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Zunes In Schools

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.

Foreign language teachers reported it was really helpful to have their students using the devices to help with vocabulary and pronunciations, but another teacher cited concerns about the devices not being used for studying at all. The students responded that, of course they were enjoying listening to music and trading songs, but they also insisted  that they were using the Zunes to study, too.

Personally, I don’t see why the Zunes can’t be used for both entertainment and education. Just because a Zune lets you watch TV, listen to music, and listen to podcasts, that doesn’t mean that the academic aspects have no value simply because the devices can be used for fun, too.

I don’t imagine the students were allowed to keep the earplugs in during class, anyway, so who cares if they’re using them in between classes or after school to listen to music? If there are educational benefits to the devices, why not encourage their use?

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!

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  • quikboyquikboy

    Zune could further enhance the digital learning experience if it included:

    - Audiobooks : A great way to experience classic novels, summer reading lists, and other required readings from high schools. Hearing an auditory version might help students. They could also accompany the audiobooks, with a real book so they can focus on the vocab and text structure as well. Wasn't there a deal with Audible coming soon? It would also be neat if the text could scroll on the Zune screen to accompany the audio (but could take up some space), or if the audio version had a realistic cast of characters with uniquely well-done voices, and sound effects. Just a thought.

    - Quizzes : An application for the Zune where a user can make his/her own quizzes from the Zune software (or a Live site) and sync them with the Zune. Maybe educators, students themselves can make their own quizzes, and then share them with other users on the Zune Marketplace. Having quizzes on the go, can be quite handy. If you're waiting for a ride, or stuck in commute, you can play with the quiz and see how many you can get right, using the dpad or your fingers. They can be timed as well.

    - (educational) Games : Yeah, there can be educational games. Maybe a Hangman game, using specified vocab words. Maybe a geography game where you scroll around a map, and mark the location that a description is describing. Or maybe a similar BrainAge came for the Zune.

    3 other simple ways that a PMP can be a simple educational tool. Simple, but entertaining and educational. Makes me wonder whatever happened to Encarta as Microsoft's educational tool.

  • quikboyquikboy

    Zune could further enhance the digital learning experience if it included:

    - Audiobooks : A great way to experience classic novels, summer reading lists, and other required readings from high schools. Hearing an auditory version might help students. They could also accompany the audiobooks, with a real book so they can focus on the vocab and text structure as well. Wasn't there a deal with Audible coming soon? It would also be neat if the text could scroll on the Zune screen to accompany the audio (but could take up some space), or if the audio version had a realistic cast of characters with uniquely well-done voices, and sound effects. Just a thought.

    - Quizzes : An application for the Zune where a user can make his/her own quizzes from the Zune software (or a Live site) and sync them with the Zune. Maybe educators, students themselves can make their own quizzes, and then share them with other users on the Zune Marketplace. Having quizzes on the go, can be quite handy. If you're waiting for a ride, or stuck in commute, you can play with the quiz and see how many you can get right, using the dpad or your fingers. They can be timed as well.

    - (educational) Games : Yeah, there can be educational games. Maybe a Hangman game, using specified vocab words. Maybe a geography game where you scroll around a map, and mark the location that a description is describing. Or maybe a similar BrainAge came for the Zune.

    3 other simple ways that a PMP can be a simple educational tool. Simple, but entertaining and educational. Makes me wonder whatever happened to Encarta as Microsoft's educational tool.

  • quikboyquikboy

    Zune could further enhance the digital learning experience if it included:

    - Audiobooks : A great way to experience classic novels, summer reading lists, and other required readings from high schools. Hearing an auditory version might help students. They could also accompany the audiobooks, with a real book so they can focus on the vocab and text structure as well. Wasn't there a deal with Audible coming soon? It would also be neat if the text could scroll on the Zune screen to accompany the audio (but could take up some space), or if the audio version had a realistic cast of characters with uniquely well-done voices, and sound effects. Just a thought.

    - Quizzes : An application for the Zune where a user can make his/her own quizzes from the Zune software (or a Live site) and sync them with the Zune. Maybe educators, students themselves can make their own quizzes, and then share them with other users on the Zune Marketplace. Having quizzes on the go, can be quite handy. If you're waiting for a ride, or stuck in commute, you can play with the quiz and see how many you can get right, using the dpad or your fingers. They can be timed as well.

    - (educational) Games : Yeah, there can be educational games. Maybe a Hangman game, using specified vocab words. Maybe a geography game where you scroll around a map, and mark the location that a description is describing. Or maybe a similar BrainAge came for the Zune.

    3 other simple ways that a PMP can be a simple educational tool. Simple, but entertaining and educational. Makes me wonder whatever happened to Encarta as Microsoft's educational tool.

  • Wow, those are great ideas!

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