“Samantha Greene’s parents, there was no getting around it: she had to have an iPod this year. Everybody at school was getting one,” Mark Glassman reports for The New York Times. “At the Brearley School, a private school for girls on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where Samantha is in the eighth grade, the iPod went from a ‘want’ to a ‘must have’ this year when its use was incorporated into foreign-language and classics courses. For about 300 girls in grades 7 through 12, the iPod is now required to do homework and classroom assignments.”

“The 20-gigabyte iPod required by the school sells for $299 at stores but was made available to students for $269 through Brearley with Apple’s education discount. Nonetheless, only 117 students purchased the device through the school, and 95 rented it from the school at a cost of $50 per year. The rest owned them already,” Glassman reports. “While Apple says Brearley’s mandatory-iPod program is the first it has heard of at the secondary-school level, there have been comparable efforts at universities. This fall Duke issued an iPod to each of its 1,650 incoming freshmen and has tried to incorporate the device into several courses, including music, language and engineering. Last year, Georgia College & State University began lending the devices to students for use in several humanities courses.”

“A panel at the school reviewed several options before deciding on the iPod. ‘We started out looking at the classic language labs,’ said Katherine Hallissy Ayala, the head of the computer education department. ‘They were all kind of expensive and required desktops, and most of them ran on Windows.’ Brearley uses mostly Macs,” Glassman reports.

Full article here.