Identifying Thresholds

I have a confession. I have been woefully slow to the podcasting revolution. I have yet to create a single podcast, and, until recently, I’ve been a reluctant podcast listener.  The reluctance to record stems mostly from my strong personal discomfort with listening to recordings of my voice. I find it really unsettling.  However, I’m committed to getting over myself.

The unwillingness to listen to podcasts has been of a more practical issue. I simply couldn’t figure out how to incorporate this activity into my life. There seems to be little time in my life during which I could listen to podcasts.  The only time I could think to carve out was in my car during my 20+ minute commute. However, playing my iPod in my car simply seemed like a chore. Sure, I have an old portable CD to tapedeck adapter, but the sound isn’t great and I always seemed to be contending with a dead iPod battery. (I’m not great about remembering to turn my iPod off or dock it regularly, either. Sigh.)

Kensington FM TransmitterThen about a month ago, I finally got a Kensington Digital FM Transmitter. Suddenly, listening to podcasts became feasible. I can get a decent sound via the FM transmission, and, best of all, my iPod is constantly charging when plugged in.

It seems downright silly that I couldn’t find a way to make this work until I got the Kensington — I’m supposed to be working in IT, remember? The whole experience just reminded me of those funny thresholds that we all get stuck at sometimes. Incorporating anything new into our lives often requires some push, or some small, seemingly simple way of making that incorporation stick.

As we work with facutly and students it’s so important to remember this. It may not be that they don’t want to listen to podcasts — they, like me, might just need that certain add-on (A better set of headphones? A more durable case?) that helps them to suddenly realize how this technology can fit into their already hectic lives.

The lesson extends beyond iPods, of course. We’re all bombarded with opportunities to take in more information all the time. Finding the right tools to manage and incorporate that information into our lives comes down to personal choice. I love Bloglines — it fits well into the way I work and live. However, others might find it cumbersome. Part of my job as an instructional technologist it to be sensitive to these diverse requirements — and to search for that one, special “inroad” that just allows a new tool or technology to click for someone.