We ve found an economical and powerful learning tool that fits in your pocket. You may know it as Apple s Touch, the touch screen music player - the iPhone without a phone. It s at the top of teen wish lists, and now it s competing with laptops for school 1:1 programs. One laptop for every child sounds like a great idea, but for most school districts it is simply too expensive. The iPod Touch offers free content from schools around the world, thousands of free learning tools from iPhone apps, and it s a quarter of the cost of a laptop.

We ve found an economical and powerful learning tool that fits in your pocket. You may know it as Apple s Touch, the touch screen music player - the iPhone without a phone. It s at the top of teen wish lists, and now it s competing with laptops for school 1:1 programs. One laptop for every child sounds like a great idea, but for most school districts it is simply too expensive. The iPod Touch offers free content from schools around the world, thousands of free learning tools from iPhone apps, and it s a quarter of the cost of a laptop.

 The Touch is the tool of choice for today s generation,  says Dr. Brian Page, Apple s Strategic Education Specialist. He travels the country showing teachers how to use the Touch to create better lessons. He should know: Dr. Page was a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendant of Utah schools.  Kids already know how to use it, and when teachers use it in their lessons, kids are engaged,  he said. It s a win-win situation.

Our schools may be a long way from funding one Touch per child, but we ve found some compelling reasons to buy one for your family now whether it s for you, or your college, high school, grade school or younger child. All of the resources here are available directly from the Touch. No computer connection required, no extra data package charges through a cell phone provider, and no problems with cell phone restrictions at school.

Learning never ends. You can view video lectures and demonstrations from hundreds of universities. Try String Theory at MIT, Presidential Politics at Stanford or genetics at the University of Utah. Most of these schools also post support for high school AP classes. Pursue a passion like cooking with video lessons from the Culinary Institute of America. Take a virtual tour of The Red Studio exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and hear the accompanying audio guide. And best of all, every course is free.

Take note parents of middle and high school students. The Touch can be turned into a graphing calculator with a $5 app available directly from the iTunes store on the Touch. And the calculator, like all apps, is regularly updated at no additional charge. The Touch also provides instant free access to every book on your child s required reading list. That means no more last minute runs to the bookstore for Grapes of Wrath. With its accelerometer, a feature that allows the Touch to respond to movement (rotate, shake, and blowing into the microphone) the Touch can also be used for exploring science and music.

Young children will be intrigued by this easy-to-hold device and parents will find it useful for early learning. Kids can try pouring a liquid into a container with no spills for Mom to clean up, and practice simple piano note sequences like Hot Crossed Buns on the way home from preschool.

Just like chocolate zucchini cake, this is one good-for-your-family treat you won t have to convince your kids to like.

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