The iPod as an Education PDA

At a sparsely attended digital technology conference here in New York yesterday, speaker Mike Lawrence, technology expert for the Orange County (California) Department of Education and an Apple Distinguished Educator, presented an eye-opening seminar on the educational possibilities of Apple’s wildy successful iPod digital music player. As I wrote earlier this month, the iPod is a handy, portable 20 or 40 gigabyte disk drive. Lots of students listen to music on the iPod, and according to Mike, teachers have been adapting it for a number of interesting educational applications:

  1. Course-related music
  2. Digital “books on tape”
  3. Historical audio like the 9-11 Commission proceedings
  4. Broadband assignments like movies and multimedia files that would otherwise bog down a school network
  5. Digital photo storage for student-created work and for courseware
  6. Language translation for the iPod from Talking Panda

Mike demonstrated several add-ons like the Altec Lansing iPod speakers and the Apple Airport wireless links. He also described the launch of, a new web site that will cover developments in this interesting area. Teachers have always been smart about adapting new technologies to the classroom. Hooking up the ubiquitous iPod is a stroke of genius.

What Others Are Saying

  1. Carl Van Ostrand Mar 23, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    This is huge – I had already begun to hear stories of free iPods being handed out by music teachers a couple years ago – and that was fun but not groundbreaking in a musical setting.
    Combined with podcasting and increased file-sharing though, this will take over many many more classrooms, if we still need those, very soon.
    PS – to Jack: We’ve spoken before in a business setting, regarding Datamonitor research. I’ve been visiting your site regularly since. This education tech movement is facinating – makes me wish I was back in school.