Podcasting and blogging - the way to learn?


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An investigation of students' attitudes towards podcasts and blogs in a university course. Presented on the European Conference on Educational Research 2008 in Gothenburg. Authors: Maria Rasmusson, Susanne Sahlin and Marcus Sundgren.

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  • Participants in this course from both 2007 and 2008.

  • The assistant professors talked about their research in the field of digital competence.

  • Vygotsky described learning as being embedded within social events and occurring as an individual interacts with people, objects, and events in the environment.

    Situatedness: Thinking, activity and communication always takes place in a social context. Learning is situated. The context can be cognitive, physical, communicative or historical. Learning depends on the ability to interpret and identify what is relevant in the particular situation.

    Activity: Learning rests upon an activity within a context, and through mastering of mediated tools. Vygotsky ment that language and activity was closely connected. The language itself is an activity.

    Tools: The tools are the resources used to understand the world and be active in it. The world is mediated through cultural tools. The most important tool is the language. The physical tools are called artefacts for instance information and communication technologies, a pen, a calculator, or vehicles. Our thinking is in contact with the world through the tools. The world is perceived differently in different cultures due to different cultural tools. Our acquisition of knowledge evolves on both an individual and collective level.
  • 100% used computers every day or every week.

  • Recapitulation: “You can listen time and time again” “It was easy to rewind if you missed something”
    Portability: “You don’t need to go to campus as with a F2F lecture”
    Timeshifting: “You decide when and where”
    Support for learning: A majority of students in courses both 07 and 08 expressed that both the podcasts and the iPods were a support for their learning: 07: 62,5 % podcast supported learning; 60% iPod supported learning. 08: 64,3% podcast; 81,8% iPod.
    Other remarks: “It was nice with alternative course literature” “Flexible” “Simple”

  • 14 % had problems that affected their use negatively and 35 % had some minor initial problems that were solved.

    Technical obstacles: “Sometimes there was trouble but it always worked out” “Many steps (install software - transfer podcasts)” “Hard to find because of inexperience” “Tricky to use when you’ve never used an iPod before”

    Others: “It creates a craving - I want an iPod of my own” “You can’t ask the lecturer if you don’t understand” “You can’t discuss with peers” “You could fall asleep when listening”

  • “ More relaxed than writing an assignment in a traditional way”
    “Easy to share thoughts withs others”
    “Easy to understand others’ opinions and what they want to communicate”

    A majority of the students also had a positive experience of blogging, they enjoyed it.

  • The students required a clear structure for blog assignments, otherwise they fear that the blogging is becoming fuzzy.
  • Podcast: The students expressed the possibility to recapitulate and listen in more detail as the major advantages with podcasts for their learning. The lack of F2F-interaction with the lecturer was a disadvantage with podcasts.
  • * The students' perceieved the blogging in this course as a new context for communication in a learning situation. They reflected a lot on how blogging could be used in different learning situations.
  • * The students' perceieved the blogging in this course as a new context for communication in a learning situation. They reflected a lot on how blogging could be used in different learning situations.

    * Having a reader (except for the teacher) in a blog makes you try harder.

  • Podcasting and blogging - the way to learn?

    1. 1. Podcasting and blogging – the way to learn? A pilot study Maria Rasmusson, Susanne Sahlin & Marcus Sundgren Mid Sweden University Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    2. 2. The purpose • Investigate the students’ attitudes towards podcasts and blogs in a university course Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    3. 3. Research questions • How did the students perceive the use of iPods and podcasts in the course? • How did they perceive the use of blogs in the course? • What benefits and disadvantages with these technologies did the students perceive? Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    4. 4. The course • ICT and new media as support for learning, 7.5 credits • Half speed, mixed mode (2 campus meetings) • Summer course 2007 and 2008 Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    5. 5. Course objectives • Be able to use ICT and media as a tool for learning and for their future work as teachers • Be able to plan and create video for educational purposes • Be acquainted with research and technical development in this field Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    6. 6. Course Communication • Web page • LMS (FirstClass) • Blog • Wiki • Podcasts and iPod Video Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    7. 7. Podcasts • Enhanced podcasts: audio and slides • Two of the podcasts were lectures by assistant professors, not teaching in this course • Students were offered to borrow an iPod Video during the course Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    8. 8. Blog • WordPress, on our own server • Control of members and access • Students were assigned to write a post and also comment some of the peers’ posts Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    9. 9. Conceptual framework The socio-cultural perspective Learning in relation to: • Situatedness • Activity • Cultural tools Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    10. 10. Method • Interviews and questionnaires • Participants: students in a summer course at Mid Sweden University • 2007: 17 students (7 drop-outs) • 2008: 24 students (6 drop-outs) • Two groups: proficient computer users, average computer users Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    11. 11. Questionnaires • 2007 • Initial questionnaire • Follow-up questionnaire • 2008 • Initial questionnaire • Follow-up questionnaire Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    12. 12. Interviews • 2008: Three focus group interviews Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    13. 13. Results - podcasts Student perceptions of advantages: • Recapitulation and detailed listening (93 %) • Portability (71 %) • Timeshifting (64 %) • A majority expressed that podcasts and iPods supported their learning Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    14. 14. Results - podcasts Student perceptions of advantages: • Listening is better than reading • Useful in distance education • Alternative or complement to campus lectures Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    15. 15. Results - podcasts Student perceptions of disadvantages • Technical obstacles (14 % significant problems, 35 % minor problems) • Other Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    16. 16. Results - podcasts Other comments regarding disadvantages • It is a limited experience compared to a traditional lecture (body language etc.) • One-way communication • Asks for a forum for discussion with the lecturers Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    17. 17. Results - podcasts • Location: • At home, in the sofa (64 %) • In the hammock, sun chair, outside (29 %) • In the car (29 %) • In a summer cottage, on vacation (36%) Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    18. 18. Results - blog Student perceptions of advantages: • Support for learning (85,7%) • Share thoughts with others • Get response from others than the teacher • Writing for an audience Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    19. 19. Results - blog Other comments regarding advantages: • Students experienced a new way of using blogging as a tool for learning • Got ideas about blogging in their own teaching practice • Blogging instead of literature seminars in university courses • Public forums makes you try harder Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    20. 20. Results - blog Student perceptions of disadvantages • Only one student experienced technical problems with the blog tool • Communication is harder without F2F interaction • Public forums can lead to performance anxiety • Need for clear objectives for blog assignments Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    21. 21. Results - summary • Students were very positive to podcasts but experienced some technical difficulties • The majority of the students expressed that podcasts, iPod and blogs supported their learning • No technical obstacles in their blog use • Quality of the podcast delivery is important Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    22. 22. Findings in relation to conceptual framework Situatedness • The students could choose the physical context to a higher degree (iPod) • Blogging could constitute a new context for communication Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    23. 23. Findings in relation to conceptual framework Situatedness • The students acquired a new communication skill which made them reflect on blogs as a tool for learning • The students reflected on their way of communicating (blog) • It seems like clear objectives is an important part of a blogg assignment for learning purposes Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    24. 24. Findings in relation to conceptual framework Activity • Blogging for an audience made the student more motivated • Some students preferred listening (podcasts) before reading, individuals prefer different activities for learning Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    25. 25. Findings in relation to conceptual framework Tools • When technology develops, new artefacts emerge and can be used for learning • Podcasts and blogs are tools that the students in this study valued for their learning Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    26. 26. Concluding remarks • The participants in this study were rather experienced computer users and this fact could bias the results • The results in our pilot study, regarding podcasts, is supported by Tynan & Colbran (2006) • The small number of participants makes it impossible to generalize the results Tuesday, March 10, 2009
    27. 27. Thank you for listening! maria.rasmusson@miun.se susanne.sahlin@miun.se marcus.sundgren@miun.se Tuesday, March 10, 2009