Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ECER 2008 - Podcasting and Blogging – the way to learn

Live blog from a session at ECER 2008.

Report on study from Mid Sweeden University by Maria Rasmusson, Susanne Sahlin and Marcus Sundgren

Student attitudes to podcasts and blogs. Report on an ICT And New Media As Support for Learning course for student teachers.

Podcasts were recorded lectures and were about 30 minutes long but students were expected to use their own blog and were assigned to write posts and comment on each others work. Students were “proficient to average computer users”.

Students reacted positively to the podcasts and comments included “Listening is better than reading” and saw them as an alternative or complement to lectures. Negative comments made were mostly around technical issues but some did say it was a “limited experience compared to traditional lecture”.

Blogs were very positively rated (85.7% thought it supported their learning). They appreciated the sense of writing for an audience. The blogs were public so writing for an audience beyond their tutors and peers. Some saw the potential as a tool in their own teaching practice. There were no real technical problems with the blog but a few expressed concern that the objectives of the blogging exercise were unclear.

The students valued the podcast and blogs as tools for their own learning.

My comments: In the question and answer session the presentrs talked about the entusiasm the students had for using blogs and wikis (but not really podcasts) in their classrooms. Perhaps the recorded lecture format did not show the real potential of podcasting. However, where the students benefited from the tools (blogs and wikis) they saw the potential. If I want my student teachers to be blogging teachers I need to encourage them to be blogging students. Better telt than felt!


Mark Pentleton said...

Interesting stuff, David. I'd be very interested to know how 'dynamic' the recorded lectures were, and if they were in any way reworked to make the listening and learning experience more interactive and thought provoking.

I think there is a danger in making a big deal about podcasting in education when all it means is recording lessons and making them available afterwards. Yes, this is fine as a backup, eg. if a student misses a lecture, but I feel that the learning that takes place will not be as effective as it could be. This of course depends on the quality of delivery of the actual lecture/lesson itself! I think podcasting comes into its own when teachers and lecturers think about the medium and deliver learning which allows learners to internalise the information and mentally interact with it. But there don't seem to be as many good examples of this out there. Happy to be proven wrong! Maybe a tertiary education audience is different from the audience I'm most familiar with, secondary school pupils.

It's all a question of time and resources, I guess. I'd be disappointed though if lack of resources meant "podcasting in education" was never anything more than the recorded version of something that was delivered in the classroom or lecture hall.

David said...

Hello Mark

I think you're right and I think that your concerns are reflected in the relative enthusiasm the students expressed for blogs and wikis in the classroom. They also commented in the answer session that the presentation of one of the podcasts was better than the other. In one the lecturer just talked to the computer wheras in the other, the lecturer tried to involve and engage with the audience. The later was preferred by the students.

My own paper was on student produced podcasts and I will try to say more about how we are using podcasts later.