A podcast is a series of portable sound files hosted on the Web and distributed via an RSS feed. There are individual podcast episodes and there are podcast shows (King, 2007). King (2007) states that podcasting is different from other audio files posted to the web because it is a part of a series and the power of a scripting language called XML. Podcasting is the evolving technology in which people listen to their favourite music and videos (Hall, 2008). Hall (2008) also states that Podcasting is the term brought about by combining two significant terms; IPod and Broadcasting.
Using Podcasts in the classroom
I was instructed to find a podcast that would fulfil the requirements for my students and me in the classroom. I searched through the Education/ K- 12 and found a podcast that would support students learning in Natural Disasters. The podcast I chose was an audio only file called “WNC- Kids News”. This podcast comes as a series and is updated daily to keep kids up to date with current news and it also targets kids at the age of 7 – 14 years old. Natural disasters are a major topic on most of the news podcasts. This podcast would allow students to be able to research new natural disasters occurring around the world.
I was thinking of a way to incorporate these podcasts into the classroom for a major project and I came up with the idea of students creating their own news podcasts for the week. Students could pick out certain issues that have happened during the week that interest them and present them in a podcast to the class. I realised that listening to 20 or more podcasts could take up too much time. To alleviate this time issue teachers may provide students with a roster which only has 2 to 4 students present a podcast per week. This would also allow students to have time to gather research and create it into a podcast.
The Kids News also has a website students can look at http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldclass/. This may help students find more information about the Natural Disasters happening around the world.
A number of different Learning Frameworks can evaluate important elements in podcasting. Connectivism is one theory that can relate to podcasting; this is because it is based on students forming their own opinions about certain situations and keeping up to date with new information. Students will have different opinions on varying topics as not all students have had the same experiences. Two of the principles of connectivism are evident in the learning experiences mention above. They are:
- Currency (accurate, up-to-date knowledge) is the intent of all connectivist learning activities.
- Decision-making is a learning process. Choosing what to learn and the meaning of incoming information is seen through the lens of a shifting reality. While there is a right answer now, it may be wrong tomorrow due to alterations in the information climate affecting the decision.
I chose these principles as students need to have accurate and up to date knowledge for their podcasts. Also they need to choose areas (natural disasters etc.) that interest them and decided how they are going to present the information the best way through their podcasts. Students also have a week or more to complete this task so students may have to update their news due to new information being presented.
Kearsley and Schneiderman’s Engagement Theory (1999) also relate to the podcasting learning experience mentioned above. Students have the opportunity to ‘Create” their own project when creating their own podcast. Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) states that because students get to define the nature of the project (even if they don't choose the topic), they have a sense of control over their learning which is absent in traditional classroom instruction.
Also students get to ‘Donate” as they have the opportunity to present their projects to an outside customer, whether that is parents, class mates and school etc. Kearsley and Schneiderman (1999) state that the authentic learning context of the project increases student motivation and satisfaction.
Any input into improving my podcasting lessons (only an overview provided) that would be great.
I am not really sure of any other learning experience that could involve podcasting; if anyone has any other ideas it would be great to hear them?
Has anyone used podcasting in the classroom? If so, how did it go?
Hall, J (2008) Podcasting 100 Success Secrets – Start Your Podcast Today: Lulu Enterprises; United Kingdom.
Kearsley, G & Schneiderman, B (1999) Engagement Theory - A framework for technology-based teaching and learning: Accessed August 4th 2009 http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
King, K & Gura, M (2007) Podcasting for Teachers: Information Age Publishing; United States of America.
Siemens, G (2005) Connectivism – A Learning Theory for a Digital Age: Accessed on the 12th August 2009; http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm