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Publishers cater to growing use of MP3s for schoolwork

By Aaron Robson     Feb 7, 2007 in Lifestyle
Lindleigh Whetstone wears headphones as she shoves clothes into the washing machine. Her classmate, Stepheno Zollos, wears them as he shops for groceries. An onlooker might assume the teens are listening to the latest top 40 hit, but they're really learni
Whetstone, 18, and Zollos, 17, are both students in Kathy O'Connor's class at Tidewater Community College in Southeastern Virginia. O'Connor recieved a $11,000 grant from the school to lend her students iPods so they can practice their Spanish conversations anywhere -- so they are ot just sitting in front of a computer.
"I get a lot more listening in than I did before," said Whetstone, who estimates that it's increased from about 30 minutes a week to 4 or 5 hours.
Students are using MP3 players more now to listen to downloaded books, textbook study guides and language labs on-the-go. Books and personal stereos have always been portable, of course, but audio books are easier to carry around in MP3 form. A typical 300-page novel might take up 12 CDs, but only a tiny portion of an MP3 player's memory, and prices for audiobook downloads are mostly comparable to audio CDs.
The percentages are still small, according to a recent study by market research firm Harrison Group Inc. that surveyed 1,000 teens in September 2006 using a 45-minute Internet questionnaire. Music listening made up about 85 percent of MP3 use among teens, video was about 10 percent, and podcasts and audio texts fell under the remaining 5 percent.
But the actual numbers are growing, and companies that make educational materials are banking on them climbing higher.
Over half of teens owned a portable MP3 player in mid-2006, according to TEMPO, a study of digital music behavior conducted by market research firm Ipsos that surveyed over 1,000 Americans aged 12 and up.
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