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Middle Tennessee State University
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Educational Podcasting

Educational Podcasting

[ Podcast Class ]
[ What is a Podcast? ] [ Teaching Ideas ] [ Creating Your Podcast ] [ More Information ]
[ References ] [ Articles ] [ Blogs ]

Myth Buster


You need to own an iPod to listen to, or view, a podcast.


You can listen to a podcast on any devise/computer that has the capability to play an MP3 file. You will need an internet connection to download the file initially but you can copy it to a multitude of devises and media for audio playback.

What is a Podcast?

Podcasting stands for Portable On Demand Broadcasting. Podcasts were originally audio-only but may now contain still images, video, and chapters identifying major sections or ideas. An iPod is not needed to listen to a Podcast. You can listen to a podcast using any computer connected to the Internet that also has the capability of playing standard MP3 audio files. Once a podcast is downloaded it can be listened to at any time on the computer. Many people also like to copy the podcast to a portable device for playback on the go. Examples of these devises include PDAs (Palm or Pocket PC), iPods, mobile phones, or many other devises that play MP3 files.

According to Wikipedia, a podcast is audio or visual content that is automatically delivered over a network via free subscription. Once subscribed to, podcasts can be regularly distributed over the Internet or within your school’s network and accessed with an iPod, [or any portable MP3 player], laptop, or desktop computer (both Macs and PCs). Podcasts can be produced with the following resources; a standard computer, microphone, free software, and a web site for posting your programming.

The major difference between a Podcast and any other audio file stored on the Internet is that Podcasts can be subscribed to. Podcasts are published as **RSS feeds. Listeners subscribe to these feeds and are notified of new programs by their ***RSS aggregators. The aggregators can be set to download the programs automatically or users can download the podcasts manually.

This article will describe educational uses of podcasts, and inexpensive, easy-to-use hardware and software that can be used to create your own podcasts. A web site has also been developed to go along with this article that will include tutorials and other hardware and software information. http://www.mtsu.edu/podcast.

Teaching Ideas

 Educational Podcasting can be used to extend class time, provide review activities, record student work, and much more. You are only limited by your imagination and your ability to provide pedagogical basis for its use. In this section I will provide examples of podcast use in lectures, recording student work, walking tours, online learning, and professional development. Locating podcasts created by others will also be discussed.


The following points were taken from an online article on Podcasting, referenced later in this document. Educational examples were added to the points for clarification purposes. Podcasting lectures provide;

  • The ability to listen to a lecture multiple times: Students can also stop the lecture, “rewind” to a previous part, and start again. Controls also allow the student to skip forward to a specific point in the lecture.
    (Note: Chapters can be added to podcasts that allow students to easily locate the area of the lecture they want to review.)
  • Flexibility in class schedule – students can listen to the Podcast before class and do another activity during class that builds on the material from the lecture. Many professors who do pre-class lectures will ask students to take a quiz on the lecture material during the first 5 or 10 minutes of the class to ensure that students have indeed listened to the pre-class lecture.
  • Increased interaction with the instructor. Instead of focusing on note taking during class, students would have taken notes during the podcast (the pre-class lecture) and will be ready to participate in the in-class activity.
  • Supplement to traditional class notes. When instructors post in-class lectures shortly after class time students can go back over the lecture at home and fill in points that they missed in their written notes.
  • Audio resources for students with disabilities. Students with various disabilities will find podcasts beneficial to their learning.
  • Portability/Multitasking: Student will be able to listen to your lecture at any time or place when they download your podcast to their personal media player.
  • Multitasking (e.g. exercising while listening to lectures). Students can listen to lectures while doing other tasks such driving, exercising, or walking between classes.
  • Beneficial to auditory learners. Online (distance education) students who learn best by hearing may learn course content more quickly when they listen to your podcast rather than when they read your lecture content.

Student Podcasts

Students can work on their own or in groups to create podcasts. These podcasts could serve as the culminating activity for projects. The posted projects can then be used in other class activities such as peer critiquing.

  • Post student compositions (performance of music compositions, recitation or performance of written works)
  • Peer critiquing of student work. Student podcasts can be evaluated by peers using online forms for gathering the postings and displaying them, either privately to the creator of the work, or publicly to the entire class.
  • Record online radio programs
  • Record oral Histories: With an iPod and a voice recorder, students interview relatives about their life histories, and then combine the audio interview with family photos in an iMovie project.

Walking Tours

PodGuides:  Free access to spoken tour guides (PodGuides) for your iPod. You can enjoy detailed spoken descriptions of what you see while visiting the city (museum) of your choice. http://www.podguides.net/

Podcasts in Online Learning

Podcasts can be used in a multitude of ways in the online classroom. Instructors can:

  • Make available podcast downloads of "just-in-time" learning modules
  • Tutor a student via podcast
    • Music lessons – evaluate music performance.
    • Teach a vocal technique
  • Make podcast downloads of practice exams
    • Music dictation practice tests.
  • Vocabulary words/terms
    • Develop a podcast of new vocabulary words for a language course
    • Develop a podcast of musical terms and their correct pronunciations.
    • Develop a podcast of new medical terms for nursing students
  • Give bonus points to the first student to get the right answer to a question that has been podcast and answered correctly.
  • Develop a library tour podcast
  • Create a small set of audio podcasts that can be used for "additional listening"
  • Working with Disabled Student Development, have a number of students and/or faculty provide podcasts to special needs students
  • Use podcasting to reinforce English as a Second Language concepts
  • Podcast short lectures
  • Allow students to create their own podcasts for class
  • Setup a text messaging or RSS to inform your class of new podcasts
  • Develop and reward innovative podcasting uses with an awards ceremony for the most creative, educational use of a podcast
  • Use podcasts to deliver flashy, history digital object content. Writer Bill Carey once stated, "The worst thing about history is teaching kids about dead men and dates. Kids want something flashy."

This list and other podcasting information can be found at http://www.bsu.edu/library/article/0,1894,163773-11770-35591,00.html

Professional Development Podcasts

Podcasts can also be used for professional development. Educators can easily stay current on educational issues through many of the free web sites dedicated to that purpose.

Edutopia: Weekly talk show hosted by Milton Chen concerning educational issues and technology. http://www.edutopia.org/products/voiceamer.php

TILT--Teachers Improving Learning with Technology This is actually a video weblog, and has some great information and examples of movies to use with students. Now uses Google Video to make video available (Upload link: https://upload.video.google.com/). You can download the files from Google Video to your iPod or play them on your computer using QuickTime Pro on the Mac or the Google downloadable player in Windows http://video.google.com/playerdownload.html.

Educational Weblogs: Technology resources for educators using weblogs, blogware, collaborative tools, RSS and Podcasting, web services and digital tools at home, school, university and community. http://educational.blogs.com/   

EPN--Education Podcast Network: The Education Podcast Network is an effort to bring together into one place, the wide range of podcast programming that may be helpful to teachers looking for content to teach with and about, and to explore issues of teaching and learning in the 21st century. http://epnweb.org/

Educational Podcasting Links

Locating Podcasts Created by Others

You will need to use a Podcast Compatible RSS aggregator to locate and subscribe to Podcasts. iTunes - www.apple.com/itunes is one well known example of such an aggregator. You can find a large list of aggregators (podcatchers) at Wikipedia- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcatchers.


  • Bloglines - http://www.bloglines.com
  • Podcast Alley - http://podcastalley.com/
  • iTunes – Download and Install iTunes and then click on the Podcast link in the music store. (Download iTunes - http://www.apple.com/itunes/)
  • Education Podcast Network - http://epnweb.org/
  • Podcast.net - http://www.podcast.net/
  • Also found at the Norristown, PA link.
    • NASA Podcasts – In English or Spanish. (see Norristown, PA link)
    • Gettysburg Address at American Rhetoric: 5000 full text, audio and video versions of public speeches, sermons, local proceeding, etc. 200 short audio clips form well-know speeches, etc. 80 Hollywood movie speeches.
    • Apples collection of educator-created lesson plans to use as idea starters for using iPod in the classroom.
    • Child Development Laboratory - Listening: what children learn as they are listening
    • Living On Earth - PBS radio show about environmental issues

Creating Your Podcast

[ Tutorials ] [ Hardware ] [ Software ]

More Information

*From Wikipedia: A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order. The term blog is a shortened form of weblog or web log. Authoring a blog, maintaining a blog or adding an article to an existing blog is called "blogging". Individual articles on a blog are called "blog posts," "posts" or "entries". A person who posts these entries is called a "blogger". A blog comprises text, hypertext, images, and links (to other web pages and to video, audio and other files). Blogs use a conversational style of documentation. Often blogs focus on a particular "area of interest", such as Washington, D.C.'s political goings-on. Blogging has emerged as a popular and important means of communication, affecting public opinion and mass media around the world.[1] Some blogs discuss personal experiences.

Blogs can be hosted by dedicated blog hosting services, or they can be run using blog software on regular web hosting services.

**From Wikipedia: RSS is a family of web feed formats, specified in XML and used for Web syndication. RSS is used by news websites, weblogs and podcasting. The abbreviation is used to refer to the following standards:

  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)
  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)

Web feeds provide web content or summaries of web content together with links to the full versions of the content and other metadata. In addition to facilitating syndication, web feeds allow a website's frequent readers to track updates on the site using an aggregator.

*** According to Wikipedia, An aggregator, or news aggregator, is a type of software that retrieves syndicated Web content that is supplied in the form of a web feed (RSS, Atom and other XML formats), and that are published by weblogs, podcasts, vlogs, and mainstream mass media websites.

An RSS aggregator - is a program that allows you to subscribe to a podcast.


Podcast Compatible RSS Aggregators

  1. iTunes - www.apple.com/itunes
  2. Wikipedia's list of podcatchers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcatchers

General Use RSS aggregators

  1. Sharp Reader - http://www.sharpreader.net/ 
  2. News On Feeds List of News Aggregators
  3. Harvard's list of news aggregators - http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/directory/5/aggregators 
  4. Outlook Compatible Aggregators
  5. Web-based



  • Chickering & Gamson's Seven Principles of Good Practices in Undergraduate Education
  • Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences (Armstrong)
  • The VARK Categories (VARK-learn)
  • Characteristics of Auditory Learners (KCTCS)
  • Teaching to Student's Learning Styles (Judie Haynes)
  • Learning Styles Explained (LDPride)
  • Teaching Tips for Using Audio Cassettes (Rose Reissman)
  • Duke Digital Initiative (Duke)
  • Duke Academic and Course iPod Project (Duke)
  • Continuing iPods a Mistake (Duke Chronicle via Google cache)
  • Podcasting for Learning (Otter Group)