This is very interesting–Apple supporting the podcasting of lectures. Forget for a brief moment that removing the students from the classroom removes the interactivity between the prof and the class, and between each other, that often leads to serendipitous learning. Additionally, ignore for the moment that this might result in the prof actually talking to a COMPLETELY empty room (and how motivated a speaker can you be with that?).
Ignoring all that, this might be a very neat idea. Several years ago, MIT started the open university project (or whatever they called it) making the materials for their classes available online. Their logic? The course materials are not the reason MIT is so good. MIT is an outstanding university because of the interactions, and the faculty. This goes that next step, and brings the faculty–at least in a one way transmission–to the viewer/listener. (MIT, to its credit, will still have an edge, since so much of their educational experience is hands-on learning.) Perhaps this is another way of extending the distance education approach, that started with mail-order classes, has recently moved to the web-based courses, and now, is supported by your little iPod.
I am curious about this, though. Do you, dear class, believe that students today are, as the story says, “digital natives”? Are they so wired in, that this is not only a good way to reach them, but perhaps, the ONLY way to reach them?
What do you think the net effect on the education of these students will be? Will they be better educated, since they can learn where and when they want, or perhaps lose out because of the lack of interaction?
Let me know!
(Oh, and visit The Lobby–for all my wranglings with that site, I do believe it is a fun site to read, and honestly, worth anyone’s time!)