Podcasting was coined in 2004* and is a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’. Ben Hammersley in The Guardian on February 12 , 2004 , (&quot;...all the ingredients are there for a new boom in amateur radio. But what to call it? Audioblogging? Podcasting? GuerillaMedia?&quot;). What does podcasting mean? According the N ew Oxford American Dictionary , declared &quot;podcasting&quot; the 2005 word of the year, define the term as &quot;a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player&quot; In our context this means that podcasting is a method for tutors to record their lectures and publish them online and so make them available to students with internet access. However the term is misleading as you do not need an iPod. The iPod, which is a digital audio player produced by Apple, was the best selling player when podcasting first began. Now there are many other players but the term ‘podcasting’ has remained. But in fact – you DON’T need an MP3 player. The files can be played on laptops, desktops, cell phones (create CD/DVD).
The concept is not new - streaming and downloaded audio are old as the web itself, RSS is several years old. So the technology is not new but it is MORE accessible What is new is that it is now very easy to create, publish to site and subscribe and listen to over different situations – computer speakers, home, headphones, car speakers while student exercises, driving etc. when they want, how they want and where they want. In our context the creation & publishing is by staff, whereas subscribing and listening - student All part of the blogging environment, i.e. now very easy to produce audio content and distribute to students via the internet.
Staff record audio using a digital voice recorder. Uses MP3 format which is de facto standard internet audio format. The recorder produces a file which can be loaded on to the workstation. You then go to the module in question (on StudyNet) and upload the file similar in the way you would attach an email file. More of this later. Note – the longer you talk the larger the file size. Currently, as of 2006, StudyNet has an upper file load limit of 16MB. This means that any file above this limit will be rejected. That said it is possible to produce a hours worth of lecture on a file size under 16MB. Particularly if you use the lowest quality setting. Try experimenting. That’s all I really want to say right now about recording and uploading the podcast – I’ll come back to it in more detail later. So you upload the file to StudyNet and then it is ready to be downloaded by the student. Student subscribes to the podcast, using ‘podcatcher’ software, and downloads the latest audio recordings on to their MP3 player. They can listen to the file there and then or later. And this is where the real power of podcasting comes in to play. The podcatcher allows the student to subscribe to favourite podcasts (similar to web browser favourites) which downloads at a time of user choosing, sometimes overnight so that when the student is awake they can listen to latest lecture/ preparation – either listen on their desktop or transfer to Player and listen on the move. Podcatcher software will automatically download new podcasts WHEN they become avail. And it does this when the student loads up iTunes or attaches their MP3 Player to the workstation, iTunes is loaded and begins to automatically check the subscriptions. AND regularly checks for new content. So Subscription AND mobility is key here. The podcatcher thru subscription gathers all new audio. So imagine student subscribes to several module websites, pathwaypoint groups and programmes and thru night they are all auto and downloaded. Compare to a paper source downloaded – you can read on the bus, but not in the car, you could try read while walking but not advise to whereas podcasting u can do this – even while exercising. And also non podcasted audio, flash files and narrated powerpoint while valuable in themselves, do tie the student down the computer. But the student doesn’t need iTunes/ MP3 player. The workstation is fine, in other words they can use Window Media Player or Real player to play the files, (it’s just that these players do not have subscription and auto checking new content facilities). Podcatcher software include iTunes (free and cross platform), Odeo and Juice, (links at the end of this presentation).
While it is worth noting that the benefits also apply to audio recording in general, in which the recording is provided as a downloadable file or streamed feed to the student, podcasting possesses additional advantages which facilitate learning on the move or mobile learning. In terms of the actual technology It’s cheap and easy to create Cheap both in terms of time and money. Digital voice recorders are relatively inexpensive while editing and listening software tends to be free. Learning how to record in basic terms takes very little time investment. All you have to do is operate the voice recorder. The whole podcasting process can be broken down into the following steps: recording, editing, uploading and listening. Recording A digital voice recorder which retail from £20 to £99, as of 2006 decent one £50. The Blended Learning unit has a loan stock available. Editing To be honest in terms of recording your lectures and making them available, editing is an optional feature. Nevertheless editing tools can be used to break the recording into smaller, content specific segments. They can also be used by students to construct their own podcasts, for example to embed sound effects. You can then use an editing tool to create a single podcast from those created by the students together with additional recordings made by yourself. Audacity is a free editing facility available at audacity.sourceforge.net/ Uploading – Fast and simple. After recording you have upload or publish the file to a website which supports podcasting. In the context of the University of Hertfordshire this service is already provided through StudyNet the managed learning environment. Details on how to publish audio to StudyNet are covered later. And this is a key thing. Podcasting not only involves recording the audio but publishing it in such a way that students can subscibe to it. If you not do the last step then the advantages associated with mobile learning are lost Listening Podcatcher software is not only cheap but tends to be free. iTunes is an example and currently is the most popular. iTunes can be downloaded free of charge and works on PCs as well as Macs, (www.apple.com/itunes). However it is worth noting that the user does NOT have to have podcatcher software in order to listen to audio files. They can use other media players such as Windows Media Player. However the advantage of podcatcher software is that the user can subscribe to various websites and automatically receive new files as and when they become available, whereas Windows Media Player relies on the user manually checking the websites for new content. Training is minimal – media savvy NOT essential In terms of staff and students producing their own podcasts, (the latter say as part of a class project – more on this later), very little training is required. Leaver in his eLearning Blog observes that unlike producing video projects the user does not have to be media savvy, (Leaver, 2006). As mentioned earlier a simple recording is easy to produce. In terms of producing audio workshops or presentations audio editing programs such as Audacity make the process easy and pain free. In other words staff/student production of podcast presentations can occur in courses other than computer science.
Allows students to relax and concentrate on the material Knowing that the lecture is being recorded allows the students to relax and concentrate on and engage with the content as it is delivered rather than writing it all down for later examination. This helps to make the lecture a little less vicarious by providing the student with the opportunity to react to and think about what is said while knowing that a record will be provided through podcasting. Detailed note taking can occur at a later occasion. Taking this further, podcasting also encourages no frills and no distraction communication. Presentations using PowerPoint or Flash animation can have so many effects as to distract from the main goal of the exercise whereas podcasting through its simplicity avoids this. Again we are talking about effective instruction in which students are able to concentrate on the content rather than being distracted by the mode of delivery. Captures the lecturer’s enthusiasm One of the key, and most powerful, elements of the podcast is the voice. The podcast captures the ’explaining voice’ which not only attracts the attention of the listener but, through intonation, pacing and calculated pauses, actively aids their comprehension of the topic. So, as opposed to printed text or written notes, the podcast is able to convey the learning environment of the lecture. Furthermore, as well as providing a record of the event, the podcast stores and communicates to the listener the lecturers’ enthusiasm for the subject. An intimate one-to-one feeling is encouraged such that, irrespective of how large the class is, the tutor is brought closer to and is able to bond with the individual student. It is worth mentioning Dan Pink’s observation in which he likens the experience of podcasting to storytelling, something for which human beings are innately ‘hardwired’. He qualifies his judgement by noting that we are bombarded by digital stories every day, (for more information check out www.danpink.com ). Facilitates critiquing and self-critiquing in private Audio recordings of lectures or staff-led events allows the tutor to listen to themselves and check the accuracy of what was said. They can determine if the content was too detailed or not enough and if the explanations were precise enough. From the student perspective they can check the performance of their fellow classmates during class or group presentations. Essentially they can go back and see what the other students did right or where they went wrong in their work. As with staff, on a more private level, the student can listen to themselves. They can check and see if what they said was correct. This has a particular application with regards to language learning for which the student can practice in private, avoiding their peers, and still review their performance by playing back the recording. Such exercises, for both staff and student, helps them become aware of and gain skills in communication, specifically intonation, tone, speed of delivery and expression or lack of. Provides an accurate record of peer group activity As with seminars and class discussions it is difficult to summarise a group meeting during the actual event. The end result is that material or points made are lost or lack detail, task assignments are missed or misinterpreted and roles specified may be unclear. Audio recording provides a reviewable resource. The meeting can be recorded and podcasted as a summary or meeting minutes to the group members. Podcasts are ‘cultural artefacts’ Podcasts by their very nature are archived views of topics or events. Over time the podcast becomes a ‘cultural artefact’ (Tama Leaver) in which an individual or group commentary for a particular topic is transformed into an oral history record to which others can look back on and reflect in light of current issues and topics. In other words time and change in culture provide additional value to that intrinsic to the original broadcast.
Learning on the move, aka mobile learning, aka m-learning Podcasting, in one sense enjoys a greater benefit over audio streaming (and reading from the computer screen) as the student does not have to sit in front of the computer. Wherever they can take their player, they can take the audio file and LEARN, (Hansen, 2006). So lectures can be reviewed or prepared for while travelling on the train, or by car or bus. But also while exercising, performing household chores and multi-tasking in general in which their full attention is not required on the task at hand. So we have learning on the move - mobile learning or m-learning . And this is a key advantage podcasting has over audio streaming. Learning does not have to take place at a fixed location. Another way of looking at this is that the tutor is able to deliver information directly to wherever the student ‘lives’ in the digital world. The result? Students can make use of the ‘dead time’ during the week, in which time spent waiting for a bus or travelling on the train becomes an opportunity for further development.
Reaches into ‘digital lives’ Podcasting is based around technology which has embedded itself within youth culture. Typically podcatcher software is used to purchase and download music, and also to subscribe and listen to radio shows and newsfeeds. As such students are familiar with the technology and this makes it accessible as a mode of delivery. And so, since the same software can be used to subscribe to teaching and learning podcasts, the technology enables education to be widened in a non threatening way, (Educause, 2005). Bridges the gap between expert and learner Since course podcasts naturally sit alongside other podcasts the student has subscribed to, podcasting effectively mixes education with the student’s daily life outside of the institution In doing so the tutor’s reach has extended beyond the classroom, bridging the gap between staff and student. The tutor is more accessible.
Recovery of missed lectures and missed lecture content Students can be absent from a lecture for a number of reasons including: illness; part time job / personal or placement commitments and starting late in the course. If the attendance is voluntary, say for example for research methodologies or induction modules, absenteeism is likely particularly for those students with a packed curriculum. Obviously students do attend lectures during which they can participate, listen and take notes. However, even with the best intentions the student can miss content due to interruption, bad acoustics and poor lecturing technique. Podcasting audio recordings of the lecture provides them with the opportunity to catch up and recover missed content at a time of their choosing . It can be argued that providing audio files as a straightforward downloadable resource or through streaming can achieve the same effect and, indeed there are benefits. But remember podcasting, through delivery to portable players, is about enabling students to learn at a place and time of their choosing. And, as more lectures are added the student is updated automatically through the podcatcher software. The key word is automatically. In other words the files, and hence course content, comes to the student rather than they having to search for them. So, in terms of engaging with course content, being at lecture may no longer have to be a case of being at the right place at the right time but rather now simply a case of downloading the file. Helps to prepare, review and reflect (and reinforce) Preparation . By listening to a podcast of relevant course material students can prepare emotionally, say for a presentation or intellectually, for a seminar. Through listening on their player can do this right up until the last minute before the event. Again we are talking of utilising dead time. Review . Even if concentrating hard it is possible for a student to mishear and critically misinterpret course content – they may think they understand the content when in reality the reverse is true. Or quite simply even with the best intentions they can fail to understand a difficult concept or definition. However audio files allows the student to review the content over and over. In other words, if confused, they can hear the tutors explanation again outside the lecture and as many times wish until their understanding is perfect. Furthermore the material is recovered at their own pace as opposed to the tutor or the speed of their fellow classmates. In this manner teaching is rather more on the individualised scale. Reflection leading to Reinforcement . Audio files allow the student to replay learning events and through reflecting on their content reinforce their understanding. This particularly applies to difficult subjects which involve complex, and yet fundamental, concepts. Obviously this can be achieved through streamed audio files as well as podcasting. However podcasting provides an additional benefit by allowing the student to reinforce their understanding of the podcast content whilst on the move, for example after attending an event or while travelling to a presentation,
And the challenges are? Attendance may fall One of the more commonly perceived and feared effects of the podcasting revolution is that of falling attendance in lectures, in which students are able to ignore their studies without reprimand. A review carried out in 2006 by Duke University, one of the heavier users of podcasting, (Duke Digital Initiative, http://www.duke.edu/ddi/) actually found this not to be the case but rather that attendance was maintained with the podcasts being used as a review tool and as such, in their view, the students used it as an enhancement to the lecture experience. If attendance fell alongside a decrease on course grades then this would certainly be an issue. But what if the lecture turnout decreased while academic standards were still maintained? Evidently the students are still engaged in learning course content but through other means. So is this an issue? Well the answers is ‘yes’. Many subjects carry a social element which is integral to the whole learning experience. In other words, as well as learning theory students are also expected to develop life long skills in communication, team work and criticism. None of these can be achieved if the module becomes essentially a digital repository of information which the student can tap into at home, isolated from the social elements of the course. And the solution? The answer lies building the social elements into the traditional lecture time through using group work, seminars, Q and A sessions and debates. Essentially blending the podcasting experience with face-to-face exercises. Consequently since the students are more involved they are provided with an additional stimulus to attend. It is worth remembering if your style of lecturing is that of reading to PowerPoint slides and you replicate this experience on the podcast – then why should the student turn up when they can listen at home? We are all amateurs, not experts The benefits of students producing their own podcasts based on course content have been documented. However it is worth remembering that students are not experts in the course content. Moderation and where necessary injection by the tutor may be required to prevent incorrect representation of facts, omission of key principles and disproportionate concentration on some issues at the expense of others. Furthermore in terms of producing broadcast quality podcasts both the tutor and student are ‘sound’ amateurs. There are software add-on tools which can help professionalize the presentation through editing, insertion or pauses and sound effects etc. However inexperienced users need to exercise intelligent judgement and refrain from 'over egging the cake' through adding too many special effects. Students may be additionally unprepared when it comes to producing quality interviews or recording their own voice for public consumption. The quality of the speakers voice, speech pattern and intonation are all factors which need to be considered (Educause, 2005). The learner cannot control pacing Although you can pause a podcast at any given point, and revisit content, you cannot control the pace of the presentation. In other words you cannot force the tutor to slow down or to cover more ground. Similarly, unlike printed notes, the user cannot skim the content. In other words it is difficult to determine the overall content of the talk unless you listen to it from start to finish. And the solution? That said podcasting in terms of the underlying and supporting technology and software is ever changing. New standards continually emerge and, as of 2006, iTunes are experimenting with chapter encoding. This will allow the tutor to insert chapter points into the podcast, making parts of the lecture more accessible, and so allowing the student to move to the specific areas of the broadcast. Another solution would be to provide show notes which summarise and provide a context to the content of the podcast or, if presented as part of a blog entry, a brief text summary.
Not designed for 2 way interaction Although the podcasting experience can bring the student and tutor closer together it not a 2-way interaction. The student cannot request greater or lesser detail and neither can they ask for revision material or expansion into related areas. In terms of Diana Laurillard Conversational Framework in which learning takes place as a consequence of a dialogue between expert and leaner (Laurillard, 1993) only the tutor's conception of the topic is represented in the experience, the student's view, and hence their comprehension, is absent. In simple terms questions, either of the tutor or the student, cannot be asked and, crucially, feedback received on the answer received cannot be given. Encourages shallow learning We have all been in situations where we essentially speed read text with the intention of returning to the content at a later date for a more comprehensive examination. In podcasting terms an equivalent experience is where you only half listen to what is being said. One of the advantages of listening on the move is that it allows you to engage in other activity. However the ‘other activity’ can equally add as a distraction. Suffice to say this can load to shallow learning. Another related aspect is the frequency or manner in which the podcasts are made available. Providing podcasts on a regular weekly basis is certainly a good idea for those students who wish to keep up with the course content, however it also provides students with the opportunity of listening to them at the very last minute, say prior to exams, and hence once again engage in a shallower learning experience.
The Blended Learning Unit was created as a CETL through HEFCE funding in 2005.
Very much a hands-on workshop. Where staff are guided through the stages of creating and uploading podcasts there and then.
Very much a hands-on workshop. Where staff are guided through the stages of creating and uploading podcasts there and then.
How can I use this? Podcasts are not replacements for lectures and neither are not repeats. As the following section will show podcasts are extensions of the lecture. Although podcasting is used for a variety of contexts it can be grouped into 3 categories based on who authored the podcast: staff; student and institution. Staff podcasting Staff can use podcasting for the following: Record lectures One of the more common uses for podcasting is to record the lecture as it happens and then make the audio file available afterwards. Although briefly touched on in the previous section this helps the student to review the lecture and reinforce their understanding and for those who where were absent or experienced difficulty engaging with complex content they can step into the role of teaching themselves. Pre-record material for student preparation Pre-recording content helps the students to prepare for a forthcoming module. One example is provided by Gardner who provided his students with podcast on poetry readings together with his interpretations during the summer prior to their course starting. This occurred on an almost daily basis in which podcasts of between 5 to 8 minutes were released. Throughout the summer the students were able to build up collection and look ahead and prepare for course content and assignments.
Provide regular course summaries aka a ‘Radio show’ An alternative to recording a complete lecture session is to provide weekly summaries of the concepts covered. A context as to how the student can use their knowledge could be established through providing a commentary on related topical issues and interviewing visiting lecturers, potential employers and guest experts. Tips, hints and frequently asked questions can also be addressed. Students again can add to the direction of the learning through supplying their own questions and comments via email or even through supplying their own podcasts for inclusion. So the format could be similar to that of a radio show in which the aim is to sustain student motivation and encourage active involvement. Add social elements to classroom instruction, such as discussion Pre-recording the also frees the traditional classroom contact time to include social elements such as group discussion, debate or seminar activity. A pre-recorded podcast can also include PowerPoint slides, and hence akin to narrated PowerPoint, together with notes, image, weblinks and video if required. Students will listen to the podcast with the intention of not only understanding the material but also to prepare for the forthcoming debate. The depth of discussion around the materials introduced in the podcasts will be deeper as the student will be able to direct the discussion by their contributions. And, again, you could also record the discussion. So whereas the previous section considered pre-recording content in an advance of a module running this context relates to pre-recording immediately prior to a specific lecture. Create Field guides For example an audio tour of places of interest, architectural, geological or historical. Together with images these can provide a powerful resource particularly if students add their own recordings. One example is that of ‘guerrilla’ guides in which tutors have been making their own virtual tours through galleries and museums. Mainly this is a stateside phenomenon but has gained attention such that museums are now producing their own podcasted tours in which they discuss exhibits together with comments or interviews with relevant staff.
Record ‘Q and A’ and tutorial sessions A reversal of pre-recording lecture content is to record a question and answer session. Obviously this could be recorded live with everyone present but you can also have students submit their questions, via email, for you to respond to. This could be done on a regular basis and, where possible, include guest experts to answer questions submitted by student during the previous week. Another approach is to sit with a student and record a question and answer session for particular chapters and tutorials. As a tutor you could question the student on key points while in turn the student could ask you to explain and expand on more complicated concepts. This has been so successful that fellow students are now emailing the student with additional questions to ask. Interview experts & guest lecturers Briefly touched on already another idea is to interview visiting experts, potential employers, guest speakers either at the institution or elsewhere, say for example during a conference or a placement visit. The key issue is that the students are able to listen to the expertise of people who have no direct contact with them. This is done to great effect in the States in which interviews are likened to a radio show panel. Prior to the session students could submit their questions via email which can either be asked during the interviews or during a follow up session.
The reverse side of the coin : student podcasting Student generated podcasts, as part of their educational experience, is a fast growing phenomenon. And is often missed by many promoters of educational podcasting (there is tendency for many to concentrate on the ‘staff teaching the student’ angle and not consider the reverse). So student generated podcasts, as part of their educational experience, is a fast growing phenomenon. This is particularly evident within the K12 sector in the States and, as of 2006, is beginning to feature in UK primary and secondary education. As shining example are the student-produced podcasts at Musselburgh Grammar School, Scotland, (www.mgsonline.org.uk). The podcasts are mainly in a radio show type format in which the students have news, interviews and commentaries involving each other and staff and visiters and other schools It has already been suggested that podcasts created by students enables their view to be brought into the teaching and learning experience. There are other benefits including: Increases writing and presentation skills A further benefit is that the student becomes confident and gains experience in creating and presenting materials for public consumption. Leaver (2006). Creating podcast content is an iterative, and if involving a team of students collaborative process. As such it involves recording and re-recording through which the student is able to review and practice and, in so doing, improve their vocabulary, refine their presentation skills and gain more confidence in public speaking. Furthermore when used in conjunction with blogs podcasting provides the student with practical experience in creative writing, editing, summarising and presenting content. Encourages creativity It can be argued that courses today through being dominated by assessment and high stakes testing, stifle creativity. However, podcasting, as with blogging, can be an outlet for creativity, expressing ideas, sharing perceptions and showing off . Free software tools, such as Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net) provide editing tools allowing students to break the presentation into chunks and to remove and refine content. Sound effects and background music can also be added creating a ‘show-like’ quality. In a sense the students are able to ‘think out of the box’ as they give more thought as to how they present specific topics or objectives. Essentially they undergo a process similar to that of the tutor. And once gain it is worth reiterating the remark made by Dan Pink in which podcasting is akin to storytelling and as such a practice to which many are naturally inclined)
Student podcasting As with staff, students can create their own audio recordings, not only of the lectures they attend but also: seminars; tutorials and group work, (with the latter acting as a record of minutes). They can also create their own audio notes and when in the field or during placement they can create field notes and record interviews with experts. It is important to note however that the above relates to producing an audio file and does not necessarily describe podcasting. In other words if the students fails to make the recording available to others then podcasting is not taking place. That said the obvious benefits associated with audio recordings are still relevant and it must be noted that the proliferation of recording lectures and the like is a direct result of podcasting driving technology forward to make more the act more accessible. Producing oral essays As with a poster or essay project students can use technology to create oral essays. Typically this involves the student interviewing experts (and each other), including archive audio, readings, commentaries and producing images and videos. Furthermore tools such as Audacity allow the student to edit content, add sound effects and insert music at appropriate points, e.g. to accompany readings. The student can then pull in the above elements to create their own interpretation and then submit the file to the tutor. The tutor can then either podcast the submitted file to the rest of the class or include it together with the rest of the class submissions as part of a single podcast, limiting the student submission to 10 minutes in length makes the latter easy. For a great example on student authored podcasts check out Musselburgh Grammar School, It is worth noting that this kind of activity in which groups of students engage in creating oral broadcast is on an increasing rise in schools. As such these students will not only enter Higher Education equipped with the necessary skills they will also have an expectation of being able to use those skills as part of their education. Self critiquing Similar to staff using the podcast as a record of activity in which they can review the quality of their performance, the student can do the same. This is particularly prevalent within foreign language studies for which the students can record their effort and then listen in private and judge their progress. Additionally they can also send copies to tutor for their assessment. In this manner it is easy for the tutor to judge the whole class. Record group work and project meetings Toughed on briefly this is worth outlining in more detail. Audio recording of group activity provides a record of who has been assigned what and whether everything was made clear. Additional uses include using podcasting for organising agendas, providing oral summaries of meetings and for raising further issues and questions. As ever these such benefits are obviously attendant to audio recoding, however it is worth reinstating that podcasting can be used to readily distribute the recorded content and hence the associated benefits. Inclusion as part of e-portfolios Student created podcasts are archived activity and can be used as items in e-portfolios as evidence of outcomes achieved or products developed. A good example of podcasts produced by students for students which include music, readings, interviews, school new etc. Rather than a single show this is an example of where students have gone out in the field and have recorded the content and then used editing software (Audacity) to create one single podcast.
Institution authored podcasts Institutional promotion This can include campus and local community guides featuring student and staff interviews on what it is like to work and study here. Regular podcasts would concentrate on campus activity, community events and student life. This helps promote the university and it’s location to both domestic and foreign students. As ever this is already happening in the States in which the podcasts form an integral part of the university social activity. Student Support Student support is another area in which regular podcasts can include news, medical alerts and religious support. One US university sends every successful student applicant a podcasts in which the College Dean welcomes them to the university. This is a nice personal touch. The podcasts also includes messages from the students future department head and tutors associated with the modules. Additional content is also provided including students support messages particularly university rules, hints and tips, advice of renting accommodation etc. Linking the institution to the community and beyond Profcasting involves tutors, sometime guest lecturers creating podcasts in which they talk about their field of interest. This is available free to the local community and hence abroad with the intention that seeds of interest are sown but without the loss of intellectual content. Particular empathise is sometimes paid towards local schools for which tutors may broadcast content related to the students current studies and of how it links to future study in the university. The idea is to smooth the transition from moving from school environment to that of higher education.
Podcasting at uh presentation - Alan Hilliard - Chester 08 event
Podcasting at the University of Hertfordshire Alan Hilliard [email_address]
Presentation Outline <ul><li>Background to Podcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Staff Development Workshops </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blended Learning Unit </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How might podcasts be used? </li></ul>
What is Podcasting? <ul><li>Podcasting : iPod (MP3 player) and Broadcasting </li></ul><ul><li>What does it mean? </li></ul><ul><li>“ a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player“, New Oxford American Dictionary </li></ul><ul><li>BUT… </li></ul><ul><li>But you DON’T need an iPod </li></ul><ul><li>In fact – you DON’T need an MP3 player </li></ul>
The technology is NOT new <ul><li>… but is MORE accessible. Easy to… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Create </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Publish (i.e. upload to a website) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscribe and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listen (on MP3 players) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>at home, driving, exercising, waiting for buses – the ‘Dead time’. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile learning: when they want, how they want and where they want. </li></ul>
How does it work? <ul><li>Staff </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Record using digital voice recorder (MP3 format) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upload (‘publish’) to MLE (StudyNet) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student </li></ul><ul><ul><li>subscribes to the podcast (usually iTunes) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>downloads the latest recording to their MP3 player </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>AND regularly checks for new content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But don’t need iTunes/ MP3 player… </li></ul><ul><li>… the workstation is fine </li></ul>
What are the benefits? <ul><li>Cheap and easy to create </li></ul><ul><li>Recording: digital voice recorder (£50) </li></ul><ul><li>Editing : optional & free (Audacity) </li></ul><ul><li>Uploading : fast & simple (StudyNet) </li></ul><ul><li>Listening : free software available (iTunes) </li></ul><ul><li>Minimal Training: media savvy NOT essential </li></ul>
More benefits <ul><li>Relax & concentrate on the material (students) </li></ul><ul><li>Captures the lecturer’s enthusiasm </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitates critiquing and self-critiquing in private (staff & student) </li></ul><ul><li>Provides an accurate record of peer group activity </li></ul><ul><li>Act as ‘cultural artefacts’ </li></ul>
Learning on the move <ul><li>NOT fixed – NOT sitting in front of the computer </li></ul><ul><li>Where the player goes… so does the learning </li></ul><ul><li>Review & prepare while: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Travelling (car, bus train etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exercising & Household chores(!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sitting in favourite armchair </li></ul></ul><ul><li>aka mobile learning, aka m-learning </li></ul>
Reaches into ‘digital lives’ <ul><li>Technology already part of “Youth culture” </li></ul><ul><li>iTunes (buy music, subscribe to radio, news) </li></ul><ul><li>Familiarity – non threatening - widen education </li></ul><ul><li>Bridges the gap between expert & learner </li></ul><ul><li>Sits alongside other podcasts… </li></ul><ul><li>… mixes education with the student’s daily life… </li></ul><ul><li>… extends beyond the classroom. </li></ul>
Recover & Understand <ul><li>Recovery of missed lectures & missed lecture content </li></ul><ul><li>Helps to prepare, review & reflect (reinforce) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepare (using dead time) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review (difficult concepts) again & reinforce understanding </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Applies to any audio file BUT… </li></ul><ul><li>… podcasting = ‘on the move’ </li></ul>
Challenges <ul><li>Attendance may fall </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceived, not reported (Duke Uni) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(solve: add social elements to lecture) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>We are all amateurs - not experts </li></ul><ul><ul><li>content (student) & quality (‘speakers voice’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(solve: don’t lecture, be conversational) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The learner cannot control pacing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficult to skim & often listen in 1 go </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(solve: add show notes + chapter points) </li></ul></ul>
Challenges <ul><li>Not designed for 2 way interaction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brings tutor & student closer BUT… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student cannot ask for details or revision or expand into related areas </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(may) encourage shallow learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skim reading = half listen (esp. while ‘on the move’) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listen at the last minute </li></ul></ul>
Staff development Workshops A brief background to the Blended Learning Unit <ul><li>The Blended Learning Unit (BLU) CETL aims to promote, develop and evaluate educational provision where high quality e-learning opportunities and excellent campus-based learning are combined or blended in coherent, reflective and innovative ways so that learning is enhanced and choice is increased. We aim to “harness technology to enhance learning, teaching and assessment”. Specific objectives are: to develop educational resources; to evaluate the impact of change; to foster internal & external collaboration and dissemination; to ensure that successful initiatives continue. </li></ul>
Structure of Workshops <ul><li>Introduction and background to podcasting </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitated groupwork on the benefits and challenges – Which is captured using DVRs to create MP3 files. </li></ul><ul><li>Step-by-step demonstration of how to transfer the files to a computer and how to upload MP3 files to the MLE (StudyNet) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Real time + step-by-step pictorial handout </li></ul></ul>
Structure of Workshops <ul><li>Facilitated discussion on examples of podcasts and sharing of practices between participants </li></ul><ul><li>Participants offered a free DVR on long term loan from the Blended Learning Unit </li></ul><ul><li>Workshop concluded with offer of ongoing support, either one-to-one, or within schools or departments. </li></ul>
Factors for Success <ul><li>Loanstock of educational equipment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Items purchased include digital voice recorders, digital cameras, web cams, audio headsets and an EVS system. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Of the items that have been purchased the most popular are Digital Voice Recorders (circa 200 units) supporting a podcasting campaign in 2006/7. </li></ul></ul>
How can I use this? (staff) <ul><li>Record lectures </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Either during or before & include slides / show notes </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Preparation work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>create material during the summer prior to module starting </li></ul></ul>
How can I use this? (staff) <ul><li>Commentaries aka radio show </li></ul><ul><ul><li>record regular commentaries in addition to the lecture (e.g. weekly updates, tips, views) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>unplanned brainstorming conference show (using skype/email) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Add social activity to the lecture </li></ul><ul><ul><li>deeper discussion (and record it!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Field trips / guides </li></ul><ul><ul><li>virtual tour ‘musecast’ (inc images) & commentary </li></ul></ul>
How can I use this? (staff) <ul><li>Q & A and Tutorial sessions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Answer questions submitted by students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Record 1-to-1 session with student </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Interview experts, guest lecturers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conferences, placements </li></ul></ul>
Student podcasting <ul><li>Increases presentation skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More confident </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Iterative process (critiquing) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review & practice = improve vocab </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Encourages creativity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Explore & express ideas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Share perceptions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>And show off! </li></ul></ul>
Student Podcasting <ul><li>Field trips, placements, language practice, record of group work, seminars, lectures, interviews, field notes, interviews (with each other, experts). </li></ul><ul><li>Oral essays (poster!) sound effects, music, commentary, readings - pull in above to create their own interpretation </li></ul>
UHcasting! <ul><li>Institutional promotion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Campus guides, student interviews, staff interviews </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>used to promote the university and it’s location to domestic and foreign students. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student support (news, religion) </li></ul><ul><li>Linking institution to community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Profcasts, guest lecturers (seeds of interest). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish links to local schools (& abroad). </li></ul></ul>