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

28 thoughts on “Podcasting for Education

  1. Hi D’Arcy, before Podcasting there have been other attempts to record and distribute lectures, including so-called ‘star’ lectures from eminent people. A good example is Boxmind and their E-lecture collection including recordings from leading figures in many subject areas. These never took off. Not sure why. One of the issues we constantly wrestle with in our institution is what lectures are for, what works in a lecture and what doesn’t. We’re still wrestling!

  2. David, thanks for the link! I hadn’t heard of Boxmind before. They’ve got quite an impressive collection of lectures. It looks like they are commercial products (and I couldn’t find pricing or a “BUY NOW” button).

    What I’m thinking of is a way for instructors (and students?) to record and share their own resources. To me, the primary benefit of weblogs, wikis, and potentially podcasting, is to democratize the production and distribution of content – to give a voice to the individual rather than having to go through some form of Mass Media Outlet to get/publish content.

    These are some pretty impressive Small Pieces Loosely Joined – and they might be pretty darned compelling if properly combined.

    I agree about the wrestling with lectures, but that goes way beyond just the recording of audio. Most lectures aren’t learning experiences – the prof putting reams of overheads in front of a class is not teaching, and the students madly copying down those overheads aren’t learning – and there would be no value in recording that experience. I’d like to see face-to-face time become more collaborative and interactive, and if that happens, the session recording could become a valuable resource.

  3. Podcasting for Education
    Yup! 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 stor…

  4. I have been thinking a lot of the potential of the medium. I really think there is something here for education!

    In my opinion Podcasting is a great tool:

    • 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

    edupodder.com and have the space available for use. I plan to do some research on the subject and would like to start my own feed.

    ~Steve Sloan

  5. podcasting for education
    :: D’Arcy Norman @ The Learning Commons has an interesting post on “compelling uses for podcasting in an educational setting.” Check it out. In my view, it’s (podcasting for education, ipodder) not a matter of if but when and how.

  6. iPods, podcasting and learning
    A couple of weeks ago I speculated about podcasting breaking out of traditional radio and journalism models to find new applications. Since then, I’ve found that many people are ahead…

  7. Great ideas, D’arcy! I especially like the idea of the recorded lecture notes. There are so many potential uses for podcasting that I’m certain we haven’t even scratched the surface of.

    I’m going to blog about your commentary in my own blog.

  8. The one single thing I would love to see in a podcast format is college lectures. I’m a stay-at-home parent, but it would be such a blessing to be able to eavesdrop on such good stuff. U of M has a bunch of freely-available stuff that I’ve been listening to.

    Some universities may choose to lock up the content, but one of the neat things about the net is the ability for a system to support passive users — I think a U that encouraged lots of content creation would eventually create an interesting platform for distance education. People like me might passively listen for awhile, and then decide they’d like a more formal relationship with the U that results in some sort of credential.

  9. What would you say are some of the cons to podcasting? I’m writing a paper discussing podcasting, and would like to talk about some of the problems associated with podcasting in education.

  10. Tiffany, I suppose a con would be that you have to do it? I mean, if you’re podcasting lectures, well then you have to set up a recording system, process the audio, publish it, etc… That can take time if you don’t have support. Also, where to host the files? If you don’t have a server handy, that could be a problem as well. I guess there could also be a “podcast glut” as a whole bunch of audio content is published – which podcasts should the students listen to? which ones should the teacher/prof? Which ones should be produced by students/teachers?

  11. I was intrigued by the things you were writing here. I am in the Toronto area, and am thinking about many applications for podcasting as well. I would love to have any links or resources you might suggest that would help me to see what is currently being done on campuses in terms of knowledge distribution by podcasting.

  12. Hey, D’Arcy, Just wanted to kick in my couple of pennies, that I’m posting two weekly podcasts, the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach’s “Snacks4theBrain!” and “TechTipTuesday,” both easily discovered by Googling their titles.

    The former was established to support, by publicizing, the Interactive Videoconferencing (IVC) program of the Center, and to share the good work the Center does connecting scientists with students. That’s a tough menu to serve up–real working research scientists and doctors are very very busy; and student schedules in schools all around the world don’t fit neatly into any pre-established schedule. But using IVC to connect these disparate folks is workin’ and workin’ well. Sharing that work with podcasting is reaching new people, largely because the people who are looking into podcasting are doing so in order to listen during commutes, while multi-tasking in less than intensely challenging jobs, and who knows what else.

    Tech Tip Tuesday is my effort to share PC/Windows tips (for teachers) created by my colleagues at University School of Nashville with the world. I have a blast using music from the Podsafe Music Network and original music in both ‘casts.

    I’d like to commend David Warlick’s efforts–I owe him more than I dare admit. His listserv post about lulu.com’s self-publishing services drove me to publish a novel I’d been sitting on for two decades, and his ongoing podcasts at ConnectLearning are things I not only share with my teacher-colleagues but which they actually listen to and comment back to me about!

    Cheers, and good discussion, all around!

    Scott

  13. D’Arcy,

    I enjoy your blog and education revolution that podcasting represents. I’ve been inspired to form Pocket Seminars, a turnkey starting point for companies and educators who want to start and MP3-based training/education program.

    Best wishes,

    Dan Safkow

  14. Anne – we’re going through that debate process (slowly) here at the U of C. We’ve been publically committed to doing podcasting for some courses, but we also need to figure out how it fits with the rest of the tools/strategies available. Pedagogy? Types of uses? What else might be appropriate? etc…

  15. Aloha Everyone,

    There seems to be a lot of institutions and individuals using podcasts to deliver their lectures. There is a small debate at our university regarding podcasting. I am interested to know if anyone else is having similar debates.

    Do you know if anyone has collected data regarding the effectiveness of podcasting in education? Also, has anyone done any assessments or evaluations to see if the students are really learning using podcasting vs. the classroom or on-line instruction?

    It would be interesting to see the data.

    Thanks,
    Anne

  16. The suggestion of 2 hour long lectures seems absurd to me. Personally I believe podcasts should be quick snippets of information or updates that people can listen to whilst on the move. I like the idea of the interviews though.

  17. One of my teachers for a course I’m currently taking is podcasting some of his lessons. It really helps to be able to go back to something and listen for concepts or discussions I may not have completely understood. Organization on the podcaster or instructors part is key though since a lot of (lengthy) podcasts can get messy without a proper index or catalog of what is being discussed.

  18. Podcasts for lectures would be great… I had to chuckle at your comment that “this would remove the need for the dozens of recorders at the front of a large lecture hall, all getting crappy and redundant audio.” Isn’t that the truth. Technology. Ain’t it grand?

Comments are closed.