The iPod has almost finished its first term at Duke University in North Carolina.

Duke supplied each new freshman with an Apple iPod this autumn – at the cost of half a million dollars. Each iPod contained course materials and lecture notes.

Spanish department professor Lisa Merschel told MSNBC that the program has revolutionized her students’ experience with language. "Before, I would just play a CD in front of the whole class and there would be some students whose eyes would glaze over after the first couple of seconds and some who would get this intense look of fear on their faces. With the iPods, each student can listen at their own pace and they have the control to pause or replay certain parts… I find that the slower students have more confidence.”

But not all Duke students are convinced about the educational merits of the iPod. Freshman Katie Brehm said: "They’re really useful to listen to music on – while I go running or on the bus – but mostly I don’t need them for my classes and I haven’t heard of anyone needing them. I think the programme has a lot of room for growth. If the professors get more involved and know more ways to use the iPod during their classes, it would be really beneficial."