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Thursday, March 10, 2005

ipod uses

Following up on our podcasting of lectures pilot program this term, several other courses next term will be podcast as audio in addition to being available by streaming audio/video screencast. It is interesting to take a look at how ipods are being used for educational purposes.

Of course there is the Duke initiative, where ipods were provided to 1650 freshmen at a cost of $500,000. In the report from the Duke Chronicle, uses for the devices included distributing audio recordings of lectures in an Economics class. No mention was made of podcasting so I assume these were simply made available for manual download. Out of a class of 300, 40 students were reported to have been recording the lectures on their own, suggesting that there is a significant demand for this form of lecture content. Other uses included pronunciation audio files for a Spanish class. Using this technology in language classes seems like a no-brainer. The most interesting application, I thought, was for a music class, where students had to record their voices on top of music provided by the teacher. The use of audio recordings of the students as an assignment is something that we have discussed in CoAS and it is nice to see that there it has been used successfully.

Following up on Duke's lead, Drexel's School of Education will be providing ipods to freshmen this fall.

Another interesting application involves making ipods loaded with audio books available on a loaner basis. The South Huntington Public Library on Long Island, New York is doing just that. Each ipod holds one audio book. Ten are currently available.

I think that one of the biggest challenges for implementing podcasting for education involves overcoming misconceptions about how the technology can be used. The term "podcasting" is turning out to be a disadvantage to some extent because it is often assumed that it requires an ipod. Use of an ipod may be optimal for high mobility applications like exercising or using public transportation. However, in commuting by car, I have found that using a laptop is more convenient. What makes podcasting work is the automatic downloading of files. Focusing on the audio device can detract from this key point.


  • The "report" is actually an article published in the Duke student newspaper the Duke Chronicle - not the Chronicle of Higher Ed. -though the CHE just published an article recently on the project

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:45 PM  

  • Thanks for the correction.

    By Blogger Jean-Claude Bradley, at 3:55 PM  

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