New technology always has a heavy impact on education, and Podcasting is no different. Many learning institutions are cutting back on textbooks and investing in technology enhanced learning. Podcasting, as one of the latest mediums to emerge into the mainstream, is one of the forefront technologies in this change. One of the most popular technologies nowadays in teaching listening is podcast. Podcast provides convenience for listeners to choose and listen to their preferred program. Podcasts are becoming an increasingly popular audio transmission technology on the Web. Initially, the role of the podcasts was mostly entertaining, but soon representatives of the professional community of foreign language teachers and tutors realized all the advantages of podcasting for teaching English.
Many methodologists point out that podcasting seems to be a particularly productive pedagogical tool for teaching listening and speaking [Adams, 2006; Warlick,2005]. Researcher Jobbins [Jobbings,2005] believes that the possibilities of using podcasts in the educational process are unlimited, and a creative approach to learning English and teaching English from teachers and students will dramatically increase the educational opportunities of podcasts and the near future. Jobbins offers three possible ways to apply podcasts in educational institutions:
*the development of interdisciplinary connections;
*development of alternative forms of traditional traditional classroom system;
*creating conditions for student-centered learning.
Podcast was first known in 2004, and it is defined as an internet audio blogging or internet audio publishing. The audio recording is designed to be downloaded and listened to on a portable mp3 player or on a computer. Podcasts are delivered online automatically via a website, so it is different from other audios. Podcasts utilize voice which is the most influential tool that relates to the audience very quickly. Thus, podcast is a series of sound files that consist of educational information in a comprehensive manner to make the user an advanced learner.
A podcast is an audio or, less commonly, video program posted on the Web and available for users to listen, to watch. It is possible to subscribe to receive podcasts. You can listen to new episodes (podcasts) on the Internet itself, or download them to an mp3 player or iPod. Audio files have been placed on the World Wide Web before, but podcasts are fundamentally different from them in ease of use (RSS - Really Simple Syndication): students can subscribe to their favorite podcasts and automatically receive them on their computers.
Podcasts available on the Internet may be divided into two types: “radio podcasts” and “independent podcasts”. In the radio: podcasts are already voiced on the air radio programs, for example, the collection of programs of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). The podcasts of individual users are, according to the title, files recorded by specific experts or organizations. It is the second type of podcasts that is most promising for the teaching of English, since the diversity of interests of the people creating these programs leads to the appearance of podcasts for different categories of English learners. In addition, students can create similar podcasts on their own using very simple and free audio recording programs like Audacity, and the wide distribution of mp3 players and iPod combined with podcasting technology makes the process of learning English continuous and personalized.
Podcasts are not only a tool for developing audio skills, but also a means of improving speaking skills: users interested in English as a foreign language can independently create podcasts and post them on the Web.
Teachers of English as a foreign language can record podcasts for their students. This allows teachers to go beyond the classroom system in teaching English. An example of such a podcast can be found at this link: http://samantha.podomatic.com.
In the modern world of publicly available information technology, it is very easy for students to technically record educational podcasts. To help students create a podcast, the teacher can give them the following recommendations:
Register a blog (for example, on http://wordpress.com) and place podcasts of the whole group on it.
Create an account to post podcasts group on a special site, for example, http://podomatic.com.
In the group, create one account and a password to it.
Upload mp3 files to your blog or podcasts website.
The teacher, in turn, must develop assignments that encourage students to respond to each other's podcasts.
Advantages and disadvantages of podcasts in teaching.
The automatic subscription feature of podcasts is a key advantage in ensuring that subscribers receive the latest files without having to go to each site that hosts media files check to see if there have been updates. This is especially helpful when users wish to keep up with multiple sources. e.g. (1) students do not have to check each of their course websites to see if there are any new podcast files; instead, using an aggregator, all podcasts from all classes will automatically be "delivered" to their computers. (2) users can keep up to date with latest podcasts from news and professional organizations.
*Flexible learning opportunities: can listen/watch any time.
*Do not have to use computer for playback --> can review audio files while driving, walking, biking etc.
*Valuable t0o students to review classes. This is especially an advantage for students who may have had difficulty understanding what was said during the "live" class (e.g. speakers of other languages, students with disabilities). If transcripts of the podcasts are also made available, students can read along and listen at the same time (note: accessibility issue: transcripts must be provided to students with special needs who are unable to listen to the audio files).
*Students learn through more than one modality (listen to audio files/watch video on content as well as read course materials)
*Audio files can easily & inexpensively be created & uploaded to course website/blog/wiki.
*Greatly increases access to classes, lectures, talks (educational, professional and personal) by making these available for download to people who could not attend the session in person (this is especially an advantage to college students who miss lectures).
Disadvantages of Podcasting.
1. Accessibility issues:
*Transcripts must be made of files to ensure accessibility (time consuming & costly)
*Large file size (especially of video files) requires broadband connection, thus making these files difficult (or even impossible) for users to access if they have slow dial-up connection.
*Creators need to ensure that file format is appropriate for all mp3 players (not just on iPods).
2. Issues & problems with Podcasting
Important for those who share podcasts to consider copyright issues (e.g. when podcasting of a guest lecture, ensure that permission from lecturer is obtained for podcasting the lecture).
The ease of recording talks, lectures, concerts and so on (by people attending them) makes it possible for these sessions to be recorded with or without the knowledge of the person who is speaking/singing and subsequently podcast (or shared through other digital means). This raises issues of copyright.
Although it is relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive to record and podcast a lecture (or other recorded event), editing and creating high quality files can be time consuming.
3. Emerging issues and tips regarding Podcasting
It is very important to ensure that podcasts are created in a format that can be played on all mp3 players and not just on iPods.
Methodist Leach, describing the benefits of podcasts of teachers of English, notes: What’s more, it gives pupils who were in the classroom the chance to listen again to what the teacher said on a topic, to re-check those notes and make sure, as well as to make it easier for non-English native speakers to re-listen to a lesson without the distractions that may make instant translation difficult the first time around. A decent podcast can also mean that you can cover the basics without wasting classroom time. The simple delivery of the facts of a lesson in a podcast frees up the lesson itself for more detailed work – or, conversely, can provide the extra detail that takes some pupils off into other directions that a simple lesson can’t contain [Leach, 2006]. Researchers believe that the ability to independently record podcasts is important for students of English to develop speaking skills.
Podcasting is a relatively new concept in the educational realm. So, the new information technology podcasting has great potential both in the field of education in general, and for teaching English as a foreign language, in particular. The ability to easily download podcasts to mp3-players and iPods makes the process of learning English continuous, and learning itself is available not only in the classroom, but also in any other setting. The availability of audio recording software makes it easy to create podcasts. The possibility of placing podcasts on the Web is a motivating factor in learning English. In addition, working with podcasts (listening and recording) allows students to gain experience with lexical and grammatical material. This technology makes learning English personally oriented. Using imagination and creativity, teachers of English using podcasting technology can achieve better than traditional methods of learning in listening and speaking.
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5 PODCASTING IN EDUCATION: WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS? Posted by Colin Gray | Jan 24, 2017 | Niches & Case Studies
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