Not only has Georgia College & State University (GC&SU) in Milledgeville, Georgia, found some innovative new uses
for Apple’s iPod, so has the University of Western Australia. The school has been using the digital devices as viable classroom technologies to supplement existing efforts in computer-mediated learning.
Students at the University of Western Australia studying Communication Studies in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are taking advantage of the iPod’s storage capability. The course examines communication and its impact. Communication Studies students primarily make use of the iPod as a 20GB storage drive on which they keep their digital media projects throughout the semester.
“Traditionally the storage of great numbers of digital video and audio projects has been problematic as it results in large memory requirements that all but overwhelm the average desktop computer,” Mike Fardon, Academic Director of UWA’s Arts Multimedia Centre, said. “With the iPod however, each student’s project is easily and quickly transferred to their handheld device or loaded back onto a computer within a matter of minutes.”
The iPod also provides teachers with the means of delivering course materials electronically to each student, including contact details, sound files, video clips, audiobooks, and e-books. The convenience of such a process has allowed the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences to introduce digital media elements to a “wide variety of teaching disciplines with ease,” according to an article on the
University’s Web site.
But the educational benefits of the iPod go far beyond data storage and portability. According to the article, in a course where students are examining the nature and impact of various modes of communication, the iPod is exposing the students to both the reality and the complications of intellectual property, copyright, and the uncensorable nature of the Internet.
Some educators expect to see more educational uses for the iPod.
“I believe this is a trend we’re likely to see more of in higher education,” Paul Cesarini, Advanced Technological Education Program, College of Technology Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, told MacCentral. “Over the past three semesters, I’ve had some students that regularly bring their iPods to class when I teach in computer labs. From there, they connect and boot from their iPods. That way they are not really using some generic lab G4 system, and instead are using ‘their’ system wherever they go.”