I have placed the links above in order to counter argue a ban on ipods in Sydney. The International Grammar School has banned iPods during school sessions. The principal of the school believe that these devices leads to social isolation in schools. My first thought is this is just another case of banning technology rather than finding creative ways to embrace it. If using iPods during lunch breaks, for example, leads to social isolation than why is there such a fuss about peer to peer networks? These isolates would not need/want to build communities in order to share anything. There would not be communities of people creating and sharing pirate radio type files (podcasting) specifically named after this device (although not limited to it). And what about other forms of social isolation…silent reading, homework, pen and paper… which is all ridiculous, I know (that being the point).
And what about different learning styles? I can fully understand not wanting students to listen to music during instruction, but what about those students who learn more effectively with background music? And more importantly, what about those who need silence? Personal iPods cater to both. Those who need the distraction to concentrate (actually not a contradiction in terms) have their earphones and music, those who need silence are not forced to listen. Win win?
As with any technology, especially one in which usage has reached a critical mass, there needs to be a shared understanding of the medium and creative strategies employed. Total banning is not an acceptable option.