May 30, 2016

Podcast Pros

To comment on Jose Bowen's suggestions, here are the benefits he mentions and his explanation of why podcasts are better than lecture capture or video on his website http://teachingnaked.com/

He says that "most of us teach to the mean, so if most students can understand a problem after two examples, we do two examples. We would hesitate to help just a few struggling students with more examples in class when the majority of students seem ready to move on. The best podcasts, when played in iTunes, have chapters that allow students to move about easily and allow you to include parallel or redundant material."

Additional benefits

  • Skipping ahead
The advanced student can fast forward and skip the easy examples. Podcasts, when built with chapter titles and multiple examples or pedagogies, are powerful tools for student engagement and control.
  • Customization and further resources
Archive lectures from visitors or reference videos of the topic by other professors. Add a more complex or unusual case. Add detailed tutorials for procedures or techniques: how to diagram a sentence, find the meniscus, or conduct an interview. Different students need different approaches.
  • Flexibility
Give students flexibility in how they absorb material. Some students take notes by stopping and writing things down, while others simply review the podcasts multiple times.

Lesson Ideas for EAP

  • Record your Own
Students record their own podcast about any topic they find interesting, any topic related to their field of study, or any topic covered in the course book. They develop a position/perspective and support it with evidence. Students can then listen to their classmates podcasts for extra practice. Take this one step further and have the author create a set of discussion questions to be used in class or for additional studies.
  • Canadian Content
Use podcasts to provide additional examples. Use local examples because most international students want to stay after completing their diploma, or came to experience the culture and the Canadian perspective. To lessen prep time, assign this as a task for students...to find an additional Canadian example or resource. 
  • Supplement
Use podcasts to provide supplemental material, e.g. lectures from other universities on the content you are teaching. These resources would give students a chance to review the content we covered in class, pause the recording and take additional notes and review at their own pace and give them another perspective on the content. They could also give students that were not able to attend class a chance to catch up.

Better than Lecture

Something that has become a focus in doing this is being aware of your audience. I think this is why podcasts differ from lectures. Speakers on podcasts are generally aware that there is an audience following them, so they change their tone of voice, change the examples given so they are more relatable and relevant, they also find ways to take huge topics and break them down. 

Teachers have an opportunity to teach how to talk like Ted. Also, using podcasts are better than a traditional PowerPoint because there are more micro-skills for teachers to teach, and they are more interesting for the students to listen to.

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