I read the Article entitled “Podcasting: A Flexible E-Learning Tool” by Youmei Liu and Shawn McCombs from the book Collective Intelligence and e-Learning 2.0. I found the article very interesting especially the discussion of the social trends and changes in lifestyle due to technology.
While reading the article, I was thinking about future trends for podcasting technology. I think this technology is going to continue although it may change a bit and become more enhanced. The authors did a great job of pointing out how society has changed through technology with its effect on socialization and how much of it is done in on online format as opposed to face-to-face communication with others. As the authors pointed out, you see people everywhere you go with iPods or MP3 players with ear buds in their ears. I am hard pressed to believe these people are all listening to podcasts. I do believe since they are already using these devices for listening to music, it would an easy transition for them to begin to listen to podcasts, although they would need to be taught how to subscribe and download podcasts. I think podcasts will increase in popularity as the technology becomes more user-friendly for people to create podcasts. They are a great learning tool for our students, especially those students that retain information better if they hear it rather then read it. As the authors pointed out in their conclusion, that podcasting has overtaken radio, TV and the Internet as the quickest attainers of critical mass. This is an incredible statistic that is going to keep growing.
I think this article did help my understanding of podcasts and their value in education. I especially found the section on best practices helpful and insightful. I think the advice was very useful concerning providing clear instructions and to keep communicating with students. Students need a tutorial as to how to subscribe to and download podcasts. Instructors also need to keep checking with the students as to whether they are having any problems. This should happen early in the semester as many students who become frustrated in the beginning give up and are unable to take advantage of this great resource. I also found the information insightful on the length of a podcast. At first I thought it would be best to have one full topic on one podcast. This could run one hour. It makes sense to keep it short as I think a student would be more willing to listen to something for 10 minutes. If a subject is broken into sub topics or episodes I think it is much more manageable.