We arrived in Cupertino today. I flew JetBlue non-stop from JFK to San Jose for an amazingly low price. I have to say, JetBlue has become far and away my favorite airline.
At any rate, we had an uneventful trip and a nice dinner hosted by Apple. The real meat of the visit comes tomorrow. In the meantime, I had an interesting lunch-time conversation with Steven and Beth about the pros and cons of podcasting as an educational medium.First of all, we all agreed that podcasting/vodcasting is going to be sharply limited in value unless students can be producers as well as consumers. Coursecasting…has it’s place, I suppose, but the really cool stuff is most likely to happen when we send our students out into the world with microphones and digital recorders (or video cameras).
Beyond that, it’s important to recognize the particular strengths and weaknesses of podcasting. On the plus side, Steven pointed out that we have to triple-underline that podcasting is more than just audio. The two salient distinctions are that (1) it’s mobile, and (2) it’s syndicated. So applications that are location-specific, that benefit from serialization, and that support a diverse range of glosses on the same topic are all good candidates for podcasting.
On the downside, we often forget that multimedia comes at the cost of some control over speed through the content for the learner. I saw this in corporate training development all the time. Sponsors loved audio, but learners mostly hated it (in that context). They wanted to be able to skim content quickly and the audio controls they got rarely gave them significant ability to fast-forward in any useful way. Also, because polished audio production often tends to be time-intensive, it’s important to look for applications in which the production values don’t matter that much. So content with a lot of affective value that one wouldn’t want to skim is good, as is more personal journaling/reporting, where a quick-and-dirty narrative without a lot of editing or splicing works.