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Friday, January 08, 2016

Reconsidering the role of recorded audio in learning

Audio "the educational use of the recorded voice needs to be reconsidered and reconceptualised so that audio is valued as a manageable, immediate, flexible, potent and engaging medium."

Yes, it does. Audio remains the greatest under-utilized technical resource in education - potentiated by the fact that it is well suited to mobile devices. But on reading this paper, the question I ask myself is "Why?".

"Technically speaking, podcasting is the serial distribution of locally generated downloadable digital media episodes, usually audio, via RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to niche audiences of subscribers. RSS incorporates structured information about the podcast channel and the appended items (‘episodes’). In this way the RSS feed file can be automatically and regularly checked by the end-user’s aggregation software (e.g. iTunes), which triggers the downloading of new episodes whenever they become available."

And there's the rub. The death of RSS and the iTunes Walled Garden almost killed true (subscription channel) podcasting. But there are other reasons. We still have a ridiculous over reliance on keyboard input - laughable when mobile phone keyboards are considered. Captain Kirk is laughing himself silly, and I suspect the USS Enterprise computer is having a chuckle too.

So why am I typing this rather than speaking it? Permanence is one reason. Editability is another. I can edit my writing as I go but not my spoken words. I can speak from a script but that level of production takes longer that I have for this communication and robs the medium of immediacy and engagement unless I am a professional actor.

So yes, lets reconsider the role of recorded audio in learning. But let's not kid ourselves that it's easy.



Reconsidering the role of recorded audio as a rich, flexible and engaging learning space. (2016) Research in Learning Technology 24: 28035
Audio needs to be recognised as an integral medium capable of extending education’s formal and informal, virtual and physical learning spaces. This paper reconsiders the value of educational podcasting through a review of literature and a module case study. It argues that a pedagogical understanding is needed and challenges technology-centred or teacher-centred understandings of podcasting. It considers the diverse methods being used that enhance and redefine podcasting as a medium for student-centred active learning. The case study shows how audio created a rich learning space by meaningfully connecting tutors, students and those beyond the existing formal study space. The approaches used can be categorised as new types of learning activity, extended connected activity, relocated activity, and recorded ‘captured’ activity which promote learner replay and re-engagement. The paper concludes that the educational use of the recorded voice needs to be reconsidered and reconceptualised so that audio is valued as a manageable, immediate, flexible, potent and engaging medium.



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