Podcasting is a “craze” that college professors can use to “appeal to tech-savvy students with a shrinking attention span”.
At least that the very narrow view of the concept taken by one Boston Globe writer.
This particular story revolves around experiments at several Boston-area universities to produce podcasts of class lectures for students to download.
Of course, there are the usual folks who don’t get the idea that there is great power in giving students some control over their own learning.
“If the purpose of what you are doing is to give them some information quickly, then podcasts are great,” said Donna Qualters, director of The Center for Effective University Teaching at Northeastern University, an education resource program. “My fear is that podcasts are going to replace the lecture. And then, of course, kids are not going to go to class, and they will miss the benefits of that.”
And who miss the point that, if students are not going to class, it’s possible there’s nothing in class worth going to.
However, there are a few with an inkling of the benefits that podcasting could offer to educators but who’s view is still too limited.
“This is a technology academia has fallen in love with, without any idea of how it works,” said Stephen Laster, a professor of problem-solving and software design at Babson College.
Laster, who also trains other professors on creating podcasts, said podcasting is only helpful if the files contain information that would not be available in class, such as a law professor recording background information on a historic decision before a discussion of the case in class.
Podcasting is not just about time shifting, not just about supplementary information, not just about a creative outlet for students.
It is, or could be, all of this. Plus other uses we haven’t considered yet.
The podcasting buzz is starting to get pretty loud around our school system. It will be interesting to see how that plays out when we start up again next month.