by Janice Florent
“Podcasting” is a term inspired by the Apple Computer Corporation’s iPod—a portable digital audio player that allowed users to download music from their computer directly to the device for later listening. Podcasting has changed in that it no longer just refers to audio but can also be video content which can be listened to live or downloaded for later use.
A podcast is similar to a radio show in that each show consists of a series of individual episodes you can listen to on your computer or on a digital audio player like an iPod. What distinguishes a podcast from a traditional radio show is that you can listen to a podcast whenever and wherever you want to, and you can subscribe to a podcast series so when a new episode is available, it automatically downloads to your computer.
Podcasts have changed the way people share their knowledge with others. This revolution has touched education industry and a lot of educators are using podcasting for teaching and learning.
The Office of Instructional Consulting at Indiana University Bloomington suggested some pedagogical uses of educational podcasting, benefits of podcasting, and things to consider if you are planning to use podcasting in education. That information is as follows:
Pedagogical Uses of Educational Podcasting
- Preview/review lectures or course content
- Language learning
- Student-created content/projects
- Reverse lecture
- Screen/software demonstration
- Situated (contextual) learning opportunities
- Guest presentations (via podcast)
- Supplementary course materials
- Lecture recording
- Mini lessons with audio and visuals
Benefits of Educational Podcasting
- Doesn't require lots of bandwidth (as opposed to streaming media)
- Network connection not needed in order to play (only needed to download)
- Allows for timeshifting (both instructor and students)
- Source for multimodal learning
- May allow for re-use of content over time
Things to Consider in Educational Podcasting
- Privacy and intellectual property
- Value of human interaction and student-teacher relationship cannot be ignored
- Potential barriers for technology challenged students
- Potential barriers for students with different learning styles
- Consider type of podcast in regard to purpose, audience, and file size
- The time it takes to produce podcast
For more information about educational podcasting you can read the Ed Tech Review article “How and Why Teachers should use Podcasts.” In it, Prasanna Bharti explains how to create a podcast, suggests tools for creating podcasts, and lists some education podcasts that have experts and thought leaders sharing insights on various fields of educational technology.
Additionally, it is best practice to include transcripts and closed captions with your audio and video content. Many people believe closed captioning and transcripts only benefits students who have a hearing impairment or have a language deficit. This could not be further from the truth. Closed captioning and transcripts can also help students with cognitive disabilities, as well as learners accessing podcasts in noise sensitive environments, learners accessing the internet with low bandwidth or with a limited data plan, and basically all learners. Presenting information in multiple ways can help address the diverse needs of learners in the classroom and engage students on multiple levels.
Attend the upcoming "Creating Accessible Course Materials: Transcripts and Closed Captions" workshop to find out how to make your podcasts accessible.