Imagine a mobile classroom that’s accessible to the student wherever he or she may be, and that holds lectures whenever he or she is in the mood for it. This is the kind of learning scenario that those with the knowledge to share are able to provide through Podcasts. With these downloadable files from different learning sources, portable digital audio and video players now offer the anytime, anywhere option to learning.
Before the iPod and other portable media players became popular not so long ago, on-demand learning was possible through audiotapes and compact discs primarily featuring audio versions of books. Now that more advanced technology has made it possible for more people to make podcasts at a smaller cost, more and more of these audio lectures are turning up, thus more information in this format has become available to just about anyone.
Aside from being able to choose the time and venue for your learning experience, as a podcast user, you are also able to dictate the pace, as well as be able to better retain the information by replaying, or learning by repetition. This method of learning, however, will not provide you with clarifications in case something in the content of the podcast is unclear to you. Yet it provides students a convenient means of preparing for class discussions and quizzes, even while on the commute to school.
Visiting podcast directories aimed to answer the user’s learning needs, one will find podcasts on science, language, philosophy, management, history, and arts, to name a few subject groups that may be included in the student’s curriculum at school. There are also podcasts on the topics of spirituality, self-development, and professional advice. Of course, podcast versions of many major literary works that may be discussed in class are also accessible through the Internet.
Meanwhile, you can also check on the biographical background of an important figure you’re studying, from scientists to philosophers, from artists to political figures. For the more practical learners, podcasts of language courses are becoming more and more popular, as the portable media players make it easier for learners to check back on different parts of the lecture without much delay. There are also pieces on hobbies, sports, travel, and even teaching for professional teachers.
Sooner or later, teachers and professors will catch on and even look around on the Internet for “recommended listening” to prescribe to their students. They may even rise up to the challenge of providing their lectures in podcast format and making them available to students online even for the purpose of reviewing or helping students who missed the actual lecture. Whatever development arises from this technological advancement, it just goes to show how much technology has affected how people learn.
Photo by Silveira Neto
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