Students use iTalk to store and record lectures
iPods are a common way to store music, movies and more, but as their popularity grows among college students, the gadget is also being used to record and store lectures.
An additional device, called iTalk, plugs into the headphone outlet and comes with a microphone and speakers. After a recording is made, it is automatically added to a playlist along with other recordings organized by date and time.
“I liked being able to back over the lecture,” said sophomore international affairs major Caitlin Frantz.
Frantz used her 20 gigabyte iPod to record lectures for her classes.
“I find it really useful,” she said. “I would like to see more of it (at CU), because it is so easy to do.”
While this option is handy in the classroom, there are some drawbacks.
Frantz said that with her equipment, she needed to sit near the front of the classroom so that the recording would be clear, and while she was recording, there was a two second delay. She said this delay never caused her any problems but was inconvenient.
Some say that using a recording device like this will discourage participation in class discussions. In cases where professors make podcasts of lectures available, some say students won’t have any incentive to attend class at all.
“I do think that (students participating in class) would be kind of an issue,” Frantz said. She went on to say that students who really care about their education will go to class regardless.
Some schools, such as Duke University, have already started to integrate iPods into the classroom by giving them to all first-year students in the class of 2008. According to the Duke Center for Instructional Technology Web site, the iPods have proven to be useful in learning language pronunciation and vocabulary, carrying on class discussions and finding main points in a lecture.
“Certainly, any sort of reinforcement helps, but most universities have language labs that can be used for this. The problem is that students don’t use them,” said Spanish professor David Harper.
Harper said that since he has owned an iPod, he has listened to more music because it has been more convenient and mentioned that it might have the same effect on the students who want to study Spanish or other languages.
“(Giving iPods to all students) is good for small universities,” said Frantz, but she went on to say that because CU has so many students, it would be hard to make the technology available to everyone.
While iPods may be standard classroom tools in CU’s distant future, podcasts have already become a reality for some lectures.
“Podcasting will likely become more common over the next several years, but it’s unlikely that CU-Boulder would require students to purchase iPods, since podcasting is Web-based and therefore accessible in labs and on student-owned computers,” said Deborah Keyek-Franssen, who works with academic technology at CU.
While there would be less incentive to go to class, many classes require more participation from the students than simply listening to the lecture.
“If the classroom experience is more than lecture, though, it can’t be replicated through podcasting,” Keyek-Franssen said. “That ‘being there’ experience with class discussion would be missing, although a student could listen to it without participating.”