Podcast, a portmanteau word made up of iPod and broadcasts, (Considine, 2007) are digital audio recordings saved as sound files that can be shared via the Internet or portable device such as MP3, iPod or iPhone. Similarly, vodcasts are files containing video and audio. What differentiates podcasts from 'normal' streaming audio and/or video is that podcast delivery for subscribers is through automatic RSS feeds of episode updates to your portable device or Internet. Podcasts or vodcasts provide online learning materials that are freely available to students outside school, 24/7 and easily accessible as many students have portable devices and/or computer access. Students can replay podcasts or vodcasts to review ideas and concepts not understood.

7 things you should know about Podcasting from Educlause Connect.

To find out more about creating podcasts have a look to the following websites.

Podcast directories

Teachers can subscribe to podcasts or vodcasts via podcast directories on a multitude of topics.

Ways of using podcasts & vodcasts in the classroom

1. Teachers can use podcasts for whole-class listening, viewing and discussion. Podcasts are a great way to add variety to lessons and cater for the aural and/or learners in our classes. For example, Radio National's Science Show produces a weekly podcast. This example The Kimberley - gearing up for heritage listing is 6-minutes and could be relevant to Geography classes in the study of World Heritage Listings.

2. Teachers can create short podcasts for recapping units of work and for exam revision. The following diseases podcast is an example of how a Victorian Year 12 Biology teacher creates short podcasts for her students in preparation for examinations.
Podcasts could be created by teachers to explain science experiment procedures, or a vodcast of a demonstration in the known cases of absence from class. This allows students to replay the podcast/vodcast if necessary.

3. Student-created podcasts and vodcasts are an excellent way for students to demonstrate a their understanding of an area of study and to consolidate their learning. Students plan, script, record and edit their podcasts that can be shared with a potential worldwide audience. Podcasts/vodcasts can be used:
  • as an oral presentation alternative.
  • to report science experiments.
  • as a LOTE verbal activity for students.

This vodcast was created by an American middle school student (Years 6-8) on diabetes.

For teachers who feel confident in creating podcasts/vodcasts, you might like to try creating a screencast. Victorian Biology teacher Andrew Douch has created a series of screencasts that are uploaded to YouTube (Teacher Tube is another option) to assist his students with their studies.

Check out Douch's screen cast Pedigree Analysis 1: How to solve a genetic pedigree No. 1 explains how to systematically study a genetic pedigree, to determine the most likely mode of inheritance.