Q: I have purchased 15 iPods for my special education class. This was primarily to download books and stories for the Dyslexic students I have, but I am not sure how to use one iTunes for all iPod downloads. I have seen almost nothing on the educational uses for the iPod. I have used mine for several years for this and now have got a class set.
A: The short answer is to simply plug the iPods in. iTunes will easily support multiple iPods and recognize them as separate and distinct from each other. Ideally, if you wanted to load each iPod with the exact same content, you could build an iTunes library containing only the books and stores you want loaded onto the iPods, and then plug each iPod in and allow it to automatically sync with the iTunes library.
In fact, you can even plug all fifteen iPods in at once if you have enough USB ports available. iTunes can easily handle many iPods syncing with it at the same time, so this can be a faster way to load them up than simply plugging them in one at a time.
There are also devices that can be used to sync very large numbers of iPods to a single iTunes library. For a much more sophisticated solution, you might want to check out Apple’s iPod Learning Lab, which provides a cart that allows up to 40 iPod or iPod nano players to be charged at once, and sync 20 at a time to the same computer. At a retail price of $2,299 for just the cart, this is not an inexpensive solution, but definitely provides more sophisticated options for managing a large class set of iPods. The cart is available by itself, or a custom configuration including iPods and other accessories can be worked out on Apple’s education site at http://education.apple.com/custom_ipod_lab/, which provides an online tool that will even generate a PDF proposal that can be submitted for purchasing purposes.