Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Podcasting in Higher Education

The past several years have seen little change in education and the methods used to educate. One of the most natural and acceptable methods of education – audio conveyance – has been with us always, and although we tend to take it for granted and forget about it all too easily, all that is set to change. Throughout history children have been taught by means of stories told by their parents, and for many centuries this was the primary method of transferring knowledge and information. As time progressed, we started spending less and less time listening to these stories, although to this day storytelling is used as an educational tool.

People have always been educated by means of information received in an audio format. It is natural for us to absorb information through an auditory medium, and since such information transfer takes place on such a personal level, we tend to form a personal relationship with radio presenters. They become like family members who visit when one turns on the radio.

The value of audio recordings in education has been known for years, yet for some reason it has been neglected as we have all become more computer literate. The year 2003 saw the development of a new technology known as Really Simple Syndication or RSS.

Through this technology the user could subscribe to a feed that would enable him/her to receive information that was added to that specific feed automatically. This made accessing the worldwide web and sharing information significantly easier, because if one were subscribed to the feed of a specific website one would automatically receive all updates to that website in a freely available feed aggregator. (A feed aggregator is a software program that can mostly be downloaded free of charge.) The feed information would then be entered into the aggregator to allow the user to subscribe to that specific feed.

This technology has been the driving force behind the emergence of weblogs (blogs) and also the development and growth of podcasting. Podcasting has not yet moved to the forefront in South Africa due to various broadband issues and costs that will not be discussed in this paper; but if the trends in other countries are anything to go by, it will become highly popular in a very short period of time.


At 6:20 AM, Blogger Kallie de Beer said...


Dankie vir die inligting. Ek stuur ook vir die takke.


At 4:56 AM, Blogger Kallie de Beer said...

Dear Colleague

The idea for podcasting is of interest to me because it could be implemented for rendering a better service to our regional learning centres. However, could you please provide practical guidelines to implement it at our institution.




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