Via The Education Wonks: It will be BYOiP (bring your own i Pod) when Duke freshmen show up in the fall. In 2004, the university gave a portable digital player to every new student. That experiment won’t be repeated.

The school, which hoped the $300 players would enhance students’ learning by allowing them to record lectures, capture oral notes and play language-training recordings, spent $500,000 on the pilot project.

That covered the iPods, salary for an academic computing specialist and grants to faculty members who participated in the program.

Students said it wasn’t worth it. Many already own an iPod.

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  1. I question whether iPods are really needed here at all. It’s a new, unproven technology. And if Duke University requires everyone to have them, the only fair policy is to provide them only to the needy students. Even a technophile such as myself has to agree that the best way to give technology a bad name is to use it unwisely.

  2. “And if Duke University requires everyone to have them, the only fair policy is to provide them only to the needy students.”

    Can you explain that? It seems like a funded mandate is the fair solution if they’re going to require the use of specific technology.

  3. To put the best, possible face on this: science costs money.

    If you’ve got a theory that iPods enhance learning then the number of ways to test the theory is distinctly limited. Not that this has the smell of science about it but then it’s all coming second-hand, strained through Educationwonk’s blog.

    The theory that may be under consideration is whether handing out iPods will attract grant money.

  4. Ross the Heartless Conservative says:

    While the title of the original article is misleading the article indicates the program has been discontinued. The incoming freshmen will not have to buy iPods unless they want them.

    I never did see how the iPods were going to help out but I do have to give Duke credit for having an idea of how to improve education, testing the idea, and then discontinueing the program when it did not work.

  5. Giving iPods to everyone wastes money if most of the students already have them. Making the students buy expensive iPods (a hidden cost) is unfair to the poorer ones who don’t already own one. The best solution here, at least IMO, is for the school to give them only to the students who need them.