Podcasting is the latest in web technology, and is creating waves in the e-learning world. It has already been adopted as teaching tool in many well known universities like – Drexel University, Allegheny College, the University of Chicago, University of Michigan and Purdue University Duke University and Stanford University.
So what exactly is podcasting?
Podcasting is a fusion of two words: iPod, Apples popular digital music player, and broadcasting.
Podcasts are basically digital audio programs that can be subscribed to and downloaded by listeners by RSS (Really Simple Syndication). It can be accessed on an array of digital audio devices, like Mp3 players, desktop computer, laptops, mobiles etc. They can be easily produced with any computer having a soundcard; microphone, recording software and an Internet connection.
Podcasting in E-learning
“Podcasting has revolutionized education and particularly higher education by enabling up-to-date content, addressing multiple intelligences and allowing for the anytime/anywhere delivery of instructional content” (Morales, 2006)
Podcasting is not a replacement for traditional methods of learning, but it certainly facilitates and accelerates the learning process:
Podcasting as an E-learning Tool
Content propagation tool- Podcasting provides a portable access to content such as lectures, historical speeches, and foreign language content.
Recording tool- Podcasting captures lectures, class discussions, guest speakers, and verbal feedback.
Field recording tool- Podcasting is great for capturing field notes, interviews, environmental sounds, and audio data.
Study support tool- Podcasting affords repeated listening and repetition of audio content.
Absorption & Retention-The human brain since birth is conditioned to respond to voices, that is why singers, orators and professors have such a deep impact on us. We tend to absorb and retain more when we hear. Knowing this psychology, e-learning through podcasting not only makes learning easy, but also helps students with retention issues. Once recorded the lesson is available at all times, and can be reviewed again and again.
A boon for the handicapped- podcasting is a godsend for people who have learning disabilities like dyslexia or for the blind. It has made online learning straightforward and available for them.
Student familiarity-As many students are already familiar with downloading music files, downloading lectures and lessons via podcasting is just an extension of this technology for them. Using this familiarity, educationists are using podcasting as a teaching tool for universities and the corporate world.
Asynchronous and mobile-Podcasting is a 24/7, on-demand channel. With bandwidth constantly expanding, it can be literaly used any where and everywhere.The opportunities for this new technologyl are seemingly infinite.
Convenient and user friendly- Podcasts provide convenient portable digital content. They reduced dependence on materials and lab or library locations. With podcasting there is greater and enhanced support, for an individual learning preferences and requirements.
Inexpensive- Podcasts are relatively easy to create and dont require high-priced equipment. They can be created without a huge amount of time or money.
In sync with the younger generation- Online learning through listening has incredible appeal to younger students who may be irritated with conventional forms of learning. They are more attuned to listening and are more receptive to podcasting. Podcasts could help them with the monotony of reading huge amounts of material.
Podcasting or Listening to digital audio content is a practical, inexpensive and uncomplicated method for learning online. It is available to teachers and students alike, helping them take the next step in e-learning.