Improving Learners' Speaking Skills with Podcasts

Improving Learners' Speaking Skills with Podcasts

Pete Travis (ICT Consultant, UK) and Fiona Joseph (ICT Consultant, UK)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-190-2.ch017
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In particular, this chapter looks at the potential role of Web 2.0 technologies and podcasting to act as a transformational force within language education. Using a case study approach, the researchers describe a project to create a series of podcasts called “Splendid Speaking” based on authentic speech recordings of English language learners from around the world. The aim of the project was to utilize a Web 2.0 technology, podcasting, to improve the speaking skills of upper-intermediate to advanced level learners. Central to this project was the question of how popular a podcasting service would be with the target audience of English language learners and teachers. The Splendid Speaking podcasts were enabled by the use of Skype, a free Internet telephony system, and other low-cost and free software to edit and publish the podcasts. It is hoped that teachers and curriculum planners reading this chapter will be able to evaluate the possibilities of creating podcasts to deliver elements of their language courses.
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The Internet and Learning

The Internet has had a tremendous impact on learning and brought new opportunities for learners to find and retrieve information, access learning resources, as well as to connect with other learners. However, since 2004, media commentators have observed that the Internet appeared to be entering a new phase of development with a newer range of applications, tools and services, collectively known as Web 2.0, and exemplified by blogs, wikis, podcasts and video-sharing platforms. Therefore it was only a short time before educators began to consider the impact of web 2.0 on learning.

Beyond E-Learning

The first phase of e-learning generated much excitement, and with some justification. Teachers and learners were able to use technological tools such as: interactive quizzes to test knowledge; search tools to retrieve information online; as well as discussion boards, email and live chat, which facilitated communication. These tools certainly had the potential to enhance the learning process, by offering more flexible access to the curriculum and providing opportunities for support outside the classroom.

However, Downes (2005) asserts that far from being radical, most e-Learning to date has generally followed a similar model to traditional education. Whether e-learning is used to support face-to-face teaching or delivered as a “standalone” course, he states: “Content is organized according to this traditional model and delivered either completely online or in conjunction with more traditional seminars, to cohorts of students, led by an instructor, following a specified curriculum to be completed at a predetermined pace” [our emphasis] (para 7). He cites the way that a course syllabus and learning content is often packaged up and delivered to the learner via a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or a Learning Management System (LMS), rather like a coursebook or lesson plan. He argues that the next phase of the web will bring about a “social revolution” with important implications for education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Connectivism: A theory of learning that describes the process of learning which takes place through the building of online connections between people. The theory was outlined by George Siemens in “Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age” (2005).

Feedburner: FeedBurner is a web-based service which provides RSS feeds for bloggers, podcasters and other users who publish frequently updated content to the web.

Powergramo: A commercial package which acts as a plugin for Skype to allow users to record conversations and conference calls.

Wordpress: A very popular open-source content management system popular with bloggers. A plugin for Wordpress called Podpress allows users to publish podcasts.

Podomatic: One of several podcasting services which offer a free starter account for those interested in learning more about this technology.

Splendid Speaking Podcast: A series of recordings featuring advanced learners of English participating in exam-style speaking tasks carried out remotely using Skype.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Mark Warschauer
Michael Thomas
Michael Thomas
Chapter 1
Michael Vallance, Kay Vallance, Masahiro Matsui
The grand narrative of educational policy statements lack clear guidelines on Information Communications Technology (ICT) integration. A review of... Sample PDF
Criteria for the Implementation of Learning Technologies
Chapter 2
Mark Pegrum
This chapter discusses the application of a range of Web 2.0 technologies to language education. It argues that Web 2.0 is fundamentally about... Sample PDF
Communicative Networking and Linguistic Mashups on Web 2.0
Chapter 3
Bernd Rüschoff
Current thinking in SLA methodology favours knowledge construction rather than simple instructivist learning as an appropriate paradigm for language... Sample PDF
Output-Oriented Language Learning With Digital Media
Chapter 4
Infoxication 2.0  (pages 60-79)
Elena Benito-Ruiz
This chapter reviews the issue of information overload, introducing the concept of “infoxication 2.0” as one of the main downsides to Web 2.0. The... Sample PDF
Infoxication 2.0
Chapter 5
Margaret Rasulo
The aim of this chapter is to discuss the effectiveness and the necessity of forming a community when engaged in online learning. The Internet and... Sample PDF
The Role of Community Formation in Learning Processes
Chapter 6
Tony Mullen, Christine Appel, Trevor Shanklin
An important aspect of the Web 2.0 phenomenon is the use of Web-embedded and integrated non-browser Internet applications to facilitate... Sample PDF
Skype-Based Tandem Language Learning and Web 2.0
Chapter 7
Gary Motteram, Susan Brown
Web 2.0 offers potentially powerful tools for the field of language education. As language teacher tutors exploring Web 2.0 with participants on an... Sample PDF
A Context-Based Approach to Web 2.0 and Language Education
Chapter 8
Lut Baten, Nicolas Bouckaert, Kan Yingli
This case study describes how a project-based approach offers valuable new opportunities for graduate students to equip them with the necessary... Sample PDF
The Use of Communities in a Virtual Learning Environment
Chapter 9
George R. MacLean, James A. Elwood
Prensky (2001) posited the emergence of a new generation of “digital natives” fluent in the language of cyberspace and familiar with the tools of... Sample PDF
Digital Natives, Learner Perceptions and the Use of ICT
Chapter 10
Steve McCarty
In a cross-cultural educational context of TEFL in Japan, the author sought to enhance the integrative motivation of students toward the target... Sample PDF
Social Networking Behind Student Lines in Japan
Chapter 11
Antonie Alm
This chapter discusses the use of blogs for foreign and second language (L2) learning. It first outlines the suitability of blogs for language... Sample PDF
Blogging for Self-Determination with L2 Learner Journals
Chapter 12
Revathi Viswanathan
Training ESL students in soft skills and employability skills with the help of Web 2.0 technologies is the current trend in Indian educational... Sample PDF
Using Mobile Technology and Podcasts to Teach Soft Skills
Chapter 13
Andy Halvorsen
This chapter looks at the potential use of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) for educators and second language learners. It views SNSs broadly through... Sample PDF
Social Networking Sites and Critical Language Learning
Chapter 14
Nicolas Gromik
This chapter reports on an ongoing project conducted at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. A mixed group of seven advanced EFL learners produced... Sample PDF
Producing Cell Phone Video Diaries
Chapter 15
Thomas Raith
This chapter explores in how far Web 2.0, Weblogs in particular, has changed foreign language learning. It argues that Weblogs, along with Web 2.0... Sample PDF
The Use of Weblogs in Language Education
Chapter 16
Nat Carney
This chapter gives a comprehensive overview of blogs in Foreign Language Education (FLE) through reviewing literature, critically analyzing... Sample PDF
Blogging in Foreign Language Education
Chapter 17
Pete Travis, Fiona Joseph
In particular, this chapter looks at the potential role of Web 2.0 technologies and podcasting to act as a transformational force within language... Sample PDF
Improving Learners' Speaking Skills with Podcasts
Chapter 18
Volker Hegelheimer, Anne O’Bryan
The increasing availability of mobile technologies is allowing users to interact seamlessly with a variety of content anytime, anywhere. One of... Sample PDF
Mobile Technologies, Podcasting and Language Education
Chapter 19
Jenny Ang Lu
This chapter aims to investigate how podcasts can be made to fit into the repertoire of resources utilized by teachers, especially in language... Sample PDF
Podcasting as a Next Generation Teaching Resource
Chapter 20
Matthias Sturm, Trudy Kennell, Rob McBride, Mike Kelly
Web 2.0 tools like blogs, Wikis, and podcasts are new to the vocabulary of language acquisition. Teachers and students who take full advantage of... Sample PDF
The Pedagogical Implications of Web 2.0
Chapter 21
John Paul Loucky
This study describes a task-based assessment (TBA) approach to teaching reading and writing online. It then analyzes key factors emerging from the... Sample PDF
Improving Online Readability in a Web 2.0 Context
Chapter 22
Jaroslaw Krajka
This chapter contrasts the use of corpora and concordancing in the Web 1.0 era with the opportunities presented to the language teachers by the Web... Sample PDF
Concordancing 2.0: On Custom-Made Corpora in the Classroom
Chapter 23
Darren Elliott
This chapter looks at the ways in which teacher training and teacher development are taking place online. It seeks to address the ways in which... Sample PDF
Internet Technologies and Language Teacher Education
Chapter 24
Sarah Guth
This chapter discusses the potential of social software and Web 2.0 tools to enhance language learning in a blended learning context. It describes... Sample PDF
Personal Learning Environments for Language Learning
Chapter 25
Shudong Wang, Neil Heffernan
This chapter introduces the concept of Mobile 2.0, a mobile version of Web 2.0, and its application to language learning. The chapter addresses the... Sample PDF
Mobile 2.0 and Mobile Language Learning
Chapter 26
Euline Cutrim Schmid
The first part of this chapter discusses the transformative potential of Interactive Whiteboards (IWBs), by analyzing the opportunities of using... Sample PDF
The Pedagogical Potential of Interactive Whiteboards 2.0
Chapter 27
David Miller, Derek Glover
This chapter summarizes the work underway to chart, critically evaluate, and systematize the introduction of interactive whiteboards (IWB) into... Sample PDF
Interactive Whiteboards in the Web 2.0 Classroom
Chapter 28
Samuel Holtzman
The process of technological inclusion begins with an analysis of the features and functions of the specific tool in consideration. Pedagogy should... Sample PDF
Web 2.0 and CMS for Second Language Learning
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