Podcasts are a series of downloadable digital audio files. Podcasts allow subscriptions, similar to RSS, so whenever there is new content, the subscriber is notified. Therefore they are always up to date and don't miss podcasts. They are a great educational resource and can be used in a multitude of ways to support and enhance learning.
Podcasts are a great tool for learning managers as they can be utilised to contribute to lifelong learning. There are many different podcasts which contain information, skills and knowledge specifically for learning managers to use in classroom instruction. For example there is a great podcast about Interactive WhiteBoards technologies which contains specific teaching methods related to the technology. There are so many others readily available. They can be used to share professional development information. The learning manager can also podcast themselves for the learners, either reading a story or singing a song.
In my exploration of the Internet for podcasts, I discovered this great website: http://www.kid-cast.com/
It is a website where learners can post their very own podcasts that they have created. The podcasts are then available for people around the world to listen to. If learners are able to create these podcasts for a real audience, the task becomes authentic and learners are more likely to be engaged (Kearsley & Schneiderman, 1999). There are steps to creating a great podcast. Learners must plan the podcast. This means beginning with the content, researching and collecting information. They are then read to create a script. After practice and recoding they finally edit and post the podcast. Podcasts need to contain an introduction, a name for the podcast, the date and episode, a brief purpose and an overview of the content to be covered. Conclude with summing up the podcast.
Other uses can include promoting a program or a special activity. Sharing research between learners. Creating and casting school news. Classroom recording of lessons. Creating book reviews. Reading books and singing songs. Weather reports. Foreign language practice, Practicing the alphabet. Famous and/or career interviews of other learners. Advice columns. Poetry readings, learners could create their own poetry or recite someone else's. Spelling bees.
There are so many other positives about podcasts. They are great for learners who have been away. They cater for auditory learners. They are readily and easily accessible. Learners are able to access them 24/7. They enhance creativity in the classroom. Learners develop higher-order thinking skills through analyzing, presenting, persuading, judging, investigating, exploring, researching, debating, determining, identifying, gathering, computing, writing and thinking. They can be utilised to enhance curriculum (Department of Education and Training, 2009).
Most importantly, podcasting is not about the technology, it is the experience of working with information and then sharing that information with others. This fits into the theory of connectivism (Siemens, 2004).
Department of Education and Training. (2009). Podcasts in the Classroom. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/podcasts/
Kearsley, G. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/%7Egkearsley/engage.htm
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved August 15, 2009, from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm