Friday, November 10, 2006

Podcasting in Education

Podcasts can be used as an effective educational tool for teaching and learning. The University Libraries assist faculty and staff with their needs through its offerings of minicourses on creating podcasts.

The term podcasting is a combination of two words, iPod and broadcasting.  Contrary to popular belief, students need not own an iPod to listen to pod casts. This is because podcasts are audio MP3 files, and anyone who has an MP3 player on their PC, Mac, or any mobile MP3 device can listen to podcasts. 

Podcasting was developed out of the idea and success of radio shows and has grown in popularity with the availability of MP3 players along with the increased use of the Internet. The term podcast, like radio, can mean both the content and the method of delivery. Unlike radio, however, podcasts use the subscription model using a podcatcher. A podcatcher is software that allows you to subscribe to your favorite podcasts using an RSS feed. Similar to subscribing to a magazine and having it delivered regularly to read at a convenient time, one subscribes to desired podcasts through aggregators or feed readers such as iTunes. New content is delivered or “fed” automatically to the user’s computer so that the
person can then listen at his/her convenience.

Podcasts, blogs, and other content delivery methods, such as Blackboard, can be used to supplement classroom instruction and provide students with easy access to course materials. Whether it is to prepare for a class ahead of time or to review materials after class, podcasts can be helpful tools for student success.
The University Libraries’ Technology Training Support Services unit offers courses to introduce faculty to podcasting and other instructional technologies.


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