I’ve been thinking about and exploring different teaching media to add some variety to my “chalk and talk” courses. One medium that intrigues me is podcasting, or audio recordings more generally. I have to start by saying that I’m very much a novice here. A good place to start learning about podcasting is the ELI’s 7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting. For the definitive explanation of podcasting, check out Gardner Campbell’s forthcoming article in the Educause Review this Fall.
Okay, short audio recordings (I’d say no more than 10 minutes in length) can be employed usefully in class to bring in a different point of view, or an expert opinion on a topic. Audio interludes also serve to break-up the class session and re-energize student attention for additional lecture. I’ve found NPR stories particularly good in this regard.
I think if longer recordings were used in class, the students would start to zone out. Longer recordings, however, can be used as content resources just like more traditional texts, though I suspect you’ll want to provide some guidelines for listening to them.
Certainly a big advantage of audio recordings is their portability. Students are used to listening to music everywhere and anywhere. Why not make it easy for them to study in the same way?
Okay, so where can one find good audio recordings, that is good from a pedagogical perspective? You can start by looking at podcast directories on the web like podcast.net , which is searchable by subject.
I’m going to start reviewing podcasts for suitability in teaching economics, and when I find good ones, I will blog about them. I think that might be a useful service.