FaceTime Call

Screenshot of my dog in FaceTimeI’m starting to make more progress with my initial setup of the iPod Touches. I don’t have my laptop at school yet, so I set up a “classroom” account on my home computer that I’m using to sync a couple of the iPods. Naturally, one of the first things I did was play with FaceTime. To enable FaceTime, I’ve created an email account for each iPod {ipod01, ipod02…} at my classroom domain and set up IMAP accounts in Mail on my computer. The addresses are all in Address Book, so it is easy to call one iPod from another.

To be honest, I don’t see any real educational applications here, and I might end up having to disable FaceTime on the devices if my students mess around with it. Since it is so easy to turn it on and off, it’s worth learning how to set it up. Also, it might be helpful to have the email address for each iPod since so many apps can send content that way.

iPod 4 Rumors

In my grant application for the 2010 Qwest Foundation Teaching & Technology grant, I proposed purchasing a class set of iPod Touches. I learned that I was awarded the grant in early March 2010. Since then, I have been following the rumors of Apple product releases very closely. I need to spend my grant funds by November 1 and I’m hoping the new version of the iPod Touch will be released by then.

Traditionally, Apple has updated the iPod in September, just in time for holiday shopping. MacRumors.com recently reported that rumors are circulating about a mid-September media event that will announce the iPod updates, which is slightly later than usual. If this is true, I will then have to work fast to complete my purchases by November.

I could just go ahead and purchase the current 3rd generation iPod Touch, but I’m hoping the that the next generation will be as great of an improvement as the iPhone 4 was from the 3GS.  As John Gruber recently suggested, “if you wait a few weeks to buy the Touch, you’ll get one with a Retina Display and dual cameras.” Gruber sometimes has inside sources, so I’m hoping he’s right. There have been other leaks that suggest the next iPod will support FaceTime, which also supports it will follow the iPhone 4’s design.

From an education viewpoint, I’d be happy with just one camera, but there are two other iPhone 4 features I would love to see in the next generation iPod Touch. First, I suspect students would find it much easier to read text on the Retina Display, especially my students with reading disabilities. Second, the Apple A4 processor will provide better battery life, possibly lasting through the entire school day, and enable powerful applications like iMovie (iTunes link). Thus, the iPod 4 would be capable of far more creative applications and open more possibilities than the current model.