Digital media, podcasting, digital video, and blogging all provide great opportunities for adult learners to become actively involved in expressing their knowledge and skills through project based learning. While this deep learning experience involves research, critical thinking and 21st Century learning skills, it also provides substantial opportunities for the cultivation of much needed affective benefits. Soft skills have long been recognized as a valid and valued realm within career and technical education (CTE), continuing education and adult education. This chapter reveals how to use digital media in instructional settings to cultivate voice and empowerment among adult learners. The author includes details of outcomes and practical strategies and processes.
In order to provide sufficient background for the discussion of this chapter, this section provides an overview of each of the primary digital media types to be discussed: Podcasting, video podcasting, blogs, and wikis. The first section, podcasting, will be discussed in greater depth and will set the stage and context of the other Web 2.0 media discussions. Together, the types of digital media have provided tools to launch a transformation of communication via free, easy to use, highly participatory technologies.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Social media: Young people and adults alike are conducting their social and work- or school- related conversations through social media and other technologies (Enriquez, 2001). Examples include Twitter.com, MySpace.com, Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com, online gaming systems such as DSNintendo® group play and Wiis, to texting and instant messaging. Information is shared with one person or up to thousands at a time. Social media focuses on and can be used to facilitate global collaboration, personal interests and expertise. The connections to educational activities are being explored in the classroom and literature more every day.
Synch- Synchronization: This term stands for the ability and process of automatically correlating or matching data from two different sources or locations. In the case of mobile devices such as cell phones and smart phones, synchronization refers to updating and combining designated information on the computer with a mobile device. Usually a small program is installed on both devices to facilitate this data management process. The means of connectivity may be varied including cables, network, wireless LAN, Bluetooth®, infrared and more.
XML Scripting Language: The XML specification defines a standard way to add markup structure (formatting and additional instructions) to documents. XML Script allows for the creation, storage and manipulation of variables and data during processing. XML is a markup language for documents containing both content (words, pictures, etc.) and some indication of what role that content plays (for example, whether it is in a section heading or a footnote, etc.).
Timeshifting: A phrase to describe how users can watch or listen to an audio or video episode/program at a different time than when it was produced or broadcasted.
ID3 Tags: ID3 Tags are additional (metadata) file information included with a file which follows specific specifications and conventions to be recognized by media players. The information is integrated into a file’s properties and transparent and much of the information will be invisible to the average user (O’Neill, 2006). ID3 Tags are most frequently found among MP3, audio files and video files to enable information such as the title, artist, album, copyright, etc. to be stored in the file itself. Such practice enables the file to be identified by users more easily and slightly reduces plagiarism, piracy, and intellectual property theft.
Web 2.0: This term describes the development of the Web to include more Internet-based programs. Previously such technology applications were termed “hosted services” and with greater proliferation have launched more collaborative and easier content creation (King, 2009; Simonson et al., 2008). Examples of Web 2.0 technologies include the collection of Google® applications, like Gmail, Google Docs and Google Voice which work over the Internet rather than needing to be installed on a stand alone computer; social media and networking sites (described above); and content creation technologies such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts. There is controversy regarding the term because the original purpose of the Web included many of these same abilities in more basic forms, although they were not widely adopted at the time. In part, Web 2.0 has also become synonymous with simple, content creating, web-based applications.
Enclosure: An enclosure is a specific section of code always designated in an XML feed file to refer to an attachments file’s name, size, location and media type. For instance, enclosures may refer to audio or video attachments in the case of audio and video podcasts.
Democratization of the Media: This term refers to the philosophical emphasis of new media. Based on the fact that “big corporations” do not own the podcasting “air waves” (the Internet), the phrase represents freedom of access, voice, and opinion. In podcasting, inexpensive hardware, software and Internet space can allow anybody to be a “broadcaster.” The major constraints in audio and video podcast production are only having sufficient time to create, record, and edit podcasts.