First in the State System to Become an iTunes U

Released: 6-Jun-2006 3:45 PM EDT
Source Newsroom: North Carolina Central University
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Newswise — "The days of preach and teach are over," announced Barry Adams, education technology consultant for Apple Corporation, on the use of Podcasting in place of live lectures. Adams was speaking at a training session for faculty of the newest iTunes U and the first in the UNC system, North Carolina Central University.

Dean Cecelia Steppe-Jones of NCCU's School of Education supplied all her faculty and teacher education coordinators in the College of Arts and Sciences with video and audio capable iPods. She presented the devices at the first of three complimentary training sessions offered by the Apple Corporation in recognition of the dean's commitment to the incorporation of iPod technology in her faculty's delivery of instruction to teacher education majors.

"To engage this cell-phone generation, we have to deliver instruction using their preferred means of communication which is both digital and now portable," said Steppe-Jones.

In addition to the training valued at $12,000, NCCU will receive the free 24-hour web service capability called iTunes U " for the creation and storage of NCCU's future Podcasts. Introduced in January of this year, Apple is giving away this capability to early committed educational institutions with an eye to future sales to publishing houses that may consider evolving from the distribution of compact discs to the sale of Podcasts of audio books. So instead of downloading tunes at 99 cents each, future book-buyers may begin downloading the next best seller.

Deborah Eaton, director of technology for the School of Education, is managing adoption of this new technology and developing and implementing technology integration plans. The present objective is for faculty to begin to use the iPods in their ongoing professional development.

"Now they can be in two places at once as they play Podcasts of meetings, conventions or lectures in the car or while they're waiting at the doctor's office," said Eaton. "Of course, Podcasts can be played on the computer too on the university's Blackboard® platform but the future is mobile."

In the university setting, iPods have been used to load and play back everything from lectures, movies and plays, to foreign language tutorials. However, faculty must be comfortable with the technology first before they can be expected to produce and distribute Podcasts to their students. Hence, NCCU has chosen to focus on the faculty, recognizing that today, the majority of students arrive at school carrying an iPod.

Judging from the standing-room only crowd at the first training event, NCCU's faculty are eager to begin using this new technology.

"It's hard to even wrap my mind around all the possibilities," said Chadwick Royal, assistant professor in the Department of Counselor Education. Royal is currently teaching two on-line courses, using audio podcasts to supplement traditional distance education course offerings. "With an audio-visual Podcast, I can present to my on-line students just about everything they would have experienced sitting in the classroom," he said.


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