Podcasting for Education

I just wanted to capture some possible compelling uses for podcasting in an educational setting.

  • Lectures. Imagine students being able to subscribe to an RSS feed, and have recordings of every lecture automatically stored on their hard drive or iPod or whatnot for review. This would remove the need for the dozens of recorders at the front of a large lecture hall, all getting crappy and redundant audio. Why not produce a single quality feed, and let everyone use it? (on a related note - why not share a single high quality set of notes, rather than making lectures a speed-writing test...)
  • Interviews with external resources - an instructor could interview a scientist, or someone practicing whatever the subject is, and add that recording to the RSS feed for the class - making it available to all students. Something like a Campus iTunes Music Store could do something similar, but everyone would have to go to it and grab the files, rather than have them quasi-pushed out to them.
  • Lots of other things I haven't come up with...

It's the second point I'm hoping to play around with - documenting some of the thinking and developments by some of the folks in the learning technology field - hopefully I'd be able to do something like an ITConversations for educational technology stuff. If it works, and doesn't completely suck, I'd use that as an example for faculty who are interested in the concept. If it doesn't work, or completely sucks, well - that's a valid data point as well... The shared lecture audio is a no brainer, in my mind...

The various bits that make up podcasting have been around forever (digital audio, internet distribution, RSS syndication), but the combination of the three makes for a system that approximates a personalized radio station. Imagine each institution having its own podcast directory, and students (as well as faculty) could select which ones they wanted automatically downloaded for review, in their own "university radio station" aggregation...

And Steve Sloan offers up these ideas:

  • for distance learning
  • to facilitate self-paced learning
  • for re-mediation of slower learners
  • to allow faculty to offer advanced and or highly motivated learners extra content
  • for helping students with reading and/or other disabilities
  • for multi-lingual education
  • to provide the ability for educators to feature guest speakers from remote locations
  • to allow guest speakers the ability to present once to many sections and classes
  • to allow educators to escape the tedium of lecturing
  • to offer a richer learning environment
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