Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Place for Podcasts in Education!

Podcasts can be utilized and integrated in a variety of ways as a teaching and learning tool. By creating and recording podcasts, students sharpen their research, writing and speaking skills The Podcast Heard Around the World (Jacqueline Heinze, Scholastic Administr@tor, June 2006). According to this article, students deepen their understanding of content,and teachers can hear that students know what they are talking about through their podcasts.

In Podcasting: Just the Basics (Kelly Gatewood, Kappa Delta Pi Record,Winter 2008)four educational purposes of podcasts are discussed. These include curriculum augmentation, professional development, material presentation by both teachers and students, and effective communication with the community and parents.

First,with regards to curriculum augmentation,Podcasts supply a variety of content in audio form. According to Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences, we all have different learning styles and strengths. This technology enables teachers to utilize another instructional tool that allows effective communication with students who positively respond to audio learning. In the classroom, podcasts can be used to introduce new material, support current lessons and review material already covered in classrooms.According to Sound Off! The Possibilities of Podcasting (Gordon, Book Links, September 2007), some teachers have begun to record themselves teaching important concepts which then creates an archive of information online for students to access when they're stuck on a homework assignment.

Second,Podcasts for professional development can be very effective. Podcasts provide conveniency to teachers as they can select what, when and where they learn. If there is a particular professional topic, they can search for relevant podcasts and listen to any applicable ones.They can listen to them at their own convenience, at their desk,or even on the drive home using an iPod. This recent technology tool is now available anytime or anywhere for teachers to use in support of their professional development. Another area of professional development that is of personal interest is utilizing podcasts as an assessment tool. Our school's AISI(Alberta Initiative for School Improvement) focus is on assessment. Teachers could listen to students read passages at various times of the year to assess changes and improvements.

A third educational use for podcasts is information sharing. Teachers can record lectures, lab directions, project overviews and review material and make it available for students to access. Students can then create podcasts to demonstrate their learning and understanding of the content. Podcasts give the opportunity for some students to effectively explain something outloud rather than write it down. The writing process is supported through podcasting. Students write a script, edit it,practice reading it and perform. Students take on a more responsible role in their personal learning through the use of podcasts, either listening or creating with podcasts.

A fourth use for podcasts is to effectively communicate with parents and the school community. Podcasts can provide information about current happenings at the school, homework, announcing special events, and give sport reports. Podcasts provide an effective way of keeping families and the community informed.

These are just a few educational benefits of podcasting. More specific ones will be listed later as well as how to use podcasts in the library.

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