This chapter describes two European projects that respond to blended learning by integrating innovative technologies into blended learning environments. The first sections describes Portuguese research into the use of podcasts, delivered through the learning management system, Blackboard through which the teacher provided education students with instruction about online discussions and feedback on their online postings and presentations. The students preferred the teacher’s voice in the podcasts to written text and this section provides strategies for teachers to effectively integrate podcasts into their blended learning practice. The chapter then describes research from the Czech Republic on electronic labs (ELabs) through a project that enables the handling of real objects in science experiments by students at remote locations. This section provides an example of how blended learning can involve a blend of real and virtual objects.
Pedagogical Implications Of Podcasts In Blended Learning
In higher education a blended learning mode is more and more often used, combining online with face-to-face sessions. More studies are devoted to interaction in classes and in online learning, proving the importance of this mode as a way of engaging students and involving them in knowledge building. This part of the chapter describes a study about the use of podcasts in blended learning courses which were used for different purposes.
Students’ reactions to the acceptance, type and length of podcasts were researched and analysed The concept of blended learning and studies about the use of podcasts in learning are reviewed, followed by a description of the study conducted in two courses, one with undergraduate students (n=14) and another one with graduate students (n=25). The students’ acceptance of podcasts led to further research to study the impact of the teacher’s voice effect in motivating and guiding students during their learning online instead of through use of a written text as well as the relation between podcasts’ type, length and students’ engagement in learning.