It is definitely important to tie the technology to the objective. Technology, like anything else utilized and covered in class, MUST be tied to the objective. If not, it is simply wasting time. There isn't enough time to cover everything as it is without wasting time with bells and whistles.
Oh my gosh, this is a no-brainer. Students most definitely need to be held accountable for the station/centers. Just as we hold them accountable for their work through written assessments and other tests, they need to be held accountable for their work at the stations so that it isn't just playtime. In addition, the expense of the equipment has got to be enormous, and in a time where money in the schools is scarce, if students aren't held accountable, then they will abuse it and items will be broken, possibly even stolen.
I have seen students use a flashcard app in which they are able to create and utilize flashcards, all for a mere $1. This was great! This can be helpful in all disciplines, but especially in English as we have so much vocabulary (literature, vocabulary study, SAT prep, and so forth). Someone within my team suggested something called Thinkfinity, so I viewed it. I will say I was quite disappointed as I didn't see anything I could use for my classes. I was so impressed with Flashcard that perhaps I didn't give it a fair chance? My students could easily use them for reviewing for tests and quizzes. (Again, I say "them" even though I probably wouldn't use Thinkfinity in my classes.)
Usable app for the classroom? Flashcard, Flashcard, Flashcard! Any media app would prove useful to facilitate class discussions during our research unit, and they could also be used when discussing various elements of literature to tie in what we are reading with real life (characterization, setting, and so forth).
There are different ways to use the IPod Touch and/or IPad. We can use these when we do the background information for a specific time period, when they are compiling information for group work/presentations, and when we do our two research papers. Not every student has access to computers at home, and quite a few students are involved in extracurriculars or work and are unable to utilize the library resources after school. This might help ease their burden a bit?