Podcasting in Education

February 26, 2008 · Posted in Tools, Video · Comment 

Podcasts are compelling tools for educators from two perspectives. For consumers of information, podcasts can provide portable, repeatable content that can be accessed at any time as often as needed. Study materials, how-to guides, lectures, guest speakers, and literature can be made available to students in a form that can be accessed through their computer or their iPod or other portable music player. For creators of information, podcasts help students focus on research, write for an audience, and use multimedia tools to publish original content. Many K-16 schools have embraced podcasts as teaching and learning tools. The Education Podcast Network showcases many examples of student-generated and subject-oriented podcasts along with details about creating your own podcasts. A quick Google search will uncover hundreds of additional sources.

Podcasts come in two “flavors.” Audio podcasts are typically MP3 files with vocal and/or music content, although there are other file formats available. (My favorite audio podcasts are the podcast versions of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, a show that I dearly love but rarely hear live due to its broadcast time. All episodes live on my iPod and get played regularly.) “Enhanced” podcasts include images or video and may have addressable chapters available to the listener.

There are many tools available for educators to use to create their own podcasts. Mac users have the elegant GarageBand, which easily integrates voice, music, and video to create podcasts. (iLife ’08, the current version, does an exemplary job of creating podcasts and is well worth the upgrade.) Other tools for Windows and Macs may be found here.

iTunes PodcastsTo fully appreciate podcasts, start by subscribing to a few of them. Apple’s iTunes Store is a great place to start. Select Podcasts from the store menu, select a category, and subscribe. (NPR’s content can be found under Featured providers.) Most are free. Seek out podcasts on topics that interest you, and start to imagine what kind of content you or your students could provide to others. You’ll be podcasting in no time…