Coleman's expressions

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Podcasts - Week 5

Podcasts (Week 5)
Option#5, select a strategy that is particularly interesting and doing additional research on it, was most intriguing to me.  Podcasts caught my attention immediately!  Though it is not as interactive as some of the other strategies, the fact that iPod (and its counterparts) are so popular and could be used to tap into learning was enough for me to review in more depth.

A podcast is an online audio and/or video broadcast that can be downloaded to your computer and MP3 player.  It differs from a traditional radio broadcast or even web-based streaming media in the way that the content is produced and sent, as well as that its listeners choose when to hear/view the podcast.  With podcasting, one uses RSS (Real Simple Syndication) to subscribe to and aggregate podcasts.  Although the term originated from Apple’s iPod, the format is not limited.  

Podcasts are available at a growing number of sites – usually for free!  I started my podcasting with Juice, the cross-platform podcast receiver (others are iTunes and Doppler). It was easy to install and use.  I immediately subscribed to my local newspaper’s podcasts and the Today’s Show podcasts.  Now, when I come home from school, I can download the news to my iPod and listen to the broadcasts while at the gym walking the treadmill.  Since then I’ve added sites related directly to education and professional development to include:

So why are podcasts important?  With the choice element of “when to listen” also comes the concept of portability, which plays directly into all of our busy, multi-tasking, and mobile lives.  From the educator’s perspective, it also relates directly to our “digital natives” in (and out of) the classroom.  Students are using their MP3 players for entertainment purposes and are very familiar with their basic technology, so podcasts can be an educational match!  There are obvious benefits for the auditory learners and for all learners since podcasts can be repeated.

More specifically, the following ideas have been
  • Recording class lectures (good for those who miss or need to listen again)

  • Developing new supplementary materials

  • Accessing experts through interviews

  • Students can create their own as a log of activities, note-taking, and device for reflecting on their learning

  • Developing oral language skills

  • Student read aloud, summarize and/or critique readings

  • Pronunciation guides for English as a Second Language or foreign language classes

  • Broadcast research project results

  • Record oral histories and digital storytelling

  • Use for fieldtrips

  • Podcasting parent newsletters (especially helpful for Spanish- and Creole-speaking parents who often are left out of the educational experience)

  • How about “podpals” (i.e., penpals through podcasts!)

Downloading podcasts is easy – see reference in the WHAT? section above.  Even if you don’t have an MP3 player, you can still download for play on your computer.  

Creating podcasts is easy, too!  You will need a microphone (USB recommended) for your computer or you can record your “podcast” into the microphone of your MP3 player.  Then you edit it with music background, voice overs, etc with a software program (Audacity is an free open-source program), compress it into MP3 format and upload it to a web server.

If you want to try video podcasts, I would start with Bre Pettis’ site.

I recommend the following websites for further exploration (and from which I developed this posted overview):
Encyclopedia of Educational Technology – easy-to-read summary with other links
Educause – in case you are really SOLD on podcast, download the ones at this site to hear more about podcasts, instead of reading about them!
Podcasting Resources for Educators and Students – some how to’s and recommended podcasts
Edupodder Weblog – This is Steve Sloan’s blog – he includes some interesting website links and a Dec 2005 posting on podcasting family history
Educational Podcasting for Teaching and Learning – a UK site
Boys Literacy Online – this is an action research website exploring the use of the Internet in getting boys motivated to read – click on the Podcasts link
Jakesonline – scroll down for the PDF of 7 Things You Should Know about Podcasting.
Learn Out Loud Podcast Directory – there are some that could be content-oriented for your classes
Podcast Alley – Lots of variety in the education category from “Discovery Science” to “Verb Cast” – one I noted was Audiobooks with Annie (she reads classics – currently reading Pride and Prejudice)
The Podcast Directory – I found some Spanish lessons here
Podcast Net – Again a multitude of education-related sites from “Astronomy” to “German Poems”
Education Podcast Network – David Warlick’s site


  • Hey, Thanks for the nice link! You've got a great list here! -Bre Pettis

    By Blogger Magic Monkey Bob, at 2/05/2006 8:34 PM  

  • Marie - Looks like you have done some great research. There are some sites where you can record your podcast over the phone. This has a lot of potential in our age of cell phones!! You may want to check it out -KD :)

    By Blogger Kara Dawson, at 2/06/2006 6:00 AM  

  • Thanks for helping me do my job :-). I'm adding many of your links to AOL@SCHOOL as we have very little information on podcasts in our search engine database. My wheels are spinning now and perhaps we should feature some of these gems you found in one of our upcoming promos... wheels still turning... taking this class and reading everyone's recommended sites makes me think I should make this a monthly feature - some type of integrating technology tip every month. Stay tuned as I'll probably launch this new feature this week!

    By Blogger Ginger Lindberg, at 2/06/2006 10:11 PM  

  • Marie,

    This is great information. I actually know very little about podcasts. Your description was very informative & easy to follow. I immediately started thinking of how podcasts might be incorporated into a Foreign Language classroom. The next thing I knew there were some examples in your Why section. This could be a great way for Foreign Language students to expose themselves to the language!


    By Blogger kim hanson, at 2/07/2006 11:28 AM  

  • Hi Marie,
    I really think your ideas on how to use podcasts for educational purposes are great. For example, recording lectures so that they can be played through the MP3 player sounds like an inventive and great way to get people to listen! I also like how you suggest podcasting parent newsletters. You definitely did a lot of research on podcasts, and although I have yet to utilize any, I plan to download some to my IPOD tonight! Thanks for the ideas and insight into web-based instructional strategies.

    By Blogger Rachel Niskar, at 2/07/2006 1:20 PM  

  • I also chose option 5 - Podcasting! I had never really thought about using it in my classroom until this class. I enjoyed reading your Blog about podcasting. You had excellent links full of information. I did not talk about the lessons already on a podcast. I am going to look through them. I am very interested in this because I do believe it is something that my students will want to do and will enhance their knowledge.
    In March I am going to Vietnam for 16 days to see the country. I have decided that I am going make a travel diary on my Ipod. I may put it on the web. I will see how it turns out. This will be my first time experimenting with making a podcast.

    By Blogger Jen, at 2/10/2006 7:17 AM  

  • Marie-

    You have some great links and information here! I also choose to do option number 5 on podcasting and found out some neat things as well. I like your list of podcasting classroom activities. I am involved in a research project with pen-pals right now and your podpals idea is great!


    By Blogger Becky, at 2/12/2006 11:50 AM  

  • Marie-
    This is a reat resource. I especially like the possibilities for recorded lectures. I think students can really benefit from this, especially when we think in terms of students with variuos learning dissabilities or language barriers that prevent them from getting the information during regular class time. I am interested in learning more, thanks for the input.

    By Blogger Joel Pickering, at 2/12/2006 2:02 PM  

  • I am amazed that a person of my generation not only knows how to use an iPod but can instruct others on uses beside playing your favorite tunes. I'm reminded of a scene from the "Kung Fu" TV series (mid to late 70's as I recall) where the young disciple asks his blind teacher after he has imparted some great wisdom..."old man, how is it that you can see these things?" To which the teacher replies..."young man, how is it that you cannot?!" Thank you! I find myself inspired even moreso to add to my expanding knowledge of technology. And to think, I have purposely avoided learning about these things for fear of having to buy one for the kids! Heck, I feel like I need one now, myself! Keep up the good work.

    By Blogger James Harris, at 2/12/2006 3:05 PM  

  • Thanks Marie for the suggestion of doing a podcast or videoblog on my St. Augustine fieldtrip. I enjoyed reading about the podcast from your blog for last week, and definitely plan on trying to learn more about it. I've always taken pictures when we go, and make a big poster out of them, but now that all seems a little outdated. After taking this class, my eyes have been opened to all the endless possibilities regarding technology. I'm looking forward to my trip, and to integrating your suggestions. Thanks again.

    By Blogger peggy sommers, at 2/18/2006 7:16 AM  

  • Marie,

    I was looking at your blog again and noticed the Podcasting information. Thank you for creating such a comprehensive overview and providing resources to help me understand this tool better. Our school is offering training in podcasting and is planning on developing a blog site featuring podcasts. I will share your blog with our technology coordinator (she has invited me to participate in this training so I am going to check out your links). Thank you!

    Nancy (from your EME 5207 class)

    By Blogger Nancy, at 3/19/2006 11:20 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home