Using Mobile Technology and Podcasts to Teach Soft Skills

Using Mobile Technology and Podcasts to Teach Soft Skills

Revathi Viswanathan (ICFAI National College Chennai, India)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-190-2.ch012
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Training ESL students in soft skills and employability skills with the help of Web 2.0 technologies is the current trend in Indian educational institutions. Students, who aspire to grow to greater heights in the corporate world, have understood the importance of learning soft skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication as well as employability skills such as interpersonal, problem solving and organizational skills to secure placements in leading companies. To meet these demands, teachers are required to play the role of facilitators of learning, and use innovative training methods. They no longer depend totally on textual materials but use advanced technological tools to supplement their teaching. The curriculum is designed to accommodate these innovations. Thus one finds more and more teachers using Web 2.0 technologies like podcasts, mobile phones, Wikis, blogs and Skype. Research studies conducted on the use of these Web 2.0 technology tools have shown the possibility of creating a virtual classroom and promoting students’ participatory learning in a more effective manner.
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With the growing competition in the industrial field, most of the leading companies in India expect their employees to be well trained in management skills like marketing, leadership, decision making, persuasion and negotiation skills. More and more youngsters get trained in the above-mentioned skills before and after their entry into the corporate world. In most of the Indian educational institutions, training is offered at the collegiate level itself and it is now mandatory for every engineering student to master soft skills and employability skills to get selected in campus interviews. They are normally conducted in the final year of study by leading industrial houses. One has to be proficient in soft skills, i.e. verbal and non-verbal communication, to transact with local and overseas customers and to procure new business for the company. Needless to say, these skills refer to students’ use of appropriate business vocabulary and expressions. The acquisition of these skills paves the way for using different employability skills like interpersonal and analytical skills, interview and discussion skills and etiquettes. When one masters these employability skills, students may easily learn managerial skills.

What are employability skills? Saterfiel (1995) quotes Lankard (1990) to define the term “employability skills,” as those skills used to “describe the preparation or foundational skills upon which a person must build job-specific skills (i.e., those that are unique to specific jobs). Among these foundational skills are those which relate to communication, personal and interpersonal relationships, problem solving, and management of organizational processes” (para. 2). We can also include interview and discussion skills in the above list. It is obvious that these employability skills could be mastered only if students possess soft skills. Nieragden (2000) defines soft skills in his article, “The Soft Skills of Business English,” as “those personal values and interpersonal skills that determine a person’s ability to fit into a particular structure, such as a project team, a rock group, or a company. The skills include personality traits like emotional maturity, eagerness to learn, and willingness to share and embrace new ideas” (para. 2). Students have to be taught these soft skills separately in order to make them use employability skills. These form part of management training given in educational institutions.

Web 2.0 technologies can be very helpful in providing effective management training. What is meant by Web 2.0 technology? Miller (2005) quotes O’Reilly to define Web 2.0 technology: “Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an ‘architecture of participation,’ and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences” (Miller, 2005, para. 5).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Employability Skills: These are skills that help a candidate to gain employment and progress in the organization that s/he joins.

Soft Skills: These skills refer to the cluster of personal traits, social graces, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterise people to varying degrees. Soft skills complement hard skills, which are the technical requirements of a job.

SMS Messaging: SMS or Short Messaging Service allows users of mobile phones to send messages between devices. The number of messages sent has grown considerably in recent years with billions of messages being sent around the globe at peak seasonal times such as holidays, Christmas and international events.

Problem-Solving Skills: In the corporate scenario, problem-solving skills refer to handling challenging situations efficiently.

MMS: Multimedia Messaging Service as opposed to SMS allows users to send multimedia messages between mobile devices. Multimedia content thus includes video, audio, images and rich text.

iTunes: This is a popular media player provided by Apple that runs on Windows and Macintosh. It is a type of aggregator that can be used to collect podcasts and vodcasts as well as purchase audio and video content from the iTunes Music Store.

Interpersonal Skills: This term refers to the cordial relationship maintained by two people.

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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