NCCU becomes first Apple ‘iTunes U’ school in North Carolina state system

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) is the first in the University of North Carolina system to become an iTunes U. Faculty in the NCCU School of Education will incorporate iPod technology into their delivery of instruction to teacher education majors.

“The days of preach and teach are over,” announced Barry Adams, education technology consultant for Apple Corporation, on the use of Podcasting in place of live lectures. Adams was speaking at a training session for faculty of the newest iTunes U and the first in the UNC system, North Carolina Central University.

Dean Cecelia Steppe-Jones of NCCU’s School of Education supplied all her faculty and teacher education coordinators in the College of Arts and Sciences with video and audio capable iPods. She presented the devices at the first of three complimentary training sessions offered by the Apple Corporation in recognition of the dean’s commitment to the incorporation of iPod technology in her faculty’s delivery of instruction to teacher education majors.

“To engage this cell-phone generation, we have to deliver instruction using their preferred means of communication which is both digital and now portable,” said Steppe-Jones in a statement.

In addition to the training valued at $12,000, NCCU will receive the free 24-hour web service capability called iTunes U – for the creation and storage of NCCU’s future Podcasts. Introduced in January of this year, Apple is giving away this capability to early committed educational institutions with an eye to future sales to publishing houses that may consider evolving from the distribution of compact discs to the sale of Podcasts of audio books. So instead of downloading tunes at 99 cents each, future book-buyers may begin downloading the next best seller.

Deborah Eaton, director of technology for the School of Education, is managing adoption of this new technology and developing and implementing technology integration plans. The present objective is for faculty to begin to use the iPods in their ongoing professional development.

“Now they can be in two places at once as they play Podcasts of meetings, conventions or lectures in the car or while they’re waiting at the doctor’s office,” said Eaton. “Of course, podcasts can be played on the computer, too, and on the university’s Blackboard platform, but the future is mobile.”

In the university setting, iPods have been used to load and play back everything from lectures, movies and plays, to foreign language tutorials. However, faculty must be comfortable with the technology first before they can be expected to produce and distribute Podcasts to their students. Hence, NCCU has chosen to focus on the faculty, recognizing that today, the majority of students arrive at school carrying an iPod.

Judging from the standing-room only crowd at the first training event, NCCU’s faculty are eager to begin using this new technology.

“It’s hard to even wrap my mind around all the possibilities,” said Chadwick Royal, assistant professor in the Department of Counselor Education. Royal is currently teaching two on-line courses, using audio podcasts to supplement traditional distance education course offerings. “With an audio-visual Podcast, I can present to my on-line students just about everything they would have experienced sitting in the classroom,” he said.

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  1. I think this is a great idea and a wonderful application of the technology, but also think educators should be careful about implementing this strategy wholesale. For lectures where there is little or no student input, discussion or collaboration, it will probably work well. But for those lectures which require greater student participation, group work, etc. – this is no real substitute.

  2. I’m a college history teacher, Mac afficianado, and iPod user and I am always interested in new uses for technology in education. For several years I’ve posted audio content as part of assignments, with generally very positive results. This semester I used my 20G iPod and my iItalk (and Sound Studio editing software) to record, prepare. and make available to my students all the lectures in one of my classes.

    That said, the millennialist rhetoric surrounding the use of iPods in colleges and universities is disturbing to me. “The days of preach and teach are over” says one enthusiast. “The future is mobile” says another. What exactly is that supposed to mean?

    Digital technology ought to be viewed as a tool and nothing more. I regard the idea that the latest hi-tech devices should drive pedagogy as wrong headed and ultimately destructive. Yes, the gadgets can marginally improve instruction and learning when used with insight and caution. But when I read pieces like this I get the uneasy feeling that what’s really being pushed is a form of techno utopianism that seeks to turn education into little more than a commodity to be marketed by educational entrepreneurs.

  3. College history teachers are mostly liberal pukes. You don’t sound like a liberal puke, ClioSmith — but then again, ClioSmith doesn’t sound like a real name. Actually, come to think of it, neither does Tucker Carlson or Matt Drudge. So okay, Clio, I’ll give you a pass.

    To all the other liberal commie manifesto “professors” out there indoctrinating our youth — I hope this new technology makes it just as easy for your students to tell you to shove your political views up your ass as it does for you to try and brainwash them with your socialist dystopic shittheories.

    Rock on.

  4. The iPod, especially the video iPod combined with a MyVu, is such a asset to creating educational videos it’s not even funny.

    Of course no school or teacher wants to mass produce educational videos or it will quickly be copied and there wouldn’t be a need to attend college.

    But since most can’t get in anyway…

  5. Hey MacDude- err, “Static Mesh” — I’m guessing you didn’t “get in” to college yourself . . . since you still can’t grasp the concept of using “an” instead of “a” before a word that begins with a vowel.

    Other than that, hey, nice post.

  6. I recently graduated from NCCU (last month) with a masters in educational technology. NCCU is a HBCU in my hometown of Durham, NC.

    I won’t pretend that NCCU is the best school in the world, but they are working hard at modernizing their instruction and I’m really proud of the direction they are moving. I am going to do some adjunct teaching there this summer in a couple ‘intro to ed tech’ courses and its really exciting to see this happen.

    Also, its important to note that the ‘halo effect’ is alive and well in this case. While I was a student (past two years), there was no Apple presence there at all. Thanks to a couple of professors’ Mac advocacy (and a bit of mine I like to believe), NCCU has now joined iTunes U and bought a really great new intel iMac lab.

    I doubt any of this could have happened without the high profile success of the iPod.

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