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Podcasting: Recording, managing, and delivering the classroom experience

EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies Committee Carlos Morales, New Jersey City University John S. Moses, The University of Chicago

September 15, 2006

What is it?

Podcasting is part of the so-called Web 2.0 that depends on push technologies to deliver content. Push technologies is terminology used to define the process of collective technologies used to send out information to users, regardless of whether anyone is tuned in. The updating process is usually an unobtrusive one. With that in mind Podcast creators can have their content delivered to subscribers as soon as it becomes available, without the steps of typing an URL and subsequently downloading the information. Students can subscribe to podcasts and have the content delivered automatically to their device management software. This allows for the time- shifted delivery of content, much like TiVo for TV.

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. Podcast content can include but is not limited to audio and video recordings of lectures, incidental content (e.g. interviews, narrations) and generally any audio and video content. For example, Stanford University offers audio lecture content, but also offers videos of their sports activities. There have also been extensions that allow for the updating of content via the telephone and attaching podcasts to blogs. Much as the so-called Web 2.0 is evolving, the use of podcasting in academia continues to adjust to these changes.

Why do we care?

The pedagogical uses of podcasts can be primarily categorized into the areas of lecturing, tutoring and remediation. It is believed that podcasting has impacted all areas of education by providing: up-to-date content, addressing multiple intelligences and the anytime/anywhere delivery of instructional content. In distance education, new models of teaching are making it possible to increase student engagement, productivity and motivation (Beldarrain, 2006). Courses can be enhanced with content and in ways never thought possible decades ago. Instructional designers play an important role in this process by providing consultation on the design, usability, production and subsequent use of audible learning objects like in this case, podcasts (Morales, 2006). The main advantage of this technology is that it relies on its readiness to be made available immediately to large audiences via download or a subscription notification system.

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