There is a new and interesting requirement for entry into the University of Missouri’s famed School of Journalism: you have to have an iPhone or an iPod Touch to get in.
To be more precise, the Tiger journalism school entry requirements included the following entry for the first time this year:
“Effective Fall 2009, students majoring in Journalism at Missouri are required to have either an iPod Touch (the minimum requirement) or iPhone to allow for the delivery of freshman-orientation information as well as course material. Students will electronically download such material to either of those devices from iTunes University, a no-cost component of the iTunes Store.”
This does not signal some sort of under-the-table deal between the Tigers and Apple. Brian Brooks, associate dean of the MU Journalism School, had this to say: “The reason we put required on it is to help the students on financial need. If it’s required, it can be included in your financial need estimate. If we had not required it, they wouldn’t be able to do that.”
The impetus behind the requirement is a new system at the University, which enables the recoding of lectures, which can in turn be stored in the iTunes University and downloaded for free by students, according to a ZDNet story. Brooks said that research has found that a student who hears a lecture a second time tends to retain three times as much of the lecture.
Brooks clarified as follows: “There’s a lot of theory out there that says what you want to do is engage students in realms where they are already comfortable, and we know a lot of students are already familiar with iPods and iTunes so we want to get into that space and take advantage of that.”
Smart phones, iPods, netbooks, and laptops are all becoming as popular as backpacks on campuses everywhere. More and more student-oriented learning systems are being developed to use these technologies. Schools are beginning to adopt the technologies in more closely coupled ways to engage students in their coursework, and to make the education process more efficient. Increasingly, the same tools we play with are becoming the tools we learn with.