Media, Technology, and Education

The iPod Touch

I haven’t written in a while.  The end of a semester and a sinus infection will do that to a person.  But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been thinking about technology on a daily basis.  For example, two weeks ago today was the last faculty meeting of the semester and my friend Lourdes came over after the meeting to show me her new iPad.  I’ve written about the iPad before and I have been critical of the hype surrounding the device.  I’m still critical of the hype, but I do have to say, now that I’ve seen one, it is beautiful!  The screen is so sharp and clear and responds to the slightest touch.  The apps are amazing and varied.  It speaks to the geek in me in a way that makes me want to go out and buy one.

In the meantime, I’ve had a couple of conversations with a variety of people about a variety of topics and as a result, I decided to buy myself an iPod Touch about a week ago.  I am incredibly happy with this purchase so far in a way that makes the geek in me not miss purchasing a more expensive iPad.  The iTouch is a smaller version of the iPad, similar to an iPhone but without the need for a monthly contract with AT&T.  It runs all of the apps developed for the iPhone but is not a phone.  It holds and plays music and videos, just like a classic iPod.  It’s beautiful, with a touch screen that is sharp and clear and changes orientation when you move the device from portrait to landscape.  I’ve gotten a number of free apps, including a note taking app that allows me to write with my finger on the touch screen.  The iTouch has WiFi access so I’ve used it to check my checking account balance and my email as well as to browse both the iTunes store and Amazon for Kindle books, since there’s a Kindle app for the iTouch.   I’ve purchased a number of individual songs from the iTunes store and have listened to a number of podcasts for free.   All of these applications have been easy to use and adequate for use on a single device. 

I do, however, look forward to the time when I can do all of the things that I do on my myriad of electronic devices on a single device that is optimized for all of those activities.  For example, the backlighting of the device will make reading an entire book a strain on the eyes in ways that the Kindle does not strain the eyes.  The Kindle, in other words, is optimized for the reading of text but does not allow many other uses.  The iTouch, on the other hand, is a nice step in the direction of a single, multi-purpose device but it is definitely not optimized for each of these activities.  Despite that, I’m glad that I purchased it.  It’s a nice addition to my library of electronic devices.

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I am currently Professor of Digital Media at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH. I am also the current Coordinator of General Education at the University. I am interested in astrophotography, game studies, digital literacies, open pedagogies, and generally how technology impacts our culture.

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