Saturday, June 4, 2011

Podcasts, voice tools and audio recorders

Session 6

Wikipedia defines podcast as ¨a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication. The word replaced webcast in common use with the success of the iPod and its role in the rising popularity and innovation of web feeds.¨ If you scroll down on the page you will read ¨The mode of delivery differentiates podcasting from other means of accessing media files over the Internet, such as direct download or streamed web-casting.  A list of all the audio or video files currently associated with a given series is maintained centrally on the distributor's server as a web feed, and the listener or viewer employs special client-application software known as a pod-catcher that can access this web feed, check it for updates, and download any new files in the series. This process can be automated so that new files are downloaded automatically.¨
According to a group of academics, journalism & communication Research group at the University of Texas at Austin in the USA a podcast is ¨a digital audio or video file that is episodic; downloadable; program-driven, mainly with a host and/or theme; and convenient, usually via an automated feed with computer software¨.    The term "podcasting" was first mentioned by Aled Williams in The Guardian newspaper in a February 2005 article, along with other proposed names for the new medium. It is a blend of the words "pod"— from Apple's iPod —and "broadcasting".
¨Podcasts have been introduced into the curriculum in a variety ways to meet a range of learning objectives¨ (Chester, A., Buntine, A., Hammond, K., & Atkinson, L. (2011).  Podcasts can be used to enhance the four skills but they can also be used to practice a certain aspect of the language, for instance, pronunciation, intonation and stress.  Nowadays, the use of podcasts in the EFL classroom is becoming very popular as a great means to expose learners to authentic and real pieces of language.  Teachers can record or use existing podcasts in order to have their students practice real life conversations, course participants can listen to different accents and in this way learn more and gain confidence towards their learning process.   Podcasting is an important tool in relation to assessing oral production which has always been such a sensitive area to test, through podcasting we can create the evidence and support our testing results. Wonderful activities can be designed integrating skills by means of a podcast, but the most important thing is that the use of Web 2.0 tools lead to learners´ autonomous learning.   Regardless the type of podcasts, student satisfaction is typically strong and students generally perceive podcasts to have enhanced their learning (Goldberg & McKhann, 2000; Maag, 2006; Soong, Chan, Cheers, & Hu, 2006). 

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My first interview



  1. Hi Nairuby. I totally agree with you when you claim that students get more confident with this kind of tool. I think that this is what podcasting actually aims at: fostering critical thinking and contributing to the creation of autonomous learners. Under this framework, I asked my students to summarize a maritime english article and then to record their works by using audacity, mp3 skype recorder or their mobile phones. What they told me was intrinsically related to what you stated in your reflection. They had to edit, listen to their records over and over again, and in doing so, they realized what mistakes they had.

  2. Hi Nai. Nice voice. I liked your podcast a lot.
    Isn't it a wonderful tool to use with our students. To be able to listen to our mistakes and correct them.We really need to learn the correct use of this tool in order to teach it to our students and consequently obtain the best results possible.

  3. Hello Nai, you have mentioned a key word here "to expose learners to authentic and real pieces of language". Nowadays, corpus linguistics, "an approach to linguistic research that relies on computer analyses of language"(Brown,2007), is providing with enough pieces of real language use and this is so, thanks to the use of technology.