VodCasts and Podcasts


Podcasts and vodcast are just-in-time and natural progression of radio and television as we knew it. With creative approaches such as iTunesU, Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) in education as well as commercial cable TV alternatives such as Vimio, the stage is set for a profound and rollercoaster pace of change in this arena. This disruptive change will impact many aspects of broadcasting as well as educational institutions.

In October 2007, the musical group Radiohead, a British rock band, decided to by-pass middle management of the music industry by releasing their album In Rainbows through their own website. The music was presented as a digital download where customers could make any payment that they considered appropriate (pay what you want), or nothing at all. The site advised, “It’s up to you.”

Since then, individuals have become empowered to produce their own products on a shoestring, bearing in mind that the quality of the product is trumped by the instant availability of the content.  Granted, we are still at the infancy stage of this evolution. Time will tell how well this new opportunities will manifest itself, though the evidence seems to favor the creators rather than producers for now.  

In a classroom setting the process is the same, just at a much slower pace. Podcast and vodcast resources are now available to everyone, 24×7. Everyone connected that is. Freely available tools help teachers create their own bank of resources, provide supplemental review material, help students prepare for tests, fill a gaps in prior learning, or assist students missing school due to illness or an unanticipated event.

As a professional development tool, educators can share best practices, open the door to their classroom for classroom observations, and assist parents with clarification and understanding of the concepts taught. In other words, create a two-way communication opportunity to connect beyond the four walls of the classroom.

There are many great resources and they can take different forms. For example, ESL Students with limited English proficiencies can leverage podcasting to learn English. I find RadioLab podcasts from NPR as a great resource to help students appreciate nuances of the English language as well as the science of everyday life around them. This gem of a site can serve as a great resource to help form essential questions as well as frame the conversation in a classroom setting. Topics may include: Snowflakes 101, a little backstory on how snowflakes form, or topics that may interest young adolescents such as  Sleep Deprivation.

As Solomon and Schrum put it in the text, students and educators today can readily take advantage of available tools such as Tumbler, or simply use smartphones to quickly create podcasts and post it to any number of social networking sites such as FaceBook, Google+, or WordPress from anywhere around the world.

As a professional development resource, I like Alan November’s thought provoking podcast interviews with education experts such as Students as Contributors: A Podcast with Silvia Tolisano. One is introduced to many field experts and their perspectives on education exploring various topics and perspectives, including this one where Tolisano believes it is important to put students in the driver’s seat.

I enjoy Vodcasts and Podcasts from University of Houston, Clear-Lake, where the professors banter about a topic, unrehearsed, or so it seems. The laid back approach is easy on the ear and the listener enjoys the conversation while learning something new.  I would like to use their model to continue to develop our own virtual courses in our district. I would rather have two teachers or professors discuss issues back and forth, rather than watch a boring talking head. For example, here is  one of my podcasts from Irving ISD posted by Dr. Smith and Dr. Crawford of University of Houston, and then reposted by Miguel’s Blog, where he talks about everything under the sun about educational technology with 1.8 million followers. Miguel is a prolific writer well known in Texas and around the world. Similar to this, podcasts may also take a different shape to inform and reach the community such as a news bulletin.

Here is a good variety of nominated podcasts from EduBlogAwards that you may enjoy:

  1. 60 Second Civics
  2. A.T.Tipscast
  3. Cool teacher podcast
  4. Douchy’s Biology Podcasts
  5. Edtechroundup
  6. Ed Tech Crew
  7. EdTechLive
  8. ELTchat
  9. ESL Podcast Blog
  10. Hack College
  11. Lab Out Loud
  12. LearnEnglish
  13. Middle School Matters
  14. Music Teachers 911
  15. PortableRadio.ca
  16. Pulse-Project Math/Maths Weekly Podcasts
  17. Seedlings Bit by Bit
  18. SoundTree
  19. Stanford University
  20. Teacher 2.0 podcast
  21. TechChicks
  22. The Virtual Staffroom
  23. T is for Training
  24. With Students in Mind



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