I also would emphasize discussion and exchange of ideas as a way to learn material, particularly some of the more subjective stuff we deal with in the humanities. On one level, Ipods are great, I certainly use mine to tune out background noise when I'm reading. On another they can be very distracting in and of themselves. I encourage reading techniques like "talking to texts" in order to foster good, efficient reading. It helps to have good notes, and that's one way to do it. Above all, I tell students not to try to memorize material, though that can be a tough sell sometimes. Rather, I encourage them to think thematically, and organize information into arguments and broader questions as they go along.