I’m back in Perth after spending most of last week at the Internet Research 7.0: Internet Convergences conference which was held by the Association of Internet Researchers. It was a great conference and I heard some thought-provoking papers (which I’ll write more about in a day or two when time permits). The “Participatory Pedagogies: Convergence and the Extended Blogosphere” panel I was part of when well despite James Farmer sadly being unable to contribute as originally planned. Adrian Miles and I ended up with a whole panel which actually worked pretty well since his paper, “Networked Knowledge Objects (videographic pedagogy for new knowledges)”, and mine shared a lot of ground, with my focus on podcasting and audio, and his on video more broadly. Partially to record the event, and partially to test the new Belkin TuneTalk microphone for my iPod, I’ve created an mp3 recording of my talk. I’ll be writing up the paper on which the talk was based, but as I’ll be making some changes based on feedback at the conference, that’ll probably take a little to appear. For those interested, for now feel free to listen to a recording of my talk along with the powerpoint slides …
The term podcasting is a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’ and describes type of syndicated digital audio that results in automatically downloadable files which are playable in portable media devices, such as (but not limited to) the iPod. Podcasting has proven extremely popular in the last year and a half, with many online citizens creating their own regular online audio shows. Australian universities have been making lectures available as streaming audio for some years now, but with learners anchored to a computer in order to listen. Podcasting has also allowed students to take lectures and other audio wherever they go, but this ‘coursecasting’ or ‘profcasting’ model still relies on the top-down structure of lectures as academic content for student’s to consume. However, in The University of Western Australia’s Communication Studies course, in an honours-level unit ‘iGeneration: Digital Communication and Participatory Culture’ the tables have been turned somewhat and students are also podcasting in the tertiary setting. For their major assignments, students were asked to create an innovative audio podcast which engaged with the notion of participatory culture and the results ranged from a ‘pod play’ in the style 1930s RKO radio theatre to an alternative commentary for a Simpsons episode focusing on consumer culture and intertextuality. These podcasts are also cultural output themselves – they will remain downloadable indefinitely, allowing students to use them in future ePortfolios and also providing a resource (or entertainment) for others. Moreover, the same system which enables the creation of streaming and podcasted lectures, the iLecture or Lectopia system, is also been used to host and deliver student podcasts; in effect, students are stepping up to their own iPodium. With student’s having an opportunity utilise the iPodium, student podcasting acts as something of a leveling process, allowing two-way street for teaching and learning.
Extrapolating from the iGeneration experience, this paper argues that student podcasting can be usefully situated as part of a broader range of emerging participatory pedagogies wherein the socially-emergent tools and modes of participatory culture allow a more meaningful traffic between tertiary settings and the broader community. For students, podcasting can be far more than a content-delivery mechanism; it can be part of their ongoing participation in knowledge communities in both tertiary settings and beyond. Student podcasting also levels the playing field in relation to ideas of content-creation and can be part of the processes of helping learners develop the tools of cultural interaction, not just consumption, which are increasingly an essential part of digital literacy. This paper also focuses on student podcasting as something which can easily take place without reliance on institutional infrastructures. As such, student podcasting blurs the boundaries of formal educational settings and points to digitally enabled learning and teaching modes which link educational and social spaces via a nexus of creation, discussion and interaction enabled by digital tools and technologies.
The podcast and powerpoint slides are hosted by the Internet Archive using a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.
Feedback is most welcome!
[Cross-posted from Ponderance.]