Podcasts or podcasting is part of of e-learning and m-learning. It uses technology to transmitting (broadcasting) audio or video programs (vodcasting) over the Internet (webcasting). The term likely evolved from Apple’s iPod, which is an MP3 player and broadcasting. Podcasting allows users to post productions they create over the Internet, or using an MP3 player.
Websites such as apple.com, Podcast.net or a music software for example Apple computer’s iTunes, Quicktime or Windows Media Player). Subscribing to a or downloading it allows the user to listen to the shows or programs that they want, when they want, where they want, and how they want. This is really the idea behind distance learning and e-learning- being able to access learning conveniently.
You can Download thousands of popular radio programs on iTunes and other podcast sources. Alternately, if you like to read you can also Download thousands of audiobooks on iTunes.
Postcasters create shows about anything that interests them. For example stories, reviews, music, conferences, news, etc. Lecturers and instructors can chose to save their lectures in the electronic form via and students can later access them over the Internet or download them onto their players. There are certainly many e-learning situations that would benefit from the use of this type of tool. For example when a student is ill and unable to attend class. Or the instructor being away at a conference and availing a podcast while he is away. Another advantage of podcasts is that they can help to develop autonomous learning and motivation.
A podcaster can record their own podcasts or listen to recorded podcasts of lectures to reinforce learning. In addition, podcasts can be used with interdisciplinary) projects at schools and work on different know-how (synthesizing and summarizing). Creating a podcast is a relatively simple process. Any sound editing software, such as, Audacity, open source software can be used to create the cast. The content, once digitally recorded can then be easily edited by the podcaster. Podcasts were originally audio-only but many now contain images, video, and chapters identifying major sections or ideas.
An iPod is not needed to listen to a Podcast. You can listen to a podcast using any computer connected to the Internet that also has the capability of playing standard MP3 audio files. Many people also like to copy the podcast to a portable device for playback on the go. Examples of these devises include PDAs (Palm or Pocket PC), iPods, mobile phones, and other devises that have the ability to play MP3 files.
J.P. Shim, Jordan Shropshire, Sungmin Park and Howard Harris, Natalie Campbell. (2007). Podcasting for e-learning, communication, and delivery. Industrial Management and Data Systems, Vol 107 No. 4, p. 587-600. Online available at http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0263-5577.htm
Saby Tavales & Sotiris Skevoulis (2006) Podcasts: Changing the Face of e-Learning. Available online at http://ww1.ucmss.com/books/LFS/CSREA2006/SER4351.pdf
Podcasting is used in many educational settings, at various levels, and for various reasons for example as a means of m-learning and allowing more flexibility to access learning resources.