Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Podcasting :)

Our learners today are classified as digital natives and have a special syntax and language developed around the technology they are submersed in. This means that using old school methods of instruction in classroom is not working for our students. Prensky(2005) claims " if you cannot engage young people in education then you will enrage them". This is where a Podcast could fit in.

According to TecED (2007), "a Podcast can be defined as a media file that is freely available for download from the Internet automatically with software that can handle RSS Feed . This file is then played on a personal computer or mobile device at the listener’s convenience".

Podcast have been around in their prime since the year 2000 and are quickly making their way into the educational arena. Podcast require a user to upload media files either text, images, audio, or videos to a podcasting server. The server than allows anyone to download and view these files.

In the classroom TecED(2007) also states that, "a Podcast can be a lecture, presentation, announcement, audio book, or any kind of supplemental material facilitating the educational goals of the teacher and students". Podcast have many educational advantages when implemented effectively. From research on the topic i have compiled a list of some specific positive outcomes as a result of using podcasts in the classroom.

  • Allows you to provide information to your students in a variety of ways, thus catering to a diverse group of learners.
  • Podcasts allow students to replay and review important information.
  • Podcasts help engage students as it is incorporating technologies that the students use on a daily basis into the learning environment.
  • Podcasts engage and motivate students int he learning process, thus reducing behaviour management problems.

Before introducing podcasts into your classroom it is important that you match the podcasts up to the content that the students are covering in class. This can require a lot of careful planning to ensure that it becomes a worth-while educational experience for your students. To plan this type of learning experience Prof. Ron Oliver (1999) has developed a ICT Learning Design Template. He suggests that first you should define the learning task. Kearsley and Shneiderman (1998), suggest the learning task should "relate to real-world, authentic problem scenario that is messy and ill-structured". Secondly Oliver, suggests defining your learning resources and third defining the learning supports.

Using this conceptual framework I could put to my students a concept such as 'The World Will end tomorrow'. This activity would follow on from the unit 'Earth Life and Living'. Students will than be instructed in small groups to make a solid prediction as to why this may be (eg. global warming, extinction of a particular animal ETC). The students will have to research the topic they have chosen and create a podcast to teach and share their information with the rest of the class. I would give the students a list of the resources available to them (cameras, voice recordings, websites) and than clearly identify to them the learning support structures available. Examples of learning supports could include a tutorial using speaking Vokis, the teacher and teacher aids and technical support staff.


  • Prensky, M. Engage me or Enrage me. What today's Learners Demand.Retrieved 4, July 2009, from the Educause website:

  • Thacker, C. (2007). Podcasts in Education (2007). Retrieved 4, July 2009, from Macinstruct website:

  • Kearsley, G. Shneiderman, B. (1998) Engagement Theory. A Framework for Technology-Based Teaching and Learning. (1998). Retrieved 5, July, 2009, from Sprynet website:
  • Oliver, R. (1999). Using on-line technologies to support problem-based
    learning: Learners’ responses and perceptions. Australian Journal of Educational
    Technology, 15(1), 58-79.

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