To Use Podcasts or Not? This Is The Question!

 

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Today I am back again to write about the role of podcasts in education, especially in English teaching. Obviously, in the recent years, new technologies have got a great impact on education. Educational institutions are trying to invest in technology-enhanced teaching and learning and podcast is a part of it.  The podcast is a series of digital media files (for more information refer here ), enabling users to subscribe and download their interested files and listen to them.

Nowadays, podcasting has become the latest trend in the classrooms and many teachers have incorporated podcasts in their teaching system. The advantages of podcasts are undeniable but still there is argue among the scholars to determine whether podcasts enhance and encourage learning or not. The empirical study carried out by Weinberg, Knoerr and Vandergrift (2011) showed that listening to podcasts (which are considered reliable listening sources) might have a slightly positive impact on students by boosting their listening and note-taking skills and improving their pronunciation. The same study revealed that listing to podcasts is enjoyable for many students, and they find them an effective tool for reviewing the materials.

In my future practice, listening to podcasts will definitely be part of my courses, as in my opinion it engages students more in the lessons and enhances ongoing learning. However, it is important to keep in mind that in the case of using podcast continually, especially posting the class lectures, it may result in passive learning making students pay less attention to the teacher (Abdous, Facer & Yen, 2015). As a result, teachers should upload their lectures or class talks whenever they find it necessary.

In my EFL classes, I will use podcasts for home assignments assigning students to listen to a specific podcast followed by comprehension check questions or relevant assignments. Important to mention that podcasts enable the users to easily download the wanted recording on any mobile devices and listen to them whenever they want.

Now, I am going to share an podcast activity for developing listening skills. The task is for the students of Yerevan State Architecture University and they have high-intermediate proficiency level.

Topic: Introduction to Roman Architecture            Level: high-intermediate

Procedure:

  • Students are assigned to subscribe the lectures of Diana E.E Kleiner “Roman Architecture” from Yale University.
  • As a homework, students listen to lecture four about the famous building in Roma.
  • The lecture is about an hour, but students will listen the first 35 minutes.
  • Students are assigned to take notes and write ten complete sentences from the listening.
  • Next time, in the class the recording will be played once again, the unknown vocabulary will be discussed.
  • Then, the teacher will give students comprehension check worksheet based on the lecture to see whether students understood the topic or not.

In the given situation, where students are becoming architecture, listening should preferably be related to their major, to ensure their participation in listening tasks.

To sum up, listening to podcasts may enhance students’ listening skills if they are applied correctly and they are interesting enough for the students to listen.

By downloading ITunes, you can access to numerous podcasts which can be used in the classrooms.

Here is a tutorial video how to download it.

 

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