Within the article, Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom, Maya Payne Smart defines podcasts as “simply audio recordings stored as MP3 files or another file format. The creator syndicates the recording via the Internet, and the listener plays it using a digital music player on a computer or a mobile device such as an iPod.”
Podcasts and Vodcasts are increasingly used in the educational world. Typical classes require listening to a professor lecture then having limited time for activities to reinforce or practice the new skill. Podcasts and Vodcasts are extensions of the classroom. Students can view material prior to class and then have ample time to participate in activities that reinforce what was taught in the podcast or vodcast. By viewing material in advance, students have time to digest and revisit material at their leisure. This also allows students an opportunity to gather questions they may have and bring to the teacher before implementing the new skill.
Podcasts and Vodcasts can be alternately used by teachers and students. Teachers could require students to post material they have learned to ensure understanding. For example, students could demonstrate how to complete a math problem or a science experiment. This could be completed as a group, encouraging cooperation and collaboration among classmates. These videos can also be referred back to, if necessary. Shamburg states, in Student-Powered Podcasting, “Through creating podcasts, students learn to connect with the world around them both by developing relevant content and by learning to responsibly use content created by others.”
Within the article, Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom, Smart states, “Web distribution of their work motivates students to put their best foot forward.” Multi media presentations have a deep impact on those who create it and those who watch it. Watching and listening to the action happen, makes the learning come to life. This type of format is beneficial for a wide audience. Those with special needs may find watching and replaying the demonstrations extremely helpful.
Web distribution of student work has pros and cons. Students must be taught internet safety and ethical responsibility. Students may have the best intentions but posting information online has inherent risks. It is vital that content posted online be supervised by parents and teachers.