The podcasts assignment for TW5212 is actually something I am looking forward to. Unlike other assignments, it seems very achievable, non-scary (technology-wise) and I love that we can choose our own non-course-related topic which makes a refreshing change.
I had never really known much about podcasts before. I was aware of them, but I never really considered them in terms of what they are used for or how they would benefit anyone. Now that I have become a lot more familiar with them, it seems like they are completely invaluable tools particularly in the educational sphere.
The fact that the software is free and relatively easy to use is also a major bonus. I found a paper ftp://amd64gcc.dyndns.org/WORLDCOMP06/SER4351.pdf describing the benefits of podcasts in educational institutions and particularly from the perspective of language students, it’s a fantastic tool. The paper mentions one school that actually has recording equipment in its assembley hall, and creates and uploads podcasts of every talk, regardless of attendance numbers. This seems to be something that will get more and more popular.
Another great aspect of podcasts is the amount of creativity that is induced in creating them. An excellent example of the creativity that is developed during a podcast creation can be seen in the work being
done at a San Diego County elementary school, as mentioned in the above paper. There, a music teacher is having his students develop podcasts based on their studies of Africa. The presentations, which were originally slated to be regular oral presentations, were rethought by the instructor, after he took a course explaining the benefits of the technology, and its usefulness in the classroom environment. The students are honing their vocabulary, writing, editing, public speaking and presentation skills. The prospect of adding dynamic elements and audio/visual clips greatly enhances the creativity and individuality of the assignments while engaging with the software itself adds yet another learning outcome.