Podcasting in Education – Benefits

New technology always has a heavy impact on education, and Podcasting is no different. Many learning institutions are cutting back on textbooks and investing in technology-enhanced learning. Podcasting, as one of the latest mediums to emerge into the mainstream, is one of the forefront technologies in this change. In this article, I’ll show you how podcasting in education can increase accessibility and encourage engagement.

Podcasts are far from a new classroom tool—teachers have been podcasting for more than a decade—but as their popularity continues to rise, teachers are finding new and innovative ways to bring them into the classroom. Podcasting offers the opportunity for lecturers to easily broadcast engaging audio content, which students can then listen to at any time and wherever they are. A student only needs to subscribe to a podcast feed and suddenly you can push educational content to them, rather than wait for them to come. Podcasts can easily be used in schools, universities or colleges to engage students, and improve your teaching and learning practise.

Many learning institutions which have incorporated podcasting in their education system, have reported really positive results. This can be attributed to the ease of creating and consuming podcasts as well as the various ways in which education podcasts enhance the students’ learning experience. There are a lot of advantages of podcasting in education. Let’s take a look:

Podcasts present a broad array of narrative types and subject matter.

With podcasts, you can choose the content and form that fits your particular lesson, and the possibilities are endless: fictional stories, educational and inspirational TED talks, current events/world news, history, sports, pop culture/entertainment, and investigative journalism. Using an array of forms keeps your class fresh and engaging, and podcasts expose students to a wide variety of methods of communication, including narration, casual dialogue, scripted dialogue, and interviews.

Flexible Availability – 24 hours a Day

One of the greatest advantages of education podcasts is the portability and convenience they offer. Podcasts can be downloaded to a mobile device, allowing the student to access the learning resources anytime, anywhere, with very little effort.

There are podcast subscription apps available for nearly every smartphone, and these make the process even easier. In fact, iPhones come with an excellent podcast app installed by default.

Once the student has subscribed to a show (which you can make available really easily), they don’t have to initiate the download: it’s sent automatically to their app whenever a new episode is available. So, as soon as they sit down on the bus, there’s a teaching resource there waiting for them. This makes podcasts very convenient and also paves the way for truly flexible learning.

Podcasts are free, accessible, and always contemporary.

The total cost of using a podcast in your classroom: $0 — which also happens to be the budget most teachers are given for classroom materials. Because of the casual tone of podcasts, the contemporary topics, or both, students have the feeling of participating in a conversation rather than having adults reading or talking at them. Students feel like they’re doing something special, new, and fresh — which is inherently exciting.

Students Listen for Longer than They’ll Watch or Read

One of the great powers of podcasting is the attention it attracts. It’s tricky to encourage students to spend 30 minutes reading an article or watching a recorded lecture. That’s because text and video require the student’s full attention – they need to sit patiently, doing just one thing. As you probably know, this is tricky, not least because of the range of distractions just sitting waiting on the next browser tab.

Student Created Content

One of the most interesting and valuable uses of Podcasting in Education is the concept of student-created content.

You might allow students to create their own podcast, perhaps including questions, discussions, presentations or projects. These can then be made available to their classmates. This allows students to take control of an aspect of their education and, therefore, encourages engagement in the material. They can question, they can contribute and they can teach each other.

Benefits for Mental and Visual Impairments

Perhaps one of the greatest pedagogic characteristics offered by educational podcasting is the chance to learn through listening. To many of the current student generation, learning through listening is enjoyable and less tedious than reading. Educational podcasts are appealing and may encourage students who don’t like reading.

Many students may struggle with reading through mental impairments, such as Dyslexia, and podcasts can be a big aid in this. Podcasts are equally useful in cases where a visual impairment makes traditional learning methods arduous.

Where Next?

Using a podcast in your teaching can encourage your students to engage with your classes, your material and to never miss a thing. Podcasting is one of the best things you could do for your students. You can read our best learning podcasts for students and teachers.

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