What is a podcast?
According to Wikipedia, “a podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers.”
Podcasts typically include audio and may also include images/graphics and even video. The term “podcast” implies a series of broadcasts to which users can “subscribe” and which are automatically downloaded through a feed technology, such as RSS.
What can you do with a podcast?
For educational purposes, a podcast could take many forms, alll made available to students for review outside of class:
- Audio recordings of textbook summaries, mini-lectures on difficult concepts, graphics with audio explanations, or explanations of complex assignments, made available to students. These could also be a significant aid to auditory learners.
- Record your personal thoughts about a particular subject or topic and make available to students.
- Invite guest speakers to record lectures or interviews off-site, asynchronously and make them available to students.
- Create course audio files, e.g. heart sounds, language lessons, music
- Generate glossaries of audio files (e.g. heart sounds, language lessions, music).
- Have students record audio and video interviews about their projects (Note: they could record them in the Multimedia Development Studio or with their own recording devices).
- For Modern Language lessons, have students post audio of their practice dialogues. They could even swap these with peers for peer review before turning in the final form to the instructor.
- Assign students to record oral reports and multimedia presentations.
- Assign students to record musical resumes and music critiques.
What are the pros of using a podcast?
- Time-shifting: you can listen/view the material when you want, instead of at a particular time when it might be aired.
- Students can revisit past lectures as a study aid or listen to classes, or parts of classes, they missed.
- Access to course materials is more flexible – reduced dependence on locations such as a lab or library – students can revisit these lectures, or use the study aids while at the gym, or on the train.
- Relatively easy to use, and effective, for multiple recording purposes (interviews, field notes, etc.)
- Greater student interest and engagement.
- Greater support for individual learning needs.
What are the cons of using a podcast?
- Issues around where it will be stored, access, and copyright.
- A decent connection is needed to download the files in a timely manner.
- Primarily audio files, so limited usefulness for those with hearing impairments.
- Not designed for two-way communication.
- Quality can very greatly since anyone can make and publish a podcast.