Podcasts according to the Academic Technology Resource Centre (2009) are "audio files that are automatically delivered directly to your desktop computer and can be transferred to your iPod or other MP3 player." There are many different programs that allow you to download these podcasts from one popular and highly recommended website is iTunes. I dont personally own or use an MP3 player or have an iPhone or iPod so I am completely new to this website and its many aspects. I found my way easily around the iTunes program and was able to download several new and interesting audio and video podcasts which I feel will assist me within my career as an educator. I have downloaded several podcasts (I got a bit podcast happy) on children with Autism. I found the Autism Podcasts with Michael Boll and Shannon Johnson extremely interesting and informative as I feel as an educator within the 21st Century it is important for myself not to only be well informed and trained within catering for a child with Autism and children who may have other special needs but to also know and understand the perspectives and needs of the parents of these children. So as I sit here and listen to the Autism Podcast interview with Nancy Wiseman (author of First Signs) it becomes evident that not only is this an effective and informative tool in which can enhance educators knowledge and understandings on certain aspects but also an interesting and informative tool which can be used within learning experiences to enhance a students learning journey.
There are many different avenues I can explore on how to incorporate this tool within the classroom whether it be from homework tutorials to students creating their own audio and video podcasts. One idea in which I though was a great was getting the students to create their own podcasts within teams weekly whether it be critically reflecting on topics they have learnt within class during that week, audio book reviews taking different creative approaches e.g. taking on the role of a character within the book and giving a review based on their perspective or using it as a tool to engage students within problem solving activities e.g. students are posed with a current problem within the school/classroom and they are to find the solution and present their argument through a podcast. These can be posted on the class website, wiki or blog and allow parents and students to track their own learning while becoming involved in an activity that provides them with critical thinking, problem solving and reflective skills while preparing them for a digital society.
Olivers ICT Framework (as cited in Australia University Teaching Committee, 2003) theory underpins the use of podcasts as an effective and engaging learning tool within the classroom. Within the learning experiences mentioned previously the use of the podcast could be effectively used not only as a tool to enhance and scaffold student learning (e.g. using it as a means to provide instructions or procedures that may be required to complete a set learning task such as a problem solving challenge) but can also be used as a resource tool to help enhance students knowledge and understanding as well as a resource for student assessment.
Podcasts are an emerging educational technology which can provide educators with an innovative and engaging approach to enhancing students knowledge and abilities to not only survive school and a digital age but to also equip them with the necessary skills to become a lifelong learner.
Academic Technology Resource Centre. (2009). Podcasts. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from http://www.palomar.edu/atrc/WhatArePodcasts.htm
Australian University Teachers Committee. (2003). Learning Design. Retrieved August 11, 2009, from http://www.learningdesigns.uow.edu.au/project/learn_design.htm