Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Remember the good old listening stick in school. Until recently I did not remember this attribution of learning at all until our lecturers brought it up in class. How exciting it was to sit around a piece of carpet covered wood with hooks and great big huge sets of ear phones.
Times have certainly changed, the listening post now consists of an ipod, a small multiple connecting devise and sets of much more appropriately sized ear pieces for the students. The concepts remain the same. Instead of using cassette tapes and a large cumbersome tape player, current technology allows the use of the podcast, downloaded to an ipod player.
Imagine a class of year two students who have been busily building a rainforest in their room. The room looks great, vines, leaves and animals hang from the ceiling. Stories books about rainforests line the shelves, and a group of students sit in a circle in the middle of room listening to rainforest sounds, and a story about a rare butterfly which only lives in that particular forest, courtesy of podcast. Can't get more engaging than that.
Using tools such as podcasts to engage learners, we are actively involving students in cognitive processes such as creating, problem-solving, reasoning, decision-making and evaluation. This kind of engagement leads to students becoming intrinsically motivated to learn due to meangful nature of the learning environment and activities, e.g the rainforest (Kearsley & Sneiderman 1999). I can not challenge Kearsley and Sneiderman's engagement theory which is extremely critical in the upcoming information age and emphasizes the positive role that technology such as podcasts and videocasts can play in student interaction and effective learning for the future.
The word podcast is derived from the terms ipod and broadcast, and in an era where this generation of learners can access information anytime, anywhere, this technology can allow students to learn at their own pace wherever and whenever they want (Apple n.d.). Many people think that podcasts can only be dowloaded and used on ipods, however they can be downloaded onto computers and any other portable media device.
Apple. (n.d.). Education - Mobile Learning. Retrieved 18th August, 2009, from:
Kearsley, G., Shneiderman, B., (1999). Engagement Theory: A framework for technology-based teaching and learning. Retrieved July 18, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm