Mobile Technologies, Podcasting and Language Education

Mobile Technologies, Podcasting and Language Education

Volker Hegelheimer (Iowa State University, USA) and Anne O’Bryan (Iowa State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-190-2.ch018
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The increasing availability of mobile technologies is allowing users to interact seamlessly with a variety of content anytime, anywhere. One of these new Web 2.0 technologies, or technologies that aim at enhancing and creating opportunities for user collaboration, is podcasting (Wikipedia, 2008; O’Reilly, 2005), an online audio and video publishing tool. Podcasts are increasingly being used by language educators and learners, yet in the educational realm, podcasting is still in a development phase as teachers and students are just beginning to experiment with ways to best use the technology. Therefore, few guidelines exist in terms of researching this new technology, specifically with regards to language learning and teaching (Rosell-Aguilar, 2007). In this chapter we begin to close this gap by first providing an overview of podcasting. We then discuss the potential of podcasting to transform ways in which languages are learned. In doing so, we cite illustrative examples of podcasts currently being used by language educators and students, and suggest ways in which the effects of this technology on language learning processes may be researched in order to make pedagogically sound decisions about using podcasts for language learning and teaching. After presenting a case study investigating the use of podcasts at Iowa State University, we conclude with a reflection on the potential for podcasts to transform language learning and teaching.
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The increasing popularity of mobile technologies, the term often given to handheld devices on which materials can be accessed anytime, anywhere (Kukulska-Hulme & Shield, 2007), has spurred work in the field of mobile learning. Research in this area has focused on using such mobile technologies as cellular phones, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and tablet PCs for learning in formal or informal contexts, as well as the ways in which these technologies challenge learning in the traditional sense (Kukulska-Hulme & Traxler, 2005; Lin, 2007; Vavoula, Sharples, Lonsdale, Rudman & Meek, 2007). Digital media players, commonly referred to as MP3 or MP4 players based on the types of files these players support, have only recently begun to make their way into the mobile learning and mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) literature (Lee, 2006; Chinnery, 2006). Consequently, teachers and researchers have begun to investigate the ways in which podcasts can encourage, support, and transform learning (O’Bryan & Hegelheimer, 2007; Tinker, Horwitz, Bannasch, Staudt & Vincent, 2007).

Podcasting is the online publication of audio or video files that users can download and subscribe to using a freely-available podcatching program such as iTunes (Apple, 2008b) or Juice (The Juice Team, 2005). The term podcast came about in 2004 as a mix between the words iPod, the popular MP3 player from Apple, and broadcast (Oxford University Press, 2007). In other words, a podcast is an online broadcast containing a number of individual episodes that can be downloaded to the user’s computer either individually or automatically (i.e. subscribed to) and may be transferred to an MP3/MP4 player; the latter option is what gives podcasting its mobile distinction. Therefore, while a podcast by itself is not a mobile technology, the ease with which podcast episodes can be listened to anytime, anywhere on portable media players enables this technology to be classified as mobile.

The characteristics of Web 2.0 technologies that make them attractive to language teachers and students, i.e. ease of use, rapid development opportunities, interactivity and community-building, are also true for podcasts and podcast-creation tools. For example, Odeo (SonicMountain, n.d.), PodOmatic (2008), and Clickcaster (2007), are just three of the programs available online to help teachers and students create and publish their podcasts using a browser interface. Many of these programs also allow listeners to post comments in response to a podcast episode, which can contribute to a sense of community and collaboration. Podcast developers may incorporate these comments into future episodes or use them as a guide for choosing content. While podcast-creation tools such as these make it easy to create podcasts, they are not necessary for creating and publishing a podcast. An increase in the amount of open source software available through online sites such as has also made it easy for teachers and students to download technology applications such as Audacity which allows users to create high-quality, digital audio content while interacting with a user-friendly interface. Content can also be captured on-the-go with cell phones or digital audio recorders. Podcast creators have different interests, motivations and resources available to them, and with the right equipment content can be captured in places as varied as a Tokyo train station, the streets of Athens, or a recording studio in Los Angeles.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Integrated Podcasts: Podcasts that are integral components of a traditional or non-traditional course of study. The podcast content overlaps with, elaborates on or exemplifies what is taught in the course.

Self-study Podcasts: Podcasts that are on general topics of general interests and designed for a variety of levels of language proficiency.

Mobile Technologies: The term often given to handheld devices on which materials can be accessed anytime, anywhere.

Vodcast: A vodcast or video podcast represents an evolution from an audio only podcast to include subscribable video content.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (MP3): A digital audio format that compresses audio to a relatively small size, yet is of decent quality. Arguably the most popular file format for digital audio.

Podcast Subscription: The allowance of a podcatching program to automatically check for and download new podcast episodes at a time specified by the user, i.e. daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

MPEG-4 Part 14 (MP4): A multimedia file format used most commonly for digital audio and video. This format also allows for the storage of subtitles and still images.

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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