Internet nowadays is intensively used for communication, information sharing, information gathering, and research, entertain oneself etc. Today’s youth practically lives in the “Social Networks” on internet than any other place. With increasing demand and development publishing, content has become easier and convenient for individuals.
Podcasting is a special way of distributing audio and video content over internet. It is basically a RSS feed i.e. a computer readable summary of the content of a webpage based on XML. The question now is how can podcasting be efficiently and effectively used in education?
For Education purposes, students need more than an audio or video file. However, Including PowerPoint slides in podcast may add value. Other files can also be attached to a podcast using <enclosure> tag. Educators may also like to consider publishing enhanced podcasts. They are smaller in size and are delivered using MPEG4 or WMF files. Podcasts are meant for mobile learning and hence should be designed keeping this fact in mind.
Open and widely accepted formats of sharing information helps students to easily access content on podcast. If you have an enhanced podcast, which is not supported by all devices, one may consider offering a MP3 version as this format is universally accepted. Podcasting should come as an asset to the students. This can be really helpful for students as they have easy access to information, they can analyse and learn at their own pace and time. It can be used as a great learning, test preparation and revision toll before examination.
While creating such learning materials some part of them should be kept recyclable. Hence, during the editing and production process one should keep in mind parts of podcast that could be used later. One should never underestimate the amount of work required in producing a podcast. The pre-production process, recording and the post-production and publishing time may altogether take up a day or more depending on the content being created or converted for each podcast. But it is worth the effort.
Some key pointers to achieve better student participation may include keeping the content less formal with high redundancy, the students should be addressed directly, it should revise lecture content as well as include new material, fun content such as music can be considered to be included in the podcast (keeping legal issues on copywriter in mind) and lastly, it shouldn’t last too long. An optimum length for a podcast may be from 30-40 minutes.
This informal way of delivering course content is convenient, encouraging and motivating. One should consider using it as an integral part of a course as students can gain as much as they want from it. It can turn out to be a real asset for any programme.