Giving out iPods

Courtesy of my student Amber, an interesting article from the BBC:

Students Given Free mp3 Players

It's a good idea, I think. The iPod, like the other portable mp3 players on the market, provides certain pedagogical advantages in terms of making course content available in virtual format: portability, the ability to move the listening experience to a locale and a time where students are more comfortable (especially important for kinesthetic learners who take in information best when their bodies are in motion), and the ease with which presentations may be paused or repeated. Plus, let's not underestimate the coolness factor: listening to an iPod is certainly hipper than listening to a cassette tape, and as such might be a more acceptable thing to do within the lifeworld of the contemporary college student. (It certainly is for me, after all.)

Not surprisingly, educational reactionaries like the Campaign for Real Education are staunchly opposed to the "progressivism" expressed by such a move. At least they have their complaint right: used properly, devices like iPods and techniques like the podcasting of lectures and other course material do undermine the traditional style of education-as-the-trasmission-of-information-from-experts-to-students. Yes, there's a real difference of opinion here. I just think that in the end they're wrong: education should be about facilitating encounter, not about pontification by experts. Dewey was right.

No comments: