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December 2005 Issue
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iPod, therefore I learn - podcasting a high-tech education

 Learning & Teaching

It's been an action-packed year for online education expert Allan Carrington from the University's Centre for Learning and Professional Development.

From May to August, he was the driving force behind "Educating the Net Generation", a series of three online seminars (or "webinars") featuring more than 230 participants online simultaneously from 14 universities across Australia, Singapore and New Zealand. These interactive webinars examined how universities throughout the world need to adapt to the way today's IT-savvy students learn.

In October, Mr Carrington travelled to the US take part in the International Educause Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Educause is a major not-for-profit global association based in the US, with 15,000 active members across 2000 universities and other educational organisations, which aims to advance higher education through the intelligent use of Information Technology.

Mr Carrington was invited by Educause Vice-President Diana Oblinger, who had been involved in the webinar series earlier in the year, to be part of the small team - and the only person from outside the US - who would podcast the conference.

(Podcasting is a term used to describe capturing and distributing audio over the Internet, primarily for use in personal digital devices such as Apple's iPod.)

"The Educause conference is a big event, with more than 7000 people from all over the world attending," Mr Carrington said.

"The podcasting experience was amazing - it was the first time that podcasting had been used for a major conference.

"Podcasting makes it possible to tap into the wisdom and experience from the conference floor. We had 7000 good people at the conference with 7000 great stories and at least 14,000 even better ideas. Podcasting helps people share knowledge and learn."

A particular highlight at the conference was learning that the University of Adelaide's "Educating the Net Generation" webinar series had won a prestigious Live Online Award, or LOLA.

"We received the LOLA for the category 'Creativity in Synchronous Design'," he said. "The webinars were based around contributions from Diana Oblinger and Educause, and it was special to be able to share the announcement of the award while at the Educause conference."

As part of his overseas trip, Mr Carrington also visited universities in Hawaii, Wisconsin and Virginia Beach in the US, and Ireland and England to meet with leading educational technology figures.

"Universities are working hard to harness the power of technology and integrate it into learning and teaching," Mr Carrington said. "The challenge is how to direct this power towards the needs of students and be agile enough to adapt to rapid changes in the teaching and technological landscapes."

To learn more about Mr Carrington's trip and the world of educational podcasting, visit his web log (or "blog").

Story by Ben Osborne

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Allan Carrington (right) interviewing Randy Meredith from Spring Arbor University in Michigan

Allan Carrington (right) interviewing Randy Meredith from Spring Arbor University in Michigan
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Mr Carrington with Educause Vice-President Diana Oblinger

Mr Carrington with Educause Vice-President Diana Oblinger
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