response: podcasting and education

This is supposed to be a comment on this entry, but I keep getting errors, so I will post it here :-)

Interesting points so far. Is podcasting reinventing radio? This reminds me of the same discussion that surrounded blogging in it’s beginnings…is blogging journalism. To me, the point is not whether or not podcasting is reinventing radio, but who is doing the podcasting and why or what are they using the medium for. Like blogging, podcasting is giving a voice to those without big money contracts…although due to companies like <a href=”http://www.methodshop.com/2005/05/sirius-podcasting.shtml”>Sirius</a>, many unique shows are getting paid to podcast….but I digress :-P Yes, podcasting is very similar to radio, just as blogging is similar to journalism. What makes both mediums interesting is the creativity factor. There (in theory) is not an editor telling one what to say. The creator is given free artistic license. And yes, there are valid arguments about blogs and podcasts being a worthless source of mainstream information; one must remember, however, their purpose has never been to be mainstream. Podcasts and blogs are guerilla news. They are individuals that burn with a passion for something…they must be because the time that they invest into their podcast or blog is very rarely compensated for. I think this is especially true of podcasts. Editing the audio for a podcast is extremely time consuming. Most that I have listened to are passionate about either a topic or about the act of communicating.

As for podcasting in education…I believe that are endless possibilities…in language learning you can work with authentic examples, collect samples from the native culture, practice your new language and share with others, create a corpus of language learning which may help new learners hear ‘mistakes’ in pronunciation, etc. In art, you can work with sound samples, create soundscapes, etc. And even to get a bit farfetched, beyond listening to podcasts on a particular subject, you can do practical ‘word problems’ using bit rate speeds versus upload/download times and sizes.

Blogs and podcasts are a tool which I believe can be used in classrooms both creatively and effectively. They are low cost, authentic and can challenge the student to think outside of the proverbial box of the paper and pen assignment.

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