Podcasting more popular than beer?

Post ImageYou may have heard the recent story about iPods and how they are more popular than beer among US students according to a biannual study. It’s apparently the first time since 1997 than beer has been knocked from the top of the list. Naturally, one wonders why the iPod is so popular? Managing partner of Student Monitor Eric Weil thinks he knows why:

Part of the explosion in its popularity may be due to the iPod’s use as a learning tool in the form of “podcasting”, technology that allows students to download lectures directly into their handheld devices to be listened to and viewed at their convenience, suggested Weil.

“Professors are using whatever way they can to jam information into students’ brains,” said Weil.

Wishful thinking Eric! I don’t seem to recall any colleges or universities making a big deal out of podcasting just yet. Sure there’s a few professors who have started using the technology, but hardly enough to cause students to give up beer!

A more likely reason is that there are simply more students who like music than who like beer. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there are a bunch of students who call their MP3 players “iPods” even if they aren’t. I’m expecting beer to be back on top again next year.

Read: Yahoo News

Breakfast with Indira

If you’re a student at the University of Alberta and you’ve been itching to share something with the woman in charge, you may be in luck! University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera is inviting all students to a special breakfast event:

I’m writing you today with an invitation. I am planning a Breakfast Roundtable meeting just for students on Tuesday, April 18th from 7:30-8:30 a.m. in the Saskatchewan Room of the Faculty Club. Please come, if you are able. Over a continental breakfast, we can discuss some of the issues and challenges you face, and I can hear your bright and creative ideas for enriching the student experience.

Please RSVP by e-mail to jackie.wright@ualberta.ca or by phone at 492-1525.

I wonder how many students will actually end up attending this event. I am tempted to go simply to suggest that she not ever have a roundtable like this so early in the morning ever again! I mean, 7:30 AM? I might as well not go to sleep the night before if I am going to attend! On second thought, that’s probably why it is so early, so that there are fewer students willing to get up and go.

Read: UAlberta

Imagine Cup Canada 2006

Post ImageIt’s getting to be that time of year again! Microsoft’s annual Imagine Cup programming competition is starting to heat up, with thousands of students from around the world already registered. If you’re a Canadian looking to enter the Software Design Challenge, time is running out:

The Software Design Challenge is the most high profile Imagine Cup competition. This year, teams of young technologists are challenged to create the an innovative, impactful, and elegant piece of software to help people live healthier lives.

Register your team for the Software Design Challenge – you can register until April 7, 2006. Create your executive summary and submit it using the required submission template to ICcan@microsoft.com by midnight April 7, 2006. THIS is all you need do to secure your team a place in the most high profile category of Imagine Cup 2006.

Having competed in the past, I can honestly say that the Imagine Cup is an excellent experience for students who want to do some .NET programming (as in my experience, most schools do not teach .NET or C# or anything related). In addition to the Software Design invitational, there are also invitationals for IT, Short Film, Algorithm, and Interface Designer, plus the Project Hoshimi Programming Battle. Lots of ways to participate!

I think Dickson and I will be entering a team again this year, as it is our last year of eligibility and we think we have a great idea too. Of course, it is related to podcasting, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

Read: Imagine Cup Canada

President Samarasekera's Message

Post ImageOn Monday an email from University of Alberta President Indira Samarasekera made its way into my inbox. The email contained her Spring Break message to students. I have mirrored the PDF here. A few things stuck out for me from the message:

  • She definitely likes her quotes, using three in the message – one at the start, one in the middle, and one at the end.
  • The message sounds very big and forward-looking.
  • To my knowledge this is the first time she has communicated her “Dare to Discover” vision directly to students, though she didn’t get into any detail.

At the end of the message she invites students to get in touch with her at president@ualberta.ca and on the undergraduate page of her website. I’m going to have to read her vision and think about it for a while. Too bad she doesn’t have a blog – there, that’s my first bit of feedback, be one of the world’s first university presidents to keep a blog!