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By Dai Thomas

“Podcasting is a blanket term used to describe a collection of technologies for automatically distributing audio and video programs over the internet via a publish and subscribe model. Podcasting enables independent producers to create self-published, syndicated “radio shows,” and gives broadcast radio or television programs a new distribution method.”

http://www.wikipedia.org [Accessed November 2005]

I first came across the idea of delivering audio from my school website whilst undertaking research into Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) some years ago. This audio took the form of WAV or MP3 files that were simply accessed for download through my VLE system or websites. I later played with page- embedded players so that the user did not have to download any third party software if they could not play the format. But all this was before the revolution.

By “revolution” I mean the iPod generation. Millions of iPods and an associated myriad of Mp3 players from major manufacturer to unknown unbranded devices flooded the UK market.

It would not be unusual now to take a straw poll of a class at your local secondary school and realise that nearly 90% of students have some type of MP3 playing device. How could I harness this powerful technology and make it have an impact on learning and the school?

I started to deliver short radio type magazine programs which were, by and large, edited and manufactured by my students, 11- 16 year olds in a secondary school in East Sussex, England.

The programs were popular and some teaching staff members were even dusting off their computer phobia to access the traditional media through very untraditional means. One of the most popular programs was ‘Teacher’s Choice’ where teaching staff were asked to put together a selection of their favourite

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