Verizon has awarded a $30,000 grant to Santa Monica College for its educational podcasting program. The check was presented to the college’s board of trustees Monday, February 12th.

The money will be used to purchase additional iPods for student use and computer workstations in which Santa Monica College employees can produce additional podcast content for classroom instruction and related purposes.

“It’s great that the college has embarked on this effort to integrate the latest technology into the academic preparation of its students,” said Francisco Uribe, director of government and external affairs for Verizon’s Pacific Region. “The Verizon Foundation felt Santa Monica College’s podcasting program was a perfect match with our funding priorities.”

Last year, Santa Monica College joined other higher education institutions in the United States, including Stanford University and UCLA, in introducing podcasting as a learning tool.

Starting with a pilot program last summer, Santa Monica College expanded its venture with the launch of SMC on iTunes U, making a range of podcasts available to students and the public.

SMC on iTunes U (http://i features course content, student work and audio podcasts of guest speakers at the college and public board of trustees meetings.

Material is available free to the public, to be downloaded to Macintosh or personal computers, with the option of transferring the content to iPods and Mp3 players.

Santa Monica College officials expect podcasting to expand to more classes, including workforce-training courses offered through the college-operated Small Business Development Center.

Verizon has a history of providing financial support for Santa Monica College programs that use technology, college officials said. In the late 1990s, the company provided a $125,000 grant to the college to develop an online instruction program, which college officials say has experienced “explosive growth” over the last few years.

The company also gave a $35,000 award to the college’s Academy of Entertainment & Technology for Launchpad, a summer program for high school students interested in pursuing a digital animation career.

“Verizon has once again shown its support of Santa Monica College’s development of a new classroom learning technology,” said Marvin Martinez, the college’s vice president of planning and development.

Santa Monica College’s pilot podcasting program last summer targeted a group of 25 incoming freshman.

The college loaned Apple iPods to the students, who were able to download video, audio, photos, graphics and text for homework assignments.

The content, ranging from television and movie clips to videotaped campus tours, was available only to the students and faculty for downloads to their iPods.

The students — a group of low-income freshmen in remedial English and college orientation courses — and teachers in the pilot program gave podcasting high marks, college officials say.