10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Better Learning Gadget

The iPod can supercharge your learning. But it’s often a matter of finding the right software and content. Below, we’ve listed several new pieces of software that will let you suck more educational media (DVDs, web videos, audio files, etc.) into your iPod. And we’ve also listed some important pieces of content that will make your iPod a better learning gadget. So here it goes (and be sure to see our related piece 10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube):

1) Put Wikipedia on Your Ipod:
Encyclopodia is a free piece of software that brings Wikipedia to the iPod. Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod generations 1 through 4, as well as iPod Minis. Definitely worth a try.

2) Watch DVDs on Your iPod: This free, open source software works on MacOS X, Linux and Windows, and makes it simple to load and watch DVDs on your video iPod. Here are some helpful instructions to get you started.

3) Load YouTube Videos to Your iPod: ConvertTube allows you to take any YouTube video and convert it to a format that works on your iPod. It’s as simple as entering a url and clicking “convert and download.” If you want to give the software a test run, try converting these UC Berkeley courses that were recently launched on YouTube. Or these Nobel Prize speeches.

4) Make Other Video Formats iPod-Ready: Lifehacker recently mentioned three other pieces of software that will make a variety of other video formats iPod-ready. For Windows, see Videora; for Mac, see iSquint. Or more generally see Zamzar. In a nutshell, these items will turn a wide range of video formats into the one video format (MPEG-4) that your iPod likes.

5) Convert MP3 files into One Big iPod Audiobook File: Downloading free audiobooks can often require you to work with a series of separate mp3 files, which can make things rather cumbersome. This software does you a favor and mashes the files into one manageable file. And it has a feature that will let your Ipod remember where you stopped if you decide to take a break. (If this one appeals to you, be sure to see item # 10.)

6) Create eBooks for the iPod: This bit of software turns text files into ebooks that you can read on your iPod. After you load a text file, it will make the text readable through iPod Notes (which you can find under “Extra Setttings”). Then, voila, a portable text. Thanks to Pachecus.com for pointing this one out.

7) Record Web Audio and Move it To Your iPod: Designed for Macs, iRecordMusic enables you to easily record audio from web pages and Internet radio streams. So if you’re surfing the web and find a good piece of streamed audio, it lets you record it and then transfer the media to your iPod. The only downside is that the software isn’t free. It will run you $24.95, but it may well be worth it. You can download a trial version here.

8) Get a Civic Education on Your Ipod: This site allows you to download to your iPod ten important documents that any educated American should be familiar with. The texts include: The Declaration of Independence, Constitution of the United States, Bill of Rights, Louisiana Purchase Treaty, Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg Address, Civil Rights Act, and several others. (Note: You can also download here an iPod version of Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary for $9.95.)

9) Load Maps onto Your iPod: If you travel to New York City, Paris, Berlin or Moscow, how will you find your way to the museums? iSubwayMaps is the answer. It lets you download subway maps from 24 major cities across the globe. You’ll only need an iPod with photo capability and you’ll be good to go. (By the way, if you want to load Google Maps to your iPod, here is a tutorial that will explain how.)

10) Study Foreign Languages, Take University Courses, and Listen to AudioBooks on Your iPod – All for Free: Ok, so this is a cheap but worthwhile plug for some of our richest podcast collections. Our Foreign Language Podcast Collection lets your learn over 25 different foreign languages. Our AudioBook podcast collection will give you portable access to 100+ classic works of literature and nonfiction. And this university podcast collection provides access to over 85 courses recorded at leading American universities. Not bad, if I say so myself. For our complete podcast library, click here.

Know of more software or content that will supercharge your iPod? Feel free to list them in our comments. And if they’re good, we’ll happily add them to the list.

For more great iPod utilities, see the recent features by Lifehacker and Pachecus.com.

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