally, I don't see a lot of use for an iPod in education (and I say that as a happy iPod owner), but it has nothing to do with religious reasons such as whether it's running an open source OS.

        I'm not certain if its the same university, but I was reading another article on creative uses in education, and they were doing some very cool things. One class set-it up so that the class lecture, curriculum, research, and notes as well as student projects were available for sync-ing. Students could plug there iPod into any number of iMacs in a pre-configured lab, to get all the new lectures. They could then listen/re-listen to lectures as needed. Additionly any new files designated by the instructor were also sync'd to the iPod, and students could place their projects in public folder, were others could download it and view it, listen to it, etc.

        It combined using the iPod for as a MP3 player, as well as the hard drive to exchange and port files, media and documents.

        Apparently being able to listen to the lecture and discussions more than once, not only improved retention of knowledge, but increased student participation in future discussions, etc.

        It sounded as if it made the class much more exciting. Now of course, part of this excitement was probably just from the fact that the instructors had to rethink their entire syllabus, and revise it to actually be used with the iPod, which probably freed them from a lot of the boring standby material. But the fact that students for additional semesters were willing to purchases their own iPods, if they could just take the class, proves the value of the new format.
  • by CptChipJew (301983) <michaelmiller@gm a i l . com> on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:05PM (#5864096) Homepage Journal
    = "I wonder what is the most creative way to slit my wrists"

    --
  • Can they record? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:05PM (#5864099) Homepage
    What would also be really neat is if iPods could record. I could definitely see how having a 10-20Gb minirecorder could be really useful for classes. I've always wanted to be able to record lectures and play them back later with a high degree of ease. Laptops OTOH are not too well suited for this and you need a lot of space for a full course load.

    Over all, this is a really cool idea.
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Dylan Zimmerman (607218) <Bob_Zimmerman@myreal b o x.com> on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:09PM (#5864132)
      iPod's can't record, but if you really want something that does, then get a Sony Mini-disk player/recorder. They aren't that expensive and the disks hold quite a bit of audio.

      Now, I wonder if the iPod's remote buttons are separate from the internal buttons from the iPod's point of view. If they are, then it should be possible to mod your remote and make it into a microphone that you could use with either hacked iPod software (yeah, right) or the Linux on iPod project. Just write a program that interprets the 'next' button on the remote as microphone data.
      • Re:Can they record? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jason1729 (561790) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:44PM (#5864391)
        iPod's can't record, but if you really want something that does, then get a Sony Mini-disk player/recorder

        They way Sony is going, you'll probably have to pay a royalty to play back the lecture; there's always the chance of it being used to acoustically copy CDs.

        Go with the old fashioned analog microcassette recorder. The only problem I had with that is getting the mic to actually pick up the lecture, but you'll have the same problem with a digital solution.

        Just write a program that interprets the 'next' button on the remote as microphone data.

        Yep, I'm sure iPod is capable of picking up pushbutton presses fast enough. Coming from the mic, you'll have PCM data, the lowest that's acceptable for speech will still need 1 megabyte/minute. That's over 100,000 keypresses per second.

        Jason
        ProfQuotes [profquotes.com]
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:4, Informative)

      by JebusIsLord (566856) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:13PM (#5864165) Homepage
      The creative nomad jukebox 3 can. you need an external mic though. this is why i bought one of those instead of an ipod, even though the ipods are admittedly sexier.
      • Re:Can they record? (Score:4, Informative)

        by blixel (158224) on Friday May 02, 2003 @06:39PM (#5865800)
        even though the ipods are admittedly sexier.

        I have to admit I chose form over function when I bought my MP3 player, which was the iPod. I spent days reading reviews on cnet.com and a few other sources, compared prices, features, even created a spread sheet of my own so I could compare them quickly at a glance. In the end I decided the iPod just wasn't worth the money vs. the features it had. But I bought one anyway because of the size and sleek design.

        Now that I own it, I can't say I'm sorry about my choice either. I'm happy with the product. My only regret is that I didn't wait another 2 months for the new iPods to come out because I think they are quite an improvement. The only bad thing about the new iPod is that they sacrificed battery life for size. The new iPod has a smaller battery and thus wont last as long between recharges. That aside, the even smaller design of the new one combined with some new features made me break down and buy the new one as well. I was dissapointed to see that Apple didn't include an FM tuner. That would be my personal first choice for a new feature to be added. I would also like to see voice recording, FM recording, line in/out on the device itself with the ability to RIP MP3's directly from a stereo without using a computer, more dumb little games, an FM Transmitter, and probably a few other things I'm forgetting. But to put all that stuff in the player would probably make it much larger and wouldn't be worth it to many people who need the ultra slim design of the iPod.
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Tmack (593755)
      Of cousre there are these things called cassette recorders, they work fairly well at recording lectures. You can even get Micro-cassette recorders that are even smaller. They dont cost all that much and you can get replacement media for really cheap.

      Granted most lectures I recorded were not of the caliber necessary for digital recording, I could see how it might be needed in a class such as "Gothic Imagination". Plus, with the tape recorder I could play back the whole lecture in 30mins with the speed-dial

      • Re:Can they record? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by mingot (665080)
        Plus, with the tape recorder I could play back the whole lecture in 30mins with the speed-dial turned all the way up.

        This reminds me of an article I read ages ago that said that listening to sped up audio actually helped comprehension and retention of the subejct matter. Can't find a thing about it via google, though.
    • I thought they weren't able to record due to inadequate CPU power or something.

      It'd be excellent for bootlegging live shows if they made a model that could record, although isn't it impossible to copy MP3s off an iPod?

      • Re:Can they record? (Score:2, Informative)

        by dadragon (177695)
        It'd be excellent for bootlegging live shows if they made a model that could record, although isn't it impossible to copy MP3s off an iPod?

        No. The files just can't be seen from the Mac finder. They are stored in directories name .{something}, so they also don't show up without using ls -a.

        All you have to do to get songs off the iPod is type:
        find . -name "*.mp3" -exec cp {} /some_dir \;

        and that will copy all the songs from the iPod to /some_dir
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by lylum (659581)
      I have a Ripflash Mp3 player (and recorder) [amazon.com] and it does a fairly good job recording lectures (and the 128 MB built-in last for about 8 hours).
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Herg (564957) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:54PM (#5864458)
      The Archos Recorder [archos.com] is another MP3 player that has a recording function. It has a built-in mic, about 10 hours uptime per charge, and the 20GB model can be had for less than $250.

      The interface to a PC is simply a USB HDD, so it can be used with just about any OS, unlike the iPod.

      It doesn't run Linux, but there is an open-source replacement firmware available, Rockbox [rockbox.haxx.se].
    • In my college, MIT, a number of professors record their lectures and post them on the class website for student use. In fact, one of the most famous introductory computer science courses, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs [mit.edu], is now completely based on Powerpoint presentations viewed online, with notes and the professor's voiceover. I agree - it's often valuable to have a lecture recording, but if the professor does that already, then there is no additional value in having students each record
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:3, Informative)

      by tmark (230091)
      If you want to record, get yourself a digital voice recorder. There's plenty of models out there, including ones by Sony and Olympus, and some of the come bundled with Dragon or ViaVoice dictation software.

      Advantages (vs typical MP3 recorders):
      - You're not limited by the memory of your little MP3 recorder as you can (at least with Sony models) just pop in a new memory stick.
      - most models have VOR capabilities so you only record when there's *something* to record. I would guess most MP3 recorders, since t
      • I forgot: many digital voice recorders will let you play your recordings back at double speed, but at normal pitch - a great help when scanning recordings. This feature is not in most MP3 recorders I'm familiar with.
    • Re:Can they record? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bgarland (10594) on Friday May 02, 2003 @07:26PM (#5866010) Homepage
      According to a new item at http://macrumors.com/ the iPods have a secret "recording" option when in diagnostic mode.

      Recording feature found on new iPods! [macrumors.com]
  • by rnb (471088) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:05PM (#5864102)
    University professors say the gadgets have helped the students think more critically about their Gothic Imagination course.

    That's a lot of Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy songs.
  • Audio books? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chairboy (88841) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:06PM (#5864109) Homepage
    Could an MP3 player be considered a study aid if perhaps it were to be filled with Audio Books?

    A previous story about the Kalishnikov ammo magazine MP3 player led me to http://www.audiobooksforfree.com, a website that has a bunch of books in MP3 format.
  • by strateego (598207) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:06PM (#5864111)
    All I get is an education. I don't want that crap. I want my free iPOD. Damn you WCC [ctc.edu]
  • by Rudy Rodarte (597418) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:07PM (#5864120) Homepage Journal
    "I not only use it for class assignments but for personal use as well." I wonder what kind of personal use this dude was talking about? Surely not the 17,000 over the next 3 years kind?
  • by ihatewinXP (638000) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:07PM (#5864122)
    When or if or how Apple is going to release some kind of documentation for us to play with the guts. its obviously updateable and from a xserve cluster article I saw that they have already been re-programmed as headless lcuster administration tools. That and "dual processors" and "cd burning capabilities" why shouldnt we the owners be let in at some point. On an official Apple message board it was recently relayed to the community that ipod software 2.0 will NOT be availible for the first gen ipods...well I dont see anything that pushes the capabilities...why not let us have a look?
    • Knowing Apple... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by haaz (3346) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:28PM (#5864273) Homepage
      ...it won't happen. They're very tight about what information they release. And even then, it's often done under NDAs. Ferinstance, I recall from my LinuxPPC days the great lengths an honest developer would have to go to get documentation on a chip used in Mac hardware. And just because OS X has BSD at its core doesn't mean Apple's any more open with anything else. Proprietary thinking is still very much in the house, despite their partial embrace of open source software and open standards.

      That said, there's no reason the iPod couldn't be hacked, as seems to be happening. (It's not encrypted in any way (that I know of), and therefore not under the guard of the DMCA.) But it would be quite good for Apple to open up just a little bit more.
    • On an official Apple message board it was recently relayed to the community that ipod software 2.0 will NOT be availible for the first gen ipods...
      At first I didn't believe you, but it's right there on the iPod>>Usage forum: [apple.com]
      iPod software 2.0 and its features are only compatible with new iPods.
      Bummer.
    • That and "dual processors" and "cd burning capabilities" why shouldnt we the owners be let in at some point.

      I think you've been reading too many rumor sites. The "dual processors" in an iPod is a myth. Dunno where you got the "cd burning capabilities" idea from.

  • Sure there are other things you can do with the i-Pod, but when schools are getting bothered by the RIAA all the time, this doesn't seem to make much sense. Well... unless they really like having the RIAA after them? I don't know.
  • Most Colleges (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Most colleges claim that lectures are copyright by whomever is giving the lecture. That is, if your professor gives a lecture, the professor owns the lecture and you are not allowed to duplicate it without permission. Most also have policies mandating permission to record be given for people who have physical disabilities (such as deafness) that would prevent them from learning the material by hearing it a single time.

    I'm interested to hear what Slashdottians think about this. It does cause obvious problem
    • "...permission to record be given for people who have physical disabilities (such as deafness) that would prevent them from learning the material by hearing it a single time."

      I'm not positive about this, and I'd have to check, but I think that if I played a recording to a deaf person, he wouldn't quite pick up on the things he missed during lecture!
    • So the deaf person can still learn the stuff from the lecture by playing it back and listening really really hard?
    • by Anixamander (448308) on Friday May 02, 2003 @04:13PM (#5864660) Journal
      for people who have physical disabilities (such as deafness) that would prevent them from learning the material by hearing it a single time

      This would also work for people who don't speak the language in which the course is taught. They could just play it back louder.
  • They don't say... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mental_telepathy (564156) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:09PM (#5864138)
    But I would guess they are getting the phased out 5GB models. A little oversotck magically turned into good PR and some word of mouth sales.
    • While they don't say that they were given 5GB iPods, they do say they 'were given 5GB of music on their iPods' so it sounds like they probably got the phased-out models.
  • It works for audio, text, contacts and calendar. I see the use for this course but it seems a bit of a stretch to make this practice widely available. Libraries could use ipods for checking out audio content which could save on duplication costs but campus networks could also share the files. Which would save a bunch on hardware, over the ipod option at least.
    Seems like a better marketing plan then educational tool.
  • Let's see (Score:4, Funny)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:11PM (#5864151) Homepage
    Georgia has given iPod digital music players to its students to help them with their coursework,

    MP3s, OS X/Office X, Linux...

    ...and now, homework answers in advance!

  • Cost vs. Benefit? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by frinkster (149158)
    Sounds like the iPod would actually be useful as part of the coursework, but is that benefit really outweighing the cost?

    Apple donated the first batch, but they aren't going to keep doing that. Someone has to pay for them at some point.
  • I don't get it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonfelder (669529) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:16PM (#5864184)
    I'm not sure I really see much of a point here. The iPod is a cool gadget and all (I own one in fact), but even after reading the article I don't see the benefit.

    The article mentioned that not all people have broadband at home so they can't necessarily download the files easily. Isn't this what campus computer labs are for? Students could just listen to the audio there. You could use usb keys for a fraction of the price and just download the audio files to them. CDRWs would be cheaper still and you could write the audio tracks directly to them.

    It would seem to me, that at $500 a piece you could give the students desktops or even laptops. Sure, they aren't as portable or cool as an iPod, but they'll play music along with having many other capabilities.
  • by heldlikesound (132717) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:17PM (#5864194) Homepage
    While not distributed by the school, each Mac has a firewire cable coming out the back that ends attached to the front of the machine. This way students can use their iPods (or other firewire drives) to move large video or graphic files from machine to machine. I wouldn't reccomend actually working off of the iPod for reasons of heat, and simply the fact that they aren't really made for that kind of abuse. However, for moving large files, they are great.

    Oh, yeah, and they hold about 10,000 songs too. That's pretty cool.
  • by wo1verin3 (473094) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:21PM (#5864226) Homepage
    Attention Class, For Todays Field Trip we will be visiting CompUSA and seeing who can steal the most software [wired.com].
  • by haaz (3346) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:23PM (#5864235) Homepage
    I think it is actually possible to use a gizmo such as an iPod for tax write-off purposes. I think if you review it for an Established Publication(tm), you can then write it off. But don't take my word for it; I've only heard of it being done. (A tax accountant would be much better to ask about how to make it a valid write-off.) I'm really not sure how it could become an education write-off.
  • by fobbman (131816) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:26PM (#5864262) Homepage
    That's just like my crack dealer buying me a new pipe.

    Wait until the RIAA hears about this. Talk about a revenue stream!

  • write it off... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ouchmyliver (667092)
    "I wonder if I can write off my new iPod as an education expense. "
    Well I doubt that you can write it off as an education expense but I wrote mine off as a business expense. Seriously -I did! Hey a 30 Gig portable hard drive is a valuable tool. I hear it plays music too :)
    • I take my iPod to job interviews and such. The address book is VERY handy when I have to write down my job history, references, and so forth. I know that *I* can't remember all those addresses and phone numbers of all the places I worked.

  • Gothic iPod (Score:5, Funny)

    by magarity (164372) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:43PM (#5864385)
    "their Gothic Imagination course"

    I didn't know iPods came in black.
  • The universities are in sadder shape than I thought. What does the syllabus look like?
    • It's not your parent's basement - it's a medieval dungeon
    • Appropriate curses to use when your father won't let you drive his Volvo
    • How to prove your individuality by dressing alike

  • How's that for an in-your-face response to the recent ligitation/prosecution efforts by the RIAA?

  • Whoops.... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ewhenn (647989) on Friday May 02, 2003 @03:57PM (#5864474)
    ...Apple donated about 50 iPods as part of an experimental project...

    There goes profitability for the next 2 quarters.
  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Friday May 02, 2003 @04:01PM (#5864514) Homepage Journal
    I always use about 1GB out of my 5GB iPod to do backups of my home folder. It is much faster than transferring the files to a network server that is in the tape backups schedule. THAT is business usage and can be written-off.
    • I doubt that would fly with most accounting departments.

      "But listen, I'm first and foremost using the DV Camcorder as a backup device!"
    • I would pay money to see you explain that to the IRS, Mr. I-am-not-a-lawyer-but-I-play-one-on-Slashdot.

      "no, look I use this expensive music player to store my secret business formulas. Why is there music on it? So nobody finds the trade secrets. Did you say something about a fine? I don't think I quite understand what you're saying there, mr. agent. What are back taxes now?"

      Just remember, people: never trust slashdot tax lawyers.
  • by RobRancho (569680)
    And I would like to see what kind of Goth iPod mod someone could come up with.. black face-plate with red back-light?
  • by broken (1648) on Friday May 02, 2003 @04:05PM (#5864571)
    1 - Give free iPods to college students.
    2 - Wait a few months and sue them for all the "illegal" music they have stored there.
    3 - Profit! (receive tens of thousands of dollars in settlements)
  • Recording on Gen 2 (Score:5, Informative)

    by RedX (71326) <redx@wi d e o penwest.com> on Friday May 02, 2003 @04:09PM (#5864630)
    Don't be so sure that you can't record on the new Gen 2 iPod as a LINEIN setting [ipoding.com] has been discovered in Diagnostic Mode.
  • Nope. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Friday May 02, 2003 @04:27PM (#5864817) Homepage Journal
    The government is very explicit with educational expenses you can itemize. Books are not included and neither are mandatory fees...just tuition -- UNLESS it's directly related to your CURRENT career. So if i take linguistics (future career) classes, i can only write off the tuition for that classes' credits, and with calc classes (current career) I can write off pretty much everything. However, you might be able to write it off as a development tool; i am. The general rule is items used 80% (i think) of the time for work can be written off. My iPod has my current codebase and tasklist on it 100% of the time. So you know, there's $500.

    Of course, the problem is getting the auditor to believe that.
  • Will this be another target for their assault?
  • I'm not aware of this "Study AIDS," is it a new strain? Also, I didn't think Apple was in the virulent disease businss. What gives?

    [southpark]
    How did Jared lose so much weight? He got Aids. And now he wants to help everyone by giving them Aids.
    [/southpark]

    Shouldn't that be aides?
  • by iamhassi (659463) on Friday May 02, 2003 @06:43PM (#5865819) Journal
    "Sony has donated 500 Playstation 2's, Force Feedback Steering Wheels and Gran Turismo 3 games to students of a California high school so that they may practice their Driver Education class.

    'I think this Playstation is great!' said one sophmore, 'I'm doing so much better in my Driver Ed class, but I think it's hurt the rest of my studies because I spend all my time playing.'

    School officials hope to use the game systems for other classes as well. 'Soon we plan on purchasing 500 copies of Grand Theft Auto 3 as part as our Criminal Law class to demonstrate that crime doesn't pay.' said superintendent Seymour Butts."

  • by Sabalon (1684) on Friday May 02, 2003 @10:38PM (#5866862)
    I live about 40 miles from GC&SU. I know the head of IT there (though he probably doesn't have much to do with this, he is the chair of the statewide IT committee and is very on top of things) and I have to read about this on the BBC's site?

    GC&SU is a nice campus - kinda out in nowhere, the campus (mostly old buildings) makes up a lot of the town. They have wireless all over the campus and purposly spills over into surrounding student hot-spots. I think they even have a point-to-point wireless link to the downtown to provide access to students while there.

    Nice cafeteria too :)

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