FOR MOST students they are a way to pass the time on their way to lessons, but for those at Kingston College, i-pods are a crucial learning tool.
After winning funding to buy 700 of the music and video players, the college has been offering students the chance to catch up on lessons through the machines and last week won a prestigious award for its innovative approach to education.
The college took a £25 deposit from students in return for the machines, and arranged for some lessons in departments including sports, art and design and hair dressing, to be delivered via podcast. It is one of just a handful of colleges to launch the scheme.
E-learning coordinator Nicky Read explained: "We now use them across 15 curriculum areas and this can involve anything from discussing an assignment or, in the case of hairdressing, showing how to do a perm or set.
"It's been very popular with the students, who like the feeling that we trust them to look after the i-pods and it's something a bit different. The staff have all be trained so that they can make the podcasts – it's been successful so far and we're due to report back out findings to other colleges soon."
The college was presented with the Association of College's award for creative production. Adaptation and delivery or learning resources at its annual conference in Birmingham on November 17.
Director or ILT support and development at the college Andrew Williams, said: "I am delighted with the award for it recognises the tremendous work by all of the students and teachers involved in the scheme to embed mobile learning within the organisation.
"Those involved have forged new and effective ways of promoting learning and teaching with hand-held multimedia devices and have made a significant contribution to transforming the educational landscape at Kingston College."