3 Uses for Learning with Podcasts

by Grace Dickins

Podcasts have established themselves as an entertainment resource: you can follow your favorite comedians or talk shows, or find a recording on a niche interest. What is less widespread, but quickly gaining traction, is the use of podcasts for education.

Podcasts are a great supplement to classroom learning. They are much less expensive to produce than a complete media course. Students can listen to them as their schedule allows, and they are easy to share. Podcasts are a great tool for distance learners and are frequently low-cost. If you are studying independently or supplementing course materials, public and college libraries may offer copyright-free podcasts of publications as a service to the blind. And, if you're an auditory learner, podcasts fit into your study regimen especially well. Here are some ways that college students can utilize podcasts to their benefit.

Get a head start

If your instructor does not recommend pre-course material, research and find some on your own. You will have a definite advantage over your classmates, because you will be better prepared for the classroom lectures.

Professor in your pocket

In higher education, most of the available podcasts are recorded lectures. Students can use these for review, while in distance learning, podcasts replace lectures. Course podcasts are usually available on the course website and may be accompanied by a blog that offers further information. If it is an e-course, your "discussion" grade could be based on your participation in online chatrooms. Of course, whether your school is digitalised or bricks-and-mortar, the flexibility of podcasts allow you to listen to the material at your convenience and review complicated parts as much as you'd like. (If only instructors came with a "replay" button!)

Parlez vous..? Oui, tres bien

Podcasts and foreign language learning are a great combination. In addition to course material, you can listen to songs, verse, and news broadcasts in the language that you are studying. If are at an introductory level, locate recordings of children's rhymes. For advanced students, see if you can follow comedy in a second language - a feat that demonstrates cultural, as well as linguistic, fluency.

Also consider the possibility of recording your own podcasts: media literacy is increasingly just as important as text. Create an audio diary or study tape. Record your responses to the reading as you read to enhance your in-class discussion. If you choose to incorporate others' material, be aware of fair use standards.

Tags: learning podcasts
Categories: learning