updated 11:50 am EST, Mon January 11, 2010
Devices meant to teach math, reading
The Pamlico County Board of Education in North Carolina is making a unusual Apple hardware buy, writes the New Bern Sun Journal. The government body is purchasing 131 iPod touches, using money from a $1.25 million grant combining funds from Enhancing Education Though Technology and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act programs. The devices are intended for students in the county's primary schools, who will use them for math and reading.
In terms of reading the Touches are expected to be implemented in stations for comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, phonemic awareness and fluency. Some members of the Pamlico board have criticized the purchase however, noting that the battery in a Touch cannot easily be replaced, and may run flat in as little as two years. School staff will also be responsible for regularly recharging each unit, a process which may have to be carefully controlled in order to maximize longevity.
Aside from the iPods, Pamlico is also noted to be buying other, unspecified Apple hardware. The answer may lie in goals for the rest of the grant, which include buying notebooks and better Wi-Fi for Pamlico County High School, and miscellaneous electronics for elementary and middle schools. Each of the iPods is said to have cost the government $175.12 under a bulk deal.