The December 7th eSchoolNews article “Ex-coach: Tech a win for student athletes- Former NCAA basketball coach Mike Jarvis launches campaign to help student athletes keep up with their studies through video technology” drives home a point for me I’ve been thinking about for several weeks. We need to promote the goal of blended learning and asynchronous learning opportunities for K-12 as well as university students with a group that may seem an unlikely choice: our athletic coaches and club sponsors.

Do you know how many days of class students who show livestock in Texas stock shows can miss? How about basketball players, either at the high school or the college level? Golf team members? Cheerleaders? Speech and debate competitors? The list goes on and on.

Extracurricular activities are an EXTREMELY important part of the educational experience, for both K-12 as well as college students. But curricular learning is, at least by all educational political accounts, still pretty important too. So what are we going to do? Let’s talk to our coaches and club sponsors, and talk to them about promoting the availability of class lecture materials to their student athletes and club members as downloadable podcasts. If the content is available for those students, why not make it available for ALL students? Hopefully this effort can help us further move beyond seat time as our primary assessment method for learning!

Podcasting is not the panacea, but it certainly can offer a GREAT way to address the issue of lost F2F instructional time. With an inexpensive portable digital audio recorder like the iAudio U2, even friends can record and readily web-post lecture content for classmates. More K-12 schools and universities should follow the example of Duke with it’s Duke Digital Initiative and offer podcasted recordings of class lectures as a NORMAL ACTIVITY rather than an exceptional pilot-project or an unheard-of idea that no one is considering or implementing.

I wrote this past spring about “The Ethic of Open Digital Content.” I heard a pastor last night say that “hoarding promotes moral decay.” Is this also true in the arena of knowledge and education? Perhaps so. If you want to be digitally relevant in the education space, increasingly you need to find ways to give your content away. Not a financially viable economic model? Maybe you need a paradigm shift? Rob Lucas and Kevin Driscoll’s preso for K-12 Online, “Toward a System for Online Curriculum-Sharing” offers some great food for thought in this regard. WikiBooks and Wikiversity are also projects worth checking out. I like the tagline of Wikiversity:

because knowledge should be free.

Are the teachers and/or professors at your educational institution hoarding their knowledge? It’s time to share the wealth. There are idealistic reasons to promote the transparent sharing of their ideas and knowledge, but also practical ones.

Do your coaches want any of their student-atheletes to flunk out and become academically ineligible? I didn’t think so. Start talking to them about podcasting, and get THEM to put pressure on the administration and therefore the teachers/professors to record and then podcast their lectures.

This proposal might fit into a New Year’s resolution along the lines, “Do something constructively distruptive.” ;-)


Did you know Wes has published 3 eBooks, and 1 of them is available free? Check them out!

If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."

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