Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

30 January 2006

iPod Uni

Clark @ 10:25 AM

We’ve been hearing heaps about podcasting, and new applications keep appearing. A natural mix is iPods and universities, such as Duke’s abortive experiment (they gave every first year student one, but the next year they abandoned it except for those courses that were actually using it, not allowing the necessary percolation). Now Apple itself is getting into the act with iTunes U.

My colleague, Professor John Ittelson of Cal State Monterey, was hyping Stanford’s pilot during the final weekend get together of the course we co-taught last semester, and the notion of having every lecture captured and available for automatic download into your iPod is extremely compelling. With the regular iPod you can capture ‘audiographics’ (e.g. narrated powerpoints, using the ability to insert albumcovers), and of course with the video iPod you could actually capture the full lecture.

The one thing I’m still waiting to see are actual quizzes or, better yet, interactive scenarios (you just have to read the book to see why I’m so excited about them :) presenting situations with images and dialog/narration, and then the learner having to use the jog dial to navigate menus to make decisions (pre-touch screen). They can already present games, so we just need learning games. And if the rumors are true about wireless iPods coming soon. An interactive iPod, programmable in Flash…


  1. I think this will end the common idea of a ‘university’ as we know it, with lectures – remnants of a pre-printing press society – being more perfomance- and less information-based. I suppose the issue is to do with access to the technology that it relies upon and training students – some of whom won’t necessarily know how to use podcasts, etc. – how to access the content.

    Doug Belshaw

    PS Love the blog but the font makes it relatively difficult to read – or is it just me?! :-)

    Comment by Doug Belshaw — 2 February 2006 @ 2:54 PM

  2. I agree that it’s going to a different model of learning (textbook publishers are trying to cope :). I don’t mind more charismatic mentors, but it will be less about content ‘presentation’ (at least from individuals) and more about meaningful activity driving learners to content, and mentors facilitating reflection around the activity.

    However, will we lose the notion of a curriculum designing and learning accrediting body? It may move to more of an enculturation practice (to a more reasonable community than the didactic), but is there a role for people to guide the development of foundation knowledge (that that is more stable) and the associated thinking skills? There I’m not so sure.

    BTW, I hadn’t heard any comments before about the font; if others think so too I’m sure I can tweak it, it’s straight from the template.

    Comment by Clark — 3 February 2006 @ 10:10 AM

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