When we think of education, what usually comes to mind is the relationship between the teacher and the learner, with the teacher being the one who decides what the learner needs to know and how those skills are to be taught.
Complementing this traditional relationship - technology, especially in more recent times - has truly transformed the way in which we go about our daily lives, from the way we communicate, to how we live and learn as well.
This is part of the reason why educational podcasts are on the rise, as we see learning principles and processes morph to reflect this transformational change in the social environment of students and teachers alike.
Naturally, podcasts in education are not a substitute for in-person teaching, but they can be a crucially important resource, and the resources teachers choose to use in the classroom can dramatically impact how well their students perform in the end.
This stands true for any level of education - primary school, high school or university, podcasts make lessons more accessible, engaging and informative for students of all ages.
But this isn’t just hearsay, so let’s explore this question further and see what research data tells us:
The first conclusion that emerges from most of these studies is that podcasts can be an effective teaching resource with positive pedagogical results and can undoubtedly contribute to the improvement of learning. O'Bryan & Hegelheimer, Walls et al and Fehennig consider that the use of podcasts had a positive effect on the understanding of teaching materials, on improving knowledge and on student performance.
Bolliger et al, studying 302 students who participated in 14 online courses of various disciplines using podcasts published through iTunes University, found an increase in motivation and self-confidence of students, who found the podcasts very interesting as learning materials.
Going one step further, Lazzari, Fernandez et al and Ainsworth not only offered podcasts to their students, but also involved them in developing podcasts for their courses.
It was almost a common finding that the participation of students in podcast design and creation had positive effects on the development of their learning skills and motivation, while at the same time promoted the development of collaborative and critical thinking skills.
In other research, podcasts in education have been found to help reduce student stress and facilitate much greater multitasking. Walls et al believe that podcasts are suitable for enriching distance learning and help slower learners, as they allow them to work at their own pace in their available time, while Kim & King believe that implementing podcasts as part of teacher training courses leads to more prepared teachers.
To sum it up, podcasts can vastly improve the learning environment and present a wide array of narrative types and subject matter to explore in the class.
They can also help build confidence and literacy among your students and promote collaborative and critical thinking skills. Conversational tone of podcasts and contemporary topics make it easy for teachers to include their students in the actual conversation, and for students to actually feel as a part of the discussion, and not just passive listeners.
When we consider all of the above, as well as the ease of accessibility, the creation of teacher-centered podcast communities and the opportunities for learning on the go, all of that means that benefits of incorporating podcasts as part of your classroom curriculum are too many to count, and if you’re a teacher still on the fence about it - there’s really no reason why not to do it!
- Panagiotidis, Panagiotis. (2021). PODCASTS IN LANGUAGE LEARNING. RESEARCH REVIEW AND FUTURE PERSPECTIVES. 10708-10717. 10.21125/edulearn.2021.2227.
- N. Fehennig, “Podcasts in context”, Library Technology Reports, 53(2), pp. 30-38, 2017. https://journals.ala.org/index.php/ltr/article/view/6232/8116
- D. Kim and K. King, “Implementing podcasts with ESOL teacher candidates’ preparation: Interpretations and implication”, International Forum of Teaching and Studies, 7(2), pp. 5-19, 2011.
- D. Bolliger, S. Supanakorn and C. Boggs, “Impact of podcasting on student motivation in the online learning environment”, Computers & Education, 55(2), pp. 714-722, 2010.
- A. O’Bryan and V. Hegelheimer, “Integrating CALL into the classroom: The role of podcasting in an ESL listening strategies course”, ReCALL, 19(2), pp. 162-180, 2007. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0958344007000523
- M. Lazzari, “Creative uses of podcasting in higher education and its effect on competitive agency”. Computers & Education, 52(1), pp. 27–34, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2008.06.002
- V. Fernandez, P. Simo and J. Sallan, “Podcasting: A new technological tool to facilitate good practice in higher education”, Computers & Education, 53 (2), pp. 385-392, 2010.