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Casting the Net

Podcasting and the Apple Digital Campus debut, and the call for pioneers g'es out.

My son, Noah, will be graduating from college in May, just in time to miss the takeoff of podcasting—one of the most exciting advances in campus learning and knowledge sharing. And though the move to this anytime, anywhere educational model (via audio file or iTunes, on iPod or computer) is still in its nascent stages, I’m already lamenting what Noah hasn’t had, that lucky others will. I’m thinking back now, to Parents’ Day 2003, when I sat in on a morning history seminar and glumly watched my son and rows of his peers snore their way through an 8 am drone that should have transported them all to a vivid, recaptured moment in time. But the kids, no doubt, had partied the night before, and even the instructor looked pasty at that hour. How much better for them all if the rise of fascism in Europe had been open to rip-roaring audio bloggers at 9 pm, when adolescent brain juices are flowing.

My wish is about to come true. First there was the unleashing of iPods for learning on the freshman campus at Duke. Then, at the annual National Learning Infrastructure Initiative ( meeting in late January, the charter members of the Apple Digital Campus (the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Stanford, Duke, The Ohio State University, and Penn State ) were represented by campus leaders so excited about the future of this new level of digital learning, that their words tumbled out as they envisioned the future. How do I know this, if I was not present? I know it because I was sent an iTune file of discussion excerpts, which I played on my laptop (the podcasts are also available on the nlii Web site).

“Our students are walking around with amazing devices, and we want to let them figure out how to use them,” said one campus leader. “We need to go to the next level; the digital lifestyle,” said another. The ADC participants spoke of the Stanford spring pilots in downloadable learning. They commended the University of Missouri School of Journalism project for “taking content and crafting it [for podcasting] in a way that makes it significant.” They raved about students using iPods not just for lectures, but to capture their own performances, whether in Spanish class, on stage, or at podium. Most of all, though they urgently invited campuses to climb on board and share the experiment, they acknowledged the movement as self-driving. Even as it was officially launched, “the community is already bigger than just the charter members,” CSU-Monterey Bay ’s John Ittelson gladly admitted. He then urged campus administrators and faculty to see the movement as individual-to-individual, rather than institution-to-institution.

How can you get on board? Contact [email protected] or your local Apple reps ( And make sure you keep Campus Technology apprised of your podcasting progress. Our new eLetter, Technology-Enabled Teaching ( debuts this month, and is looking for your opinion and case study submissions about forays into this and other exciting teaching technologies. Please contact Web editor Rich Seeley, at [email protected] .
What have you seen and heard? Send to: [email protected] .

About the Author

Katherine Grayson is is a Los Angeles based freelance writer covering technology, education, and business issues.

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