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Friday, August 22, 2021

school's in
At the risk of enabling in-classroom distraction, colleges and universities are supplying incoming students with iPod Touches and/or iPhones for use as wi-fi learning tools.

This isn’t too surprising, as the higher-ed institutions have been enamored with Apple’s shiny pods for years: The pre-wireless iteration of the iPod was doled out at Duke University and elsewhere to provide audio instruction.

I do question why iPhones are even in the picture, though:

At each college, the students who choose to get an iPhone must pay for mobile phone service. Those service contracts include unlimited data use. Both the iPhones and the iPod Touch devices can connect to the Internet through campus wireless networks. With the iPhone, those networks may provide faster connections and longer battery life than AT&T’s data network. Many cellphones allow users to surf the Web, but only some newer ones have Wi-Fi capability.

Why saddle students who assuredly already have a cellphone with another phone plan, just to get a mobile device that can access the campus’ already-present wi-fi cloud? This is a situation where the iTouch is an ideal device: It’ll always have a strong connection to the Web — particularly in a classroom — and therefore no need for a built-in 3G or Edge signal. The only other thing missing would be a camera, which would be unnecessary in this setting. It makes no sense at all for the school to invest in iPhones when the iPod Touch will do the job.

On Apple’s part, while there’s probably more money to be make in snagging college iPhone customers, they can really position the iTouch as a learning tool. It is indeed a more preferable alternative, for both students and professors, to lugging a full-sized notebook computer around.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/22/2008 03:11:31 PM
Category: College Years, Wi-Fi, iPod
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