Podcasting as a tool to support learning

N N prahallada
Last Updated 13 February 2013, 15:23 IST

In the last twenty five years, technology has dramatically influenced almost all walks of life, including education. The contemporary education system uses technology to a great extent, going on to prove, that without technology, education will be eclipsed. 

The use of power point presentation, overhead projector, computer-based testing, student independent learning,  all these are a kind of shift from traditional teaching to modernity in the teaching-learning Process. Classroom instruction occupies a pivotal position in the entire education process.

“Podcasting” is the latest technology in education. The term podcast has come from combining the words “ipod and broadcasting.”

Earlier it referred to audio programmes on the internet, which can be subscribed using a Really Simple Syndications (RSS) feed. 

Podcasts can be listened to on a computer, ipod, MP3 player, PDA or phone. The alternative names used for Podcasting  are –video podcast, vidcast or vodcast.

Podcasting is a mobile technology. Podcasting is creating audio files in MP3 format and making them available online. After subscribing to the podcast, future broadcasts automatically download to your computer which can then be transferred easily to a handheld device such as a palm OS Handheld, a pocket PC, or an ipod. In brief, anyone with a computer and internet access can produce their own radio programme for free.

Podcasting is portable, either through personal computers or mobile devices (MP3 player, handheld, cell phone or laptop). It also help to have information just in time 24x7 access. It is useful across multiple environments.  You can listen to podcasts over computer speakers, or on a car stereo and over headphones, all while you are moving, walking or exercising, driving and traveling.

The podcast is created using an audio recording programme to record the  dialogue  that is  being communicated by the broadcaster. This can be saved as a sound file (eg MP3) for transmission through what is known as a Really Simple Syndication RSS feed. The podcast could be uploaded on to a Virtual Learning Environment also for students to listen.

Podcasting has revolutionized the field of education  its technology is of particular use to auditory and visual learners. It helps auditory learners to retain 90% of the information received. The podcasting  technology is especially useful for the students with learning difficulties. With podcast technology education field has embraced a powerful new instructional tool.

Podcasting is online audio content made available through the internet using subscription “feed”. Vodcasting (video-on-demand casting) is the same principle as podcasting with the addition of Video.
The contemporary student of to day all over the world are digital natives.  Even very young students have spent time online reading e-mail, playing games, looking up informations or communicating with friends.

Podcasting/Vodcasting can be used successfully to interact with students and parents beyond the four walls of the class room and can be a great facilitator to increase student engagement.

Podcasting/Vodcasting is an inexpensive way to create digital content for the class room. It can help foster student creativity and prepare them for global market. It gives students the opportunity to enhance their organization, communication and Technology skills.

Podcasting/Vodcasting is not just for High School or Higher education but can be used by Elementary school students also.

Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia is doing excellent work on Podcasting and Vodcasting and it has the Campus Net Work in the following countries namely Borneo, Botswana, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lesotho, Swaziland and United Kingdom.

Podcasts/Vodcasts are a fantastic way to gain new information from the internet quickly and efficiently. With a huge variety of topics available, it offers something for everybody. The online Podcast Directories available are ---, Podcast Alley, and Podcast Pickle.

The websites to download/upload education Podcasts are ---  iTunes, PodOmatic, Teacher Tube, School Tube, juice, Education podcasts and the Education podcast Network.

The following are some of the Index of Education Podcasts
- Radio Willo Web—Radio for kids and by kids.
- Marco Polo—related to Science, technology and Medicine.
- Grammar Girl—gives tips for improving writing
- Room 208—Student created Podcasts and Blogs
- Podcast Alley—Extensive collection of Podcasts on Education.

The following are some of the Professional development Podcasts.

- Greater Manchester Professional Development Centre—Empowering Educators to engage in their Practices.
- Infopeople—Moving Libraries forward.
- Kidcast—Learning and Teaching with Podcasting.
- Conference Connections—Staying in touch with the latest Technology
- Middle School art Teacher Podcast
- The math factor Podcast and  
- Teaching with SMART Board.

The existing traditional education model is not sufficient to tackle the various challenges of the present  day student community. Using Podcasting /Vodcasting technology  to enhance student learning will help meet the challenges of the new millennium.

(The author is a guest faculty and associate professor in education, Regional Institute of Education, NCERT, Mysore)

(Published 13 February 2013, 15:23 IST)

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