I received my first iPod for Christmas, 2004. It was the newest one at the time, the 20 gigabyte 3G iPod with the monochrome screen. When I first got it I quickly learned that I could load it with my vast CD collection,and as a music teacher that was going to be a great tool for me, but I had no idea of the impact this little device would eventually have on my life.
At that time I regularly listened to a weekly radio show on NPR and one day they mentioned that the show could be podcasted by visiting their website. Podcasting I thought, what’s that? Visiting their website I learned that podcasting is the ability to subscribe to a program over the internet so that I could download it to my computer and then to my iPod. This was a great discovery as the show I liked to listen to came on at 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, and I was only occasionally available at that time. This new podcasting allowed my to listen to the show every week, on my own schedule. Thus I was introduced to time-shifting. To make the podcasting possible I had to download a program called iPodder to collect the shows that I wanted to subscribe to. This program came with a sample audio file and introduction from a guy named Adam Curry. After searching around I found that I could podcast more shows such as Adam Curry’s “Daily Source Code,” and “This Week in Technology” with Leo Laporte. Knowledge is addicting, and the more I learned from listening to podcasts the more I wanted to know. From listening to these first three shows I started hearing about other shows such as The MacCast, Mac Geek Gab, Podcast 411, etc. I was especially interested in listening to podcasts about podcasting so that I could learn more about this new technology.
So, jump ahead four years and I’m no longer a music teacher, but teach technology at the middle school and graduate level after having completed a MA in Education Technology and writing a podcasting curriculum guide as my thesis project. It’s interesting to me how my perspective on media, marketing, and education has changed because of this small product, not to mention the change in the direction of my teaching career.
Yesterday, I lost my iPod. It was old (as technology goes) and it served me well, but as with many things in life it took losing the thing to make me really think about the role that it played in my daily life. For the first time in many years I had to listen to the radio in my car. Instead of being educated by the Mac Geeks or Alex Lindsay I had to listen to “Jimmer and Karrie Lynn.” Doing the laundry, dishes, and mowing the lawn just aren’t the same any more.
Luckily this is simply a product that can be replaced easily and quickly when funds become available, but I thought I’d use this opportunity to comment not on the product itself, but the fundamental shift that it has facilitated in my and so many others’ lives. Now the next question is not whether to replace it, but with which model? Classic video? Video Nano? iPod touch? The great dilemma. Stay tuned to find out.