Electronic Design

Duke Purchases iPods For Incoming Frosh Class

Awaiting Duke University freshmen this fall is an added surprise, as each will receive an iPod. While they're known best as portable music players, these pocket-sized digital devices download text material in addition to audio. The Duke iPods will come preloaded with content such as freshman orientation information and the academic calendar. Also, students will be able to use a university Web site to download faculty-provided course content, including language lessons, music, recorded lectures, and audio books.

For example, students in visiting assistant professor Lisa Merschel's elementary Spanish course will use their iPods to listen to audio examples of textbook exercises, hear Spanish music, and even record their own efforts to speak Spanish. Students in adjunct professor Sally Schauman's environmental ethics class will use their iPods to record lectures as well as take notes and record interviews while they're in the field.

The university tapped 1650 of the latest-generation, 20-Gbit devices for the program. They're compatible with Mac and Windows systems. This distribution is part of a pilot program between Duke and Apple Computer designed to encourage creative uses of technology in education and campus life. The $500,000 total cost of the program includes the hiring of an academic computing specialist, grant funding for faculty, associated research costs, and purchase of the iPods.

For more, go to www.duke.edu.

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