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One U.S. university now is forcing students to purchase Apple products for learning purposes

The Missouri School of Journalism is forcing all incoming freshman this fall to own either an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch MP3 player.

"Effective with the fall 2009 semester, incoming freshmen journalism and pre-journalism students are required to have a Web-enabled audio-video player," the school posted on its web site.  "This requirement is best met by purchasing the Apple iPod Touch, which has all the features the Missouri School of Journalism intends to implement to achieve its academic objectives and those of its students.  There are alternatives to the iPod Touch, but none that we consider equally capable."

Many U.S. universities urge students to purchase and own laptops for writing essays and other school-related projects, but this likely is the first time a university is forcing students to have an iPhone or iPod touch.

The devices will allow the journalism students to look at class assignments and view lectures, listen to podcasts, and similar audio or video tasks.  Furthermore, research indicates students learn better and retain more information if they are able to hear a lecture more than once -- the challenge will now be to try and get students to listen to the lectures.

"Lectures are the worst possible learning format," university Associate Dean Brian Brooks told the university's school newspaper, the Columbia Missourian.  "There's been some research done that shows if a student can hear that lecture a second time, they retain three times as much of that lecture."

Although the Microsoft Zune MP3 player, Research in Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone, and other devices can replay audio and video, school officials said the iPhone and iPod Touch simply have a wider variety of features and functionality.  The university also can include the cost of such a device in a student's financial-need estimate, whereas that's not possible with other devices.

Around 50 universities are now offering class lecture podcasts for students, with a growing number of schools looking into the technology.

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By Master Kenobi on 5/12/2009 9:02:14 AM , Rating: 4
It would be better to stream or sit these "lectures" on their internal website so that all the students could watch it from their room or watch it again if they needed to. This seems like idiocy when it would be cheaper to simply record lectures and publish them. But lets not consider rational solutions for overblown problems now.

By mcnabney on 5/12/2009 10:29:51 AM , Rating: 2
I pity the education system that is shifting to this model.

Yes, sitting in front of the TV in your dorm-room, playing Xbox, and listening to a lecture from a Podcast is definitely a learning environment.

By Master Kenobi on 5/12/2009 1:28:20 PM , Rating: 5
Quite frankly if the kids lack the discipline to handle it then they shouldn't be in college in the first place. I find it an excellent way to weed out the slackers.

By Lord 666 on 5/12/2009 3:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
It would weed out the people who cannot multi-task. For those that can, that is the true lesson that is learned in college; time management and multi-tasking.

By JediJeb on 5/12/2009 5:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. So many kids that go to college now days really are not cut out for it, but yet the system seems to want to lower the standard to make sure they all get a chance to stay. I guess money would be one of the big factors in this.

By hobbes7869 on 5/12/2009 9:02:19 PM , Rating: 3
Tablet PC. if they are going to force you to buy technology at least a tablet pc is a heck of a lot more useful and functional then an Iphone. Oh wait. not an Apple Product. Never mind /sarcasm

By aharris on 5/13/2009 3:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Rumor has it that it's in the works...

And the reason they went with an AV Player vs an entire laptop is pretty obvious if you bothered mulling it for more than 2 seconds.

$150 vs $1500

Which accomplishes the school's needs at a lower cost? Sure they could require everyone to buy a laptop, but why not go for the lowest common denominator for the students who can't quite afford to shell out over 1k for their own laptop.

By hobbes7869 on 5/13/2009 7:57:57 AM , Rating: 2

$849 starting. They may become much more prevelant with the introduction of Windows 7 as well, and perhaps make their way into the lower cost segments as well. Still, More then an iphone, but most college kids have a laptop anyway, this could serve the dual purpose. 300 for an ipod touch plus 400 for a semi decent laptop is close enough in price.

"A lot of people pay zero for the cellphone ... That's what it's worth." -- Apple Chief Operating Officer Timothy Cook

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