Chapel Hill school gives students iPod Touch

Posted June 7, 2010

— One school in Chapel Hill has provided every student with an iPod touch.

Culbreth Middle School has 622 of the slim, portable computers – one for every teacher and for every student. They were purchased through grants and technology funds.

“We don’t build lessons around the iPod Touch per se. It’s a tool just like you use your textbook,” said Culbreth technology coordinator Val Brown. “The opportunity it has afforded our kids is amazing. The engagement is simply phenomenal.”

Chapel Hill school gives students iPod Touch Chapel Hill school gives students iPod Touch

Students don't get to take the devices home, but they do carry them from class to class.

“Instead of having lots of resources, books (and) dictionaries around, we can just go to the iPod Touch and research it,” said sixth-grader Emma Brodey.

There is no phone, music or e-mail capability. Students can surf the web, though many sites are blocked, including Facebook. Students can also download podcasts or play math or word games.

As they type in answers to questions, teachers see the responses on a laptop.

“I know before they leave that day who knows what (and) who doesn’t get it, so I have a constant assessment tool,” said teacher Pete Schwartz.

The staff at Culbreth Middle is talking with several schools across the U.S. and in other countries about how they can use the devices in their classrooms.


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  • wildcat Jun 8, 2010

    No use having books in school anymore is it? What about a school that has no books!

  • issymayake Jun 7, 2010


    You must not follow trends. By the time this group of kids begins to enter the workforce, these mobile devices will be even more dominant than they are now. Not that they don't need to learn how to use a computer, but there is nothing wrong with preparing them for the future.

    They are Generation Z; the 'm-generation'.

  • boolittlek Jun 7, 2010

    "Dang, when I was at Culbreth all we had were a few TRS-80 Model 1 and 3 computers. The nice one had a single sided floppy with 32K of RAM, all the others saved to cassette tapes (yes children, we actually saved computer files to audio cassette tapes in the old days). What a change!"

    SaveEnergyMan, we had TRS-80s at my elementary school in Winston-Salem (and we had one at home, too, so we could be "cutting edge"). We just had the audio cassette tapes/recorders. Oh, how I lusted after a floppy disk drive!

  • wral19 Jun 7, 2010

    "Two completely different things, which is why the article is accurate as far as the Duke situation is concerned."

    LOL! An important rule is "don't write it so they can understand it, write it so they cannot misunderstand it." Few normal people would consider the distinction between an iPod and an iPod touch to be the least bit significant. In fact, since I presented my original concern to the reporter, the article's lead sentences have been rewritten to remedy the misinformation.

    So hah, NCStatePack! ;)

  • aileensutter Jun 7, 2010

    This story and this program are over two years old. There are actually two schools in Chapel Hill able to take advantage of this technology on a broad scale thanks to the generosity of partnering companies and institutions. So before you offer you opinion on how it's probably funded, how it's probably used, and the impact it will probably have on students, teachers, parents, and community - how about Googling the story to find indepth information on funding for the program, press releases on the genesis of the program, impact on student learning, partnering with corporations and institutes of high learning around the state, country and world. You don't even need to go to newspaper archives, microfilm or the library to do it ;)

  • sbgainey Jun 7, 2010

    I think this is wonderful! I'm in Texas and I would love the chance to get these devices for my kids in SPED. They are cheaper than AAC devices, less stigmatizing, and can be individualized more easily to meet the needs of individual students. On going assessments, fluency drills, and personized systems of instruction are all a plus for the students!! Congrats to the grant writers, you've done an amazing thing here!

  • dewnit4fun Jun 7, 2010

    who decided on this and why ? just crazy .. if any thing , they should have purchased lap tops , or PC's . how many kids have / use an ipod compaired to a lap top / computer ... students need to lear how to use a computer more than an ipod for learning skills in the job market .. sorry just stupid people running the school systems

  • NCStatePack Jun 7, 2010

    I find your "interesting" comment interesting, interesting.

  • NCStatePack Jun 7, 2010

    "That's a ridiculous micro-distinction. Gimme a break, same thing." -wral19

    No, they are not the same thing. You stated that this school was not the first school in the world to "provide every student with an iPod touch", therefore you made the distinction between "iPod" and "iPod touch". Two completely different things, which is why the article is accurate as far as the Duke situation is concerned.

  • interesting Jun 7, 2010