Thursday, June 16, 2005

iTuned out that lecture, dude 

Maybe I'm older and more crusty than I used to be. As much as I love new technology, the thought that Duke would hand out iPods to its 1650 freshman last year looked mostly like a marketing gimmick. In a new report, the school says that about 1200 students used their iPods for something academic. The list included delivery of course content -- lectures, songs, speeches and foreign language content -- recording classroom lectures and field experiences, playback of orignal content and data storage. The project cost $500,000.

In a report in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscriber link), a student is quoted saying that the technology is used to substitute for actually paying attention in class. Of course it is. I certainly took advantage of using a tape recorder for classes I could not attend, sometimes as a substitute so that I could work on another class. (And once or twice to go see afternoon baseball.) Substituting capital for labor is no big surprise here.