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Why are schools so slow in incorporating technology? My children’s schools boast state-of-the-art computer labs, yet they still ban the use of iPods in most settings. Millions of students own mp3 players. Imagine what could be accomplished if teachers were willing to incorporate them into the classroom.

Audiobooks, podcasts, and so much more might just make kids more interested in academics.

There are several initiatives, grants, and tons of resources available for incorporating iPods and similar technologies into educational settings. Several colleges and schools have begun integrating iPods into the curriculum. For those wondering just how this could be useful, you must not have an iPod.

Apple iPod Touch

Apple iPod Touch

The latest iPod touch or iPhone has capabilities well beyond playing music. The obvious application that would be beneficial to students is the ability to play audiobooks of assigned literature.

This option allows students to make the most of their time while in study halls, between classes, or simply taking a walk. This is especially helpful with students for whom English is a second language. The ability to listen to text enhances overall comprehension. offers a huge selection of educational resources from SAT prep to SparkNotes Guides for classic literature. The VangoNotes section has a multitude of materials available to enhance the content of textbooks.

My son, a high school sophomore, has an iPod touch. On it, he not only has a myriad of music choices, but applications that have interesting and educational content.

One app is a hangman game with SAT words. Podcasts from NASA and the Hubble telescope are other favorites. Imagine how cool it would be if his Physics teacher somehow worked viewing of those podcasts into the curriculum.

I’m not blind to the drawbacks. Of course, students will be tempted to veer away from the required content and to use the devices for entertainment. But if the content was tied to the iPod in an interesting and engaging way, wouldn’t the temptation be lessened?

I read one article about a school that gave each student an iPod touch. The parents were required to sign an agreement to accept responsibility for the safe return of the device, or they would have to purchase a new one for the school. That’s one way to get parent support!

My kids are always plugged in. If a teacher offered them a way to do homework by using their iPod, my guess is that they would find it more interesting. In the meantime, I’m getting my son To Kill a Mockingbird on audio.

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