Getting Started: Academic Podcasting Made Simple

Getting Started: Academic Podcasting Made Simple

Maria Elena Corbeil (The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, USA) and Joseph Rene Corbeil (The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-141-6.ch004
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Abstract

Podcasting is an excellent way to engage students and to supplement the instructional materials used in face-to-face and online courses and in Mobile-Assisted Language Learning programs. A well-produced weekly podcast can enhance course content, learning activities, and student-teacher interactions, while enabling students to take their learning materials with them wherever they go, thus reinforcing and supporting language acquisition. While there are many resources that delineate how to create a podcast, few address the instructional, technological, and production factors that must be considered for the effective use of podcasting in instruction. This chapter includes a brief review of the literature that addresses the use of podcasts in language learning programs, and offers a simple guide for creating your first podcast, lessons learned, and the results of a student survey on the use of podcasts.
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Background

A podcast is a digital audio file which is created to be easily published on the Internet and downloaded to a computer or mobile device, such as an MP3 player, iPod®, or cell phone. According to eMarketer (2009), the emergence of social networking and mobile technologies has set the stage for the exponential growth in the use and popularity of podcasting. “eMarketer projects that growth will continue at least through 2013, when there will be 37.6 million people downloading podcasts on a monthly basis, more than double the 2008 figure of 17.4 million” (para. 5). Currently, podcasting has replaced cassette recordings, and soon it may even replace compact discs. As an increasingly “popular, traditional media” (eMarketer, para. 9), podcasts are quickly becoming the preferred audio resource for business people, educators, and students, especially for mobile-assisted language learning (MALL).

Although podcasts are a recent phenomenon, the uses and benefits of audio for language acquisition are well established. Edirisingha, Rizzi, and Rothwell (2007, p. 89) cited research that dates back to 1984, when Durbridge noted that “learners respond to sound,” such as “understanding spoken language, analysing music, listening in on conversations, being ‘talked through’ tasks…hearing facts, discussions and opinions from experts in their field;” and “being encouraged by the voice of somebody they know and respect.” The integration of audio also helps learners work through course content and develop pronunciation skills by affording them the opportunity to listen to the recorded resources as often as necessary and at their convenience.

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