Podcasting: a whole new bite at the education Apple
Podcasting has taken the world by storm, and software and hardware such as Apple's ever-present iTunes and iPod are now finding their way into conferences and classrooms. The University of Adelaide's Centre for Learning and Professional Development (CLPD) is receiving international recognition for its work into podcasting thanks to a profile on the Apple Education website. Allan Carrington from the CLPD's Online Education Unit discusses some of the benefits of podcasting for knowledge sharing.
For anyone who has attended a conference - regardless of its subject or industry focus - it will hardly come as a surprise that there is just as much, if not more, knowledge among the audience than with the speakers. It's for that reason that we've embarked on an exercise that has underpinned what is set to be a major change in knowledge sharing.
In 2005, I was invited by the convenors of the EDUCAUSE conference in Florida to create audio podcasts of post-presentation interviews with conference presenters. My initial thought was that it would be little more than duplicating the material already presented. What happened, though, was that the presenters were more relaxed and started talking about things they hadn't discussed in the presentation. In most cases it was that relaxation that resulted in my ability to capture the real passion about what they do and why they do it.
The wealth of community wisdom and its practical application that you can find at any conference is staggering. Talking to people who are just wandering around after a presentation can easily give you a whole new perspective on a range of subjects.
With podcasting, you have the opportunity to share that perspective and take conference knowledge sharing well beyond the typical presenter-attendee paradigm.
At that conference I met Randy Meredith, a like-minded professor from Spring Arbor University in Michigan. Randy was already conducting a series of trials using podcasting in education. Since that meeting, we've been in constant contact, working to promote good pedagogy in podcasting.
The results I'd had at EDUCAUSE were then duplicated back home at another conference, ASCILITE 2006, Australia's largest regional conference focusing on education and technology. Again we found that podcasting using this model enriched the archive of knowledge sharing from the conference and improved the learning outcomes. Conferences need to seriously look at this model for the future.
Podcasting lends itself ideally to education. The technology exists and it's already sitting with the vast majority of educational institutions and students. The "Net Generation" is charging in, and it's up to us to redefine the way in which we capture and share knowledge.
Apple has a big role to play in all this. Apple has inspired and encouraged people to experiment and investigate the whole podcasting world and is now light years ahead in providing people with an environment in which creating, producing, delivering and playing podcasts is integrated and seamless.
In the education environment specifically, the entire Apple podcasting environment is highly relevant to the Net Generation. When you look at the Apple hardware and software, it relates directly to they way they learn and function. Because of this, and the accessibility and ease of use of the technology, integrating podcasts as a fundamental component of education will rapidly become commonplace.
Randy Meredith coined the term "podagogy". At Spring Arbor, lectures are recorded and placed online for subscribers. A separate 10-minute podcast prepared by the lecturer also covers additional information or poses particular questions or problems to the students. Randy says: "What this achieves is a change in pedagogy - engaging students outside class time and getting them to think harder and longer. Hence, the term podagogy."
It won't be long before the students themselves start using podcasts to respond to those of their lecturers and teachers, making the use of podcasting a logical evolutionary stage for a wide range of web-based and educational activities.
Podcasting will and must go past the one-way broadcasting paradigm. The next stage we need to reach is using the podcast medium as a two-way dialogue - we just need the underpinning software to manage that process and make it as easy as possible. The CLPD is currently researching ways to do this.
This is an edited version of the profile that appears on the Apple Education website, and has been edited and reproduced with Apple's permission.