Last winter 125 Zunes were handed out to students in two U.S. schools – 100 at a New Mexico High School and 25 at a Missouri Junior High.
The Zunes were given out in exchange for research data provided by the schools on how helpful the Zunes were in the classroom. Teachers were encouraged to create podcasts for the devices for their students to listen to, and, those that identified 20 podcasts to support their lesson plans as well as create 5 of their own received a $400 bonus. The full results of the case study will be released after this summer’s National Education Computing Conference, but for now, the reaction is somewhat mixed.
Today’s students have grown up with technology all around them, so whether teachers like it or not, a lot of their education is already coming from digital media – for example, instead of books, students often use the internet for research and instead of magazines, they surf the web for the latest news. So why not enhance a traditional class with after-hours podcasts? This could be especially helpful for students struggling in a particular area of their studies. By being provided with educational podcasts, they could then play back the course, lecture, or guides created by the teacher at home, on their own time. Maybe the Zunes don’t need to literally be in the classroom…or in the halls either…that’s up the school to decide. But please, keep the podcasts coming!