10 Ways to Make Your iPod a Better Learning Gadget

ipodwithclass_21.jpgThe iPod can supercharge your learning. But it’s often a matter of finding the right software and content. Below, we’ve listed several new pieces of software that will let you suck more educational media (DVDs, web videos, audio files, etc.) into your iPod. And we’ve also listed some important pieces of content that will make your iPod a better learning gadget. So here it goes and be sure to visit our Podcast Library and our related piece 10 Signs of Intelligent Life at YouTube:

1) Put Wikipedia on Your Ipod:
Encyclopodia is a free piece of software that brings Wikipedia to the iPod. Encyclopodia can be installed on iPod generations 1 through 4, as well as iPod Minis. Definitely worth a try.

2) Watch DVDs on Your iPod: This free, open source software works on MacOS X, Linux and Windows, and makes it simple to load and watch DVDs on your video iPod. Here are some helpful instructions to get you started.

3) Load YouTube Videos to Your iPod: ConvertTube allows you to take any YouTube video and convert it to a format that works on your iPod. It’s as simple as entering a url and clicking “convert and download.” If you want to give the software a test run, try converting these UC Berkeley courses that were recently launched on YouTube. Or these Nobel Prize speeches.

4) Make Other Video Formats iPod-Ready: Lifehacker recently mentioned three other pieces of software that will make a variety of other video formats iPod-ready. For Windows, see Videora; for Mac, see iSquint. Or more generally see Zamzar. In a nutshell, these items will turn a wide range of video formats into the one video format (MPEG-4) that your iPod likes.

5) Convert MP3 files into One Big iPod Audiobook File: Downloading free audiobooks can often require you to work with a series of separate mp3 files, which can make things rather cumbersome. This software does you a favor and mashes the files into one manageable file. And it has a feature that will let your Ipod remember where you stopped if you decide to take a break. (If this one appeals to you, be sure to see item # 10.)

6) Create eBooks for the iPod: This bit of software turns text files into ebooks that you can read on your iPod. After you load a text file, it will make the text readable through iPod Notes (which you can find under “Extra Setttings”). Then, voila, a portable text. Thanks to Pachecus.com for pointing this one out.


William F. Buckley v. Gore Vidal – 1968

William F. Buckley, Jr., the intellectual force behind the strand of conservatism that peaked with Ronald Reagan, died yesterday. (See NY Times obit.) Here, we have some vintage Buckley. The video clip below features Buckley and Gore Vidal going at it, almost coming to blows, during the contested presidential campaign of 1968. It offers a good reminder that American political discourse hasn’t been agreeable for quite some time. Comparatively, things look downright civil today.

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Not Always a Nation of Dunces

Here’s a nice counterpoint to our post last week covering Susan Jacoby’s new book The Age of American Unreason and her lament that America has declined into a morass of anti-intellectualism and low expectations.

Let’s set the scene: A reporter selects a young Barack Obama supporter at a rally and starts peppering him with questions about the candidate. And it all feels like a staged effort to demonstrate that the mobilized youth has no real handle on the issues. He’s just blindly buying the hype. Without wasting time, the reporter leads the young man into a conversation on the complexities of health care. It’s the perfect setup. But then it suddenly becomes clear that the reporter chose the wrong kid (who is a naturalized immigrant, by the way) to play the fool. Watch the video below (and check out this follow up video that gives you more of the back story).

via Think on These Things

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How to Learn a Foreign Language

We stumbled across this video (below) over on YouTube. It offers a quick survey of web resources that will teach you foreign languages for free. Among other items, the video mentions our Foreign Language Podcast Collection and, for that, we wanted to say thanks to whoever put this together.

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The Best Place on the Web for Film Junkies

Some of you may know GreenCine as a highbrow video-rental company, one that serves as an alternative to Netflix and Blockbuster. But the best thing about Greencine is its blog, maintained by David Hudson and updated several times a day. A thoughful and unpretentious collection of reviews, interviews, festivals and other worthwhile online film discussions, refreshingly free of snark or invasive opinionating. Think of it as a very, very smart aggregator. This particular cineaste makes it her homepage.

Cracking Tarantino

“Tarantino’s Mind,” an award winning short film from Brazil, decodes the filmography of Quentin Tarantino, drawing connections most Tarantino fans might not have drawn themselves. Acting in the film is Seu Jorge, a great Brazilian musician (check this album out) who has gained recent fame in the US. The clip runs a good ten minutes. The only downsides are the small subtitles and language not suitable for puritanical types. But we are in Tarantino territory, so what could you really expect? (The video below has been added to our YouTube Playlist.)

80 Years of Academy Award Winning Films in Posters

Great poster collection of Oscar winning films, from 1927 to this week. Check it out here.

via Kottke.org

Where to Get Free Online Courses from Great Universities?

The answer is our collection called Free Online Courses from Great Universities, of course. We spent some time this weekend adding new courses to the collection, and it now includes about 110 free courses in total. We’ve also made it easy to pop these courses on your iPod (or any other MP3 player). From our point of view, this is one of the most useful but comparatively underused pages on our site. So, if you haven’t seen it yet, give it a look and share it with a friend … or stranger.

Some of the new online courses listed here include: The Ancient Mediterranean World, The Roman Empire, Shakespeare, Heidegger, American Politics: Campaign Strategy, Quantum Mechanics, Crossroads of Earth Resources and Society, Introduction to Political Philosophy, Introduction to Psychology, Introduction to the Old Testament, and more.

If you want to find this page down the road, look in the Podcast Library on the upper right of any page. Then click on the link Free Online Courses.

Also, on a related note, you may want to peruse our University Podcast Directory.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.