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iPod 301: Advanced Applications of Your MP3 Player

Ever since I switched to a laptop a few years back, I’ve wondered how different college would have been if I could have taken notes on a keyboard. My handwriting was out of control (so were my clothes — hey, this was the 80s). It’s a wonder I could decipher which notes went with which class.

Now it’s iPods on campus that make me envious of students today. Not for tuning out a mind-numbing lecture but for tuning in the subject matter outside of class. When the fashionable white earbuds showed up at Georgia College & State University, administrators saw an opportunity for innovation. They gave iPods to professors who incorporated them as educational tools. And they stocked up on loaner iPods for students who didn’t already own one.

One professor has students download historical movies to watch on their own time, reserving class for a group discusssion. Another creates a podcast of the most asked questions in class that week. There’s even a group of students and teachers — iDreamers — that brainstorms for more ideas (for a terrific list, click here). No wonder Apple, which encourages educational iPod use at ITunes U, chose GCSU to host its Digital Campus Leadership Institute last year.

I don’t know about college being the best four years of your life, as some folks like to claim. But if this creativity on campus continues, I can definitely tell my nephew Tyler, a freshman, “College is the best four years with your iPod.”

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