This area in podcasting is really starting to take off, with more and more universities, colleges, high schools, and even elementary school classes producing podcasts. Instructional audio is nothing new; it is just that with podcasting the distribution of that audio has been made quite a bit easier and cheaper. Educational podcasts don't have to come just from teachers and professors; they can also come from everyday people who use their podcast to educate their listeners about a specific subject or about random facts. Table 3.4 lists four very diverse examples of educational podcasts that do a great job in educating and entertaining their listeners.
English as a Second Language
The host of this very popular daily podcast is Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Jeff received his PhD in applied linguistics and education at the University of Southern California, and his podcasts last an average of 15 to 20 minutes per episode. The show is G-rated.
Digital Photography: Tips from the Top Floor
Chris Marquardt produces this show out of Germany. This is both an educational podcast and a technology podcast. It should be noted that not all tech shows have to be about computers, and Chris puts together what is clearly the leading photography podcast out there. He has a large and loyal listener base that actively contributes to his forum boards. He releases about three shows a week, and the average length varies between 10 to 30 minutes per episode. The show is G-rated.
The SG Show
Hosted by 8-year-old Sam and his father, Steve, this podcast comes out of California. They talk about things of interest to both young children and adults, with the result being a very entertaining and educational show. The show is released about once a week, and the average length is 20 to 25 minutes per episode. The show is of course G-rated.
This is one of those handful of shows for which you should know the website address by heart. This way, when friends, family, co-workers, or total strangers ask about podcasting, you have one that you can send them to for their first taste.
TechPod Podcast for Teachers
Hosted by Mark Gura and Dr. Kathy King, this podcast comes from Fordham University's Regional Education Technology Center (RETC). The show is released about once a week, and the typical length is 25 to 30 minutes per episode. The show is G-rated.
The Importance of Educational Podcasts
How important is podcasting to educators? Well, Duke University is already podcasting classes, lectures, and visiting speakers, and Yale University is also looking at podcasting its classes, as are many other universities. One of the first papers on podcasting at the university level came from the University of Missouri's School of Journalism in March of 2005. Early on, universities were able to see the advantages of using podcasting as an educational tool. Podcasting is clearly here to stay in the classroom; the only question is what different and creative ways can podcasts be put to use to help improve the learning experience for the students and listeners. That is a question that many of you reading this book will help to answer.