stanford and iTunes, thoughts on education

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a troublesome time accepting podcasting as the new hotness, especially for my personal information input and output. However, as a librarian who wants to meet users on their terms, I see the value in having engaging non-text content for those with different tastes. We might not have many people subscribing to our YA review podcast, but that will likely change. And for now, people listen on the web. The same will hold true about our “Click-A-Story” program from the YS department, in which the librarians will record public domain fairy tales.

The number of articles that have come out recently about podcasting in education aren’t being published (just) because of hype^1^. We’re seeing an effort to meet the information gathering/processing habits of digital natives.

Prescriptivists say that this is the breakdown of the educational system, that we’re kowtowing to people who don’t know any better, and that the sky is falling. Isn’t it funny that these naysayers (including our own M. Gorman in the below article from The Chronicle) think that the Absolute High Standard of pedagogy is very similar to the system to the one in which they were educated? I’d really like to know why the evolution of education from, say, the 1800s to the present wasn’t a bad thing. Why aren’t these people advocating the use of slide rules, no, excuse me, abaci, to teach mathematics. Or maybe just a pile or rocks. Me? I think our “Today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach.”^2^

Take a look at itunes.standford.edu which is an entrance into Stanford produced and branded content in the iTunes Music Store. It is a fine example of an institution not being static, but rather being user-centered, and getting great PR in the process. Not only is there content for non-Stanford people to download and enjoy, but there’s an entire private section for students and faculty.

I know that libraries have hours and hours of of stuff to which people would love to listen. Now if only we can get Apple to give us libraries.itunes.com…


^1^For example, The Net Generation Goes to College from The Chronicle of Higher Education and the front page “Missed class? Try a podcast ” from the October 20th Chicago Tribune


^2^Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants By Marc Prensky

2 thoughts on “stanford and iTunes, thoughts on education”

  1. I’m glad you said you’re having a hard-time buying into the ipod-hype. I’m not working in any sort of traditional library these days so I’m a bit out of touch with what users want, but I felt concerned about the excitement and push for podcasts in the library at ILI2005. I think that if libraries (or anyone) is going to go down this route in providing information – trivial or not, they’d better be making this information available via text too because I think it’s going to exclude a lot of our users if we’re not careful.

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