Benefits and Drawbacks of Podcasting in EFL


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Theoretical benefits and drawbacks of using podcasts in English as a foreign language teaching. Presented at PacCALL 2006 (Nanjing, China)

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  • Benefits and Drawbacks of Podcasting in EFL

    1. 1. Benefits and drawbacks of using podcasts in the EFL classroom Matthew T. Apple Doshisha University, Institute of Language and Culture, Kyoto, Japan
    2. 2. Presentation order <ul><li>Podcast explanation </li></ul><ul><li>Previous research / projects </li></ul><ul><li>Current study background </li></ul><ul><li>Demonstration of podcasts and webpages </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion of benefits / drawbacks </li></ul><ul><li>Future directions / questions </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>Online radio shows using RSS feeds </li></ul>What are podcasts? <ul><li>In essence, podcasts are a kind of online subscription service </li></ul>Really Simple Syndication
    4. 4. Podcast origins <ul><li>Apple MacIntosh iPod </li></ul><ul><li>i Pod + broad cast = Podcast </li></ul><ul><li>The first podcasts appeared in late 2004 </li></ul><ul><li>There were an estimated 30,000+ podcasts in circulation as of fall 2005 (according to </li></ul><ul><li>However… You do not need an iPod or mp3 player to listen to or subscribe to podcasts! </li></ul>
    5. 5. Popular podcast sites <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>The last one was used in the class in the current study </li></ul>
    6. 6. EFL/ESL podcasts <ul><li>A large number of podcasts exist for learners of English (also small numbers for learners of German, Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Most of these podcasts are created by native speakers (e.g., The Daily English Show) </li></ul><ul><li>Only a few podcasts by non-native speakers (i.e., learners) exist </li></ul>
    7. 7. Podcasts in SLA research <ul><li>Diem (2005) mentioned the potential of podcasts as an alternative source of aural input to learners </li></ul><ul><li>McCarty (2005) described the history of podcasting and his university’s decision to require all students to have iPods </li></ul><ul><li>Stanley (2006) detailed possible steps for learners to create their own podcasts in English </li></ul>
    8. 8. SLA Hypotheses and Concepts <ul><li>Comprehensible input (Krashen, 1982) </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehensible output (Swain, 1985) </li></ul><ul><li>Interaction (Long, 1983) </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple Intelligences (Gardner, 1982) </li></ul><ul><li>Noticing (Schmidt, 1990) </li></ul><ul><li>ZPD (Vygotsky, 1938/1978) </li></ul><ul><li>Problem-solving (von Glaserfield, 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>Learner agenda (Warschauer, 2000) </li></ul><ul><li>Cooperative Learning (Kaplan, 1994; Slavin, 1995; Jacobs et al., 2002) </li></ul>
    9. 9. CALL criteria (Chappelle, 2001) <ul><li>Language Learning Potential </li></ul><ul><li>Learner Fit </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning Focus </li></ul><ul><li>Authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Positive Impact </li></ul><ul><li>Practicality </li></ul>
    10. 10. The Podcast Co-construction Hypothesis <ul><li>Listening to podcasts increases input , but… </li></ul><ul><li>Making podcasts enables learners to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(Co-)Create </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have more fun with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>their language use </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Background of the current study <ul><li>20 second-year Japanese university students (non-English majors) </li></ul><ul><li>English Workshop 3-speaking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Course met twice per week (Mon & Fri) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>90 minutes each class meeting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monday class meeting was in a normal classroom, Friday was in a computer classroom </li></ul></ul><ul><li>No streaming, wide range of proficiencies </li></ul>
    12. 12. Structure of the classes <ul><li>Monday </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vocabulary word cards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pronunciation sheets (phonemes, reductions, sentence rhythm, etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work on podcast ideas/script/practice </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Friday </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read student-recommended podcasts and then follow links and listen </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Type scripts/peer review/practice </li></ul></ul>
    13. 13. Structure of podcast creation <ul><li>Brainstorm in groups of 2, 3, or 4 </li></ul><ul><li>Write a summary of the show </li></ul><ul><li>Write a first draft of the script </li></ul><ul><li>Peer review another group’s script </li></ul><ul><li>Rewrite the script and practice </li></ul><ul><li>Record in the studio / do interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Edit recordings / add effects or music </li></ul><ul><li>Post to individual podomatic web sites </li></ul><ul><li>Listen to classmates’ podcasts and evaluate </li></ul>
    14. 14. Student podcast “schedule”
    15. 15. Podcast examples from class <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is my podcast page for English pronunciation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are links to my students’ pages </li></ul></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Each week, students had to recommend at least one podcast by describing it briefly and providing the URL </li></ul></ul>
    16. 16. FREiPOD web site from podomatic
    17. 17. Students’ recommendations
    18. 18. Student Podcast example 2 Man Show News21 ESS Show
    19. 19. Student peer evaluation
    20. 20. Benefits <ul><li>Students noticed their language use, either by listening to themselves or by listening to each other </li></ul><ul><li>Students actively asked their friends outside class and their relatives to listen to their podcast and paid attention to feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Students were able to see (via statistics) that others outside their classroom/ campus/ region/country were listening </li></ul>
    21. 21. Benefits (2) <ul><li>Increased autonomy / agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Improved group work skills (for some) </li></ul><ul><li>Improved motivation and desire to use English </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I had fun!”* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I enjoyed creating the podcast” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I liked learning about computer editing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I could record myself for the first time” </li></ul></ul>* Quotes are from an end-of-semester online questionnaire
    22. 22. Drawbacks <ul><li>Technology difficulties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The computer classroom was equipped with 48 IBM laptops that were three years old and had no microphones (some had no sound) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet access was often painfully slow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 4 computers in the multimedia center had appropriate audio editing software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students didn’t have flash memory sticks (need for easy-access HD to store projects) </li></ul></ul>
    23. 23. Drawbacks (2) <ul><li>Classroom demands </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Twice per week for 13 weeks -- enough time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different proficiency & motivation levels of students possibly encouraged “social loafing” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment of performance difficult </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Student beliefs about language learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I don’t think I’m improving”* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I don’t like to work in a group”* </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Is this correct English?” ** </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher-centered classroom exposure may have encouraged a “When are you going to teach us something?”attitude toward classroom behavior </li></ul></ul>*Quotes are from an end-of-semester online questionnaire **Spoken in class
    24. 24. Future directions <ul><li>Investigate possible increases in student English proficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate possible changes in student motivation or desire to use English </li></ul><ul><li>Investigate possible changes in learner beliefs about language learning and/or use of computers </li></ul>
    25. 25. Contact information <ul><li>Matthew T. Apple </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Feel free to contact me at my snail mail: </li></ul><ul><li>Doshisha University </li></ul><ul><li>Institute of Language and Culture </li></ul><ul><li>1-3 Tatara-miyakodani, Kyotanabe-shi 610-0394 JAPAN </li></ul>
    26. 26. Thank you for listening! See (and hear) you again in cyberspace