Podcasting as Mobile Learning

Podcasting as Mobile Learning

Kathleen P. King (Fordham University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch241
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Abstract

Debuting as “audio-blogging” in September 2004, podcasting has evolved to a much more stalwart technology and a greater societal adoption (Geoghegan & Klass, 2005). The public awareness of podcasting was marked by the integration of podcasting into Apple’s music downloading extravaganza called iTunes® in June 2005 (Lafferty & Walch, 2006). However it was in 2006-2007 that the steep incline of adoption became obvious (Li, 2007) as the iPod® became more popular. Podcasts are digital audio files which are hosted on the Internet and published via a special scripting language. Podcasts are usually produced in a series, so that there are multiple episodes. And the scripting language, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and RSS (Really Simple Syndication), enables updates of the series to be sent to the listener’s computer or wireless device automatically (King & Gura, 2007). However, readers may ask what connection does this popular broadcasting phenomenon have to distance and online learning? Or then again, how could MP3 players, iPods®, and the movement of new media have any impact or relationship to formal and informal learning?
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Introduction

Debuting as “audio-blogging” in September 2004, podcasting has evolved to a much more stalwart technology and a greater societal adoption (Geoghegan & Klass, 2005). The public awareness of podcasting was marked by the integration of podcasting into Apple’s music downloading extravaganza called iTunes® in June 2005 (Lafferty & Walch, 2006). However it was in 2006-2007 that the steep incline of adoption became obvious (Li, 2007) as the iPod® became more popular.

Podcasts are digital audio files which are hosted on the Internet and published via a special scripting language. Podcasts are usually produced in a series, so that there are multiple episodes. And the scripting language, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and RSS (Really Simple Syndication), enables updates of the series to be sent to the listener’s computer or wireless device automatically (King & Gura, 2007).

However, readers may ask what connection does this popular broadcasting phenomenon have to distance and online learning? Or then again, how could MP3 players, iPods®, and the movement of new media have any impact or relationship to formal and informal learning?

In fact podcasting provides a powerful means to bring a long desired reality of distance learning — mobile learning — to a broad base of users. Podcasting may in fact be viewed as another vital development within the constellation of distance learning options. Indeed it is not until the last ten years that distance learning has become a powerful, even demanded, alternative among college students and workplace professionals (King & Griggs, 2006).

In the near future there will be few colleges and universities who will attempt to serve their students without some distance learning provisions (King & Griggs, 2006). And with workforces who must vigorously compete, collaborate and commute globally, the ability to upgrade their professional skills via distance training is no longer an option, but a necessity (Berge, 2000).

Podcasting offers a new dimension to the assortment of vital distance learning solutions because it provides the means to learn at a distance and learn on the move. In the past few years, several questions about podcasting have emerged, from who is listening to podcasts and how many, to how can audio be collaborative, and what are the future trends? These questions will be addressed as this brief chapter provides an overview of the major topics of podcasting and the critical issues related to it.

The impact that e-learning has had on education and the workplace over the last 20 years is paramount. From video-conferencing to online classes and desktop Webinars, technology has been integrated into educational and professional learning to create multiple and diverse distance learning solutions (King & Griggs, 2006). However audio and video podcasting as mobile learning stand to provide a very different dimension to distance learning (King & Gura, 2007). Instead of being restrained and constrained to a desktop or conference room, professional learning truly can be “anytime, anywhere.”

Key Terms in this Chapter

Enclosure: A section of information used in an XML file to refer to a media file’s name, size, location and media type.

Synchronization (Synch): The capability and process of automatically matching up data. In the case of mobile devices, synchronization refers to matching up the data on a computer with a mobile device. This data management process is accomplished usually with a small program that is installed on both devices and a form of connectivity such as a cable, network or wireless LAN.

Course Casting: In 2007, this term is still primarily used to refer to the process of recording lectures or special events and then broadcasting them via a Web portal or podcast without any editing.

XML Scripting Language: 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.). The XML specification defines a standard way to add markup structure to documents.

ID3 Tags: Metadata file information following the conventions of that which is integrated into a file’s properties (O’Neill, 2006). It is most commonly used with MP3 and audio files to enable information such as the title, artist, album, copyright, etc. to be stored in the file itself.

Timeshifting: To watch or listen to a video or audio program at a later time by having recorded it when it was broadcast.

Democratization of the Media: Refers to the fact that “big corporations” do not own the podcasting “air waves” (sic). In podcasting, inexpensive hardware, software and Internet space can make anybody a broadcaster. Sufficient time to create, record and edit podcasts are the major constraints in audio and video podcast production.

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