Going beyond Audio: Adding Multimedia to Podcasts for Foreign Language Education

Going beyond Audio: Adding Multimedia to Podcasts for Foreign Language Education

Tony Gonzalez
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-141-6.ch003
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Podcasting presents exciting new opportunities for delivering pedagogical content, but, for effective learning, teaching second languages and their associated cultural aspects often demands the use of textual and visual components. The flexible nature of distributing information via RSS feeds allows for a variety of approaches to delivering multimedia content. This chapter begins with a discussion of some important questions that must be asked at the planning stages of any multimedia podcasting project, followed by several strategies for incorporating multimedia content into podcasts, including situations where each strategy might be appropriate and some of the pros and cons of each approach. Also discussed are some issues related to copyright, and some ways that educators can legally obtain free content to use in their podcasts. The chapter closes with a look at some unanswered questions related to the use of multimedia content in second language education.
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Multimedia has long been used in second language education, with its history going as far back as the 1960s (Jung, 1997). Its effectiveness has also been demonstrated, leading to the development of listening skills and speaking skills, as well to as an improved understanding of cultural contexts, while at the same time increasing learner motivation and decreasing anxiety (White, Easton, & Anderson, 2000). Multimedia can be also be used in language education as a method for addressing cognitive styles and for aiding in cognitive organization of pedagogical content (Toma, 2000).

Despite its relatively short history, the effectiveness of podcasting in higher education is well documented. Fernandez, Simo, and Sallan (2009), for example, showed that students found podcasting to be an excellent supplement to traditional course resources, and showed that the incorporation of podcasts into higher education courses increased students’ feelings of contact with teachers and increased student motivation. Multimedia podcasts were found to be particularly effective, as the inclusion of multimedia content is a method of addressing multiple learning styles.

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