But what is amazing is not the free downloadable PDF files (i.e., text) but the audio or MP3 files with the IRRODL articles. I know that this journal has had this audio feature in for 2 years now, but I never noticed it before. Of course, the journal is using open source software and not paying for AT&T voices, but it still sounds very cool (better than I remember writing them). And they are being used by people in several countries in Africa. Now that is way cool. Why doesn't every journal do this? Or at least every open access journal? We could then be working on resolving some of our serious digital divide problems. Ok, I will admit that this idea requires Internet access by someone to download the files.
What about others? Imagine if my graduate students (or your students) had all their articles in audio format! They could listen to research while attending their son's swim meets or daughter's soccer games. They could listen to them when driving to class and have them fresh in their minds. They could listen them when running during lunch or after work. They could share them with other students, colleagues at work, or even friends and relatives. Imagine if your mother could ask you questions about some new model, method, or idea she heard on her iPod or MP3 player when listening to your article during the holiday season? Imagine speaking to an audience in Africa, China, or India which heard your article or many of your articles; not simply heard about you.
Text is great and journals provide us with increasing access to text. But, let me tell you, when you hear your article (even when read my a stale robotic voice), it is a highly pleasurable experience. It takes weeks or months (and sometimes years) to think through your ideas and put them to paper in a publishable manner. But what happens when they are played back to you in 30 minutes or perhaps an hour. You hear your ideas pressing up against other ideas that you had. And when it is a collaborative effort (as most of mine are), you see how you were able to weave your distinct voices together. That is really the coolest part. You certainly can see the voices come together in text. However, that is not anywhere near the joy I felt when hearing one of my articles tonight; even if the computer voice pronounced "reification" as "rife-ication." I can read, save, and print out the text file; but to listen to it is refreshing. It is like having someone in the room with you present your ideas back to you.
How else to use? Here are 10 ideas off the top of my head (took 5-10 minutes to generate these so there must be tons more!) 1. Idea Rehearsals Via Audio: Perhaps as a way of thinking or rehearsing through a presentation on an article. You can hear the computer voice and know you can do better. Maybe have the audio file play for 20 or 30 seconds and then pause it and you repeat it or summarize the points made. 2. Audio Quote Summaries: Perhaps use it for short quotes--cue up the audio to the right spot and have the computer read the article aloud to the class and then have student reflections on each quote or story. 3. Random Audio Snippets: Play random 15 to 30 second sections of the MP3 file and ask the class to make sense of them. Simply click on different parts of the audio--you never know what you will play, nor do they. 4. Stump the Class Idea Audios: Play a 5 or 10 or 15 minute chunk of a popular article that your students have not read and ask them to figure out the author without looking it up online. Figure it out through discussion. 5. Post Audio Expert Interviews: Ask the original authors to comment on a particular audio snippet from the article that you play for them. 6. Audio Splicing: Have students find a way to splice sections of audio recordings of different articles and have them try to create a theme or pattern. See if the class can determine where it was spliced in. 7. Audio Learning Alternatives: Have students download the audio and listen to it in a place where they never have studied in the past. Ask them to reflect on their learning. 8. Multi-Sensory Experiences: Have students listen to one article from an author, read another one, and also watch him or her deliver a speech or presentation in an online streamed video or conference presentation. Ask them to compare and contrast the three formats--read, see, and hear. 9. Multi-Sensory Experiences with Author Capstone: After #8, brainstorm questions about the articles, podcast, or video and then invite that person (or persons if joint efforts) into class and discuss these questions with him or her. 10. Best of Article Audio Creations: Create your own audio or MP3 file of articles your class is reading from a particular journal. Maybe read or listen to a special journal issue and have your students pull out he key concepts and create an MP3 file of them and then share this with the journal editors. Perhaps they will publish this "best of" podcast.
Those are just a few ideas I had in 5-10 minutes of thinking about this. I am sure you all can come out with dozens more. For more ideas, you can order this book (coming out next July): Bonk, C. J., & Zhang, K. (in press). Empowering Online Learning: 100+ Activities for Reading, Reflecting, Displaying, and Doing. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Ok, here are the three articles published I had today. The first publication is research with two University of Houston colleagues, Dr. Mimi Lee and Dr. Grace Lin, while helping analyze the community of practice of global translators at the OOPS (Opensource Opencourseware Prototype System). OOPS is helping translating MIT courses to traditional and simplified Chinese. It is a fascinating story.
The third article of mine published today explores the use of Breeze (Adobe Connect Pro) in an instructional design class wherein residential and distance students are doing critiques of online designs:
Name: Curt Bonk Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.