The Duke iPod Report.

I’ve been waiting to hear some news on the success or lack thereof in Duke’s highly publicized “Freshman iPod Giveaway.” There are some contradicitory statements in this story. It opens with the statement:

Brock Read reports that the project had limited instructional merit

followed by:

The university’s report revealed that 75 percent of the freshmen surveyed said they used their iPods for either in-class activities or independent work in at least one course. Almost 50 courses, with a total enrollment of 1,200 students, made some use of the technology.

That sounds like a pretty resounding success to me for a pilot project like this.

Each recipient was provided with a voice-recording add-on with their iPod, and 60 percent of the students said they had used it for a class.

That’s probably on par with the percentage of students that bother taking notes in class at all.

I’m very interested in this, and encouraged by what I see happening. I’m considering the possiblity of making my lectures available as podcasts. I currently make my Powerpoint presentations available, some with audio, via our class WebCT site. I didn’t do a comprehensive survey, but by simply glancing at the usage statistics and grades I assigned at the end of the class, those who regularly viewed the presenations did significantly better than those who were less diligient. Most surprising, only 2 students out of 27 did not use the online materials at all.

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