And your I-Pod doesn’t strike or demand unwarranted pensions

With entire states careening toward bankruptcy because of teacher, administrator, and other public payroll and pension spending, there will never be a better time for technology to decimate the unwarranted numbers of “education” employees.

Cheaper and better.

‘iTunes university’ better than the real thing

Students have been handed another excuse to skip class from an unusual quarter. New psychological research suggests that university students who download a podcast lecture achieve substantially higher exam results than those who attend the lecture in person.

Podcasted lectures offer students the chance to replay difficult parts of a lecture and therefore take better notes, says Dani McKinney, a psychologist at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who led the study.

“It isn’t so much that you have a podcast, it’s what you do with it,” she says.

To find out how much students really can learn from podcast lectures alone – mimicking a missed class – McKinney’s team presented 64 students with a single lecture on visual perception, from an introductory psychology course.

Half of the students attended the class in person and received a printout of the slides from the lecture. The other 32 downloaded a podcast that included audio from the same lecture synchronised with video of the slides. These students also received a printed handout of the material.

The researchers told the students they would be tested on the material in a week, and they also asked students to hold onto their class notes.

Though her team’s paper is subtitled “Can podcasts replace Professors,” McKinney thinks these technologies can buttress traditional lectures, particularly for a generation that has grown up with the Internet.

“I do think it’s a tool. I think that these kids are programmed differently than kids 20 years ago,” she says.

If you shed your “be true to your school” dogma, you can see 1000s of places where technology can replace the bloat and bureaucracy of our education system. Sure, there will always be a place for a talented conveyor of content (which is all a teacher or professor really is). Let’s dump the ones we don’t need.