The word podcasting is derived from iPod and broadcasting. In the early days it was the iPod which was used to create the mp3 files that were then broadcast over the Internet. Nowadays the mp3 file can be prepared in a variety of ways using different software.
The important feature of a podcast is that it is a broadcast from your computer to anybody who is inclined to receive it. All they need to do is, using the free software on iTunes, copy and paste the web address of the broadcaster into it. Their computer will then pick up the latest broadcast whenever it goes online.
How are people using podcasting? There are several thousand podcasts out there on the Internet. You can hear broadcasts of music, recipes, gardening hints and lots more. You could also tune into the regular broadcast of the Year 6 pupils at Downs School or Radio Sandaig from Sandaig Primary School. Also why not listen to the first broadcast of Year 6 at Prince Albert Primary.
In the examples above podcasting is being used to as a news and entertainment medium. The schools are displaying their excellence. This is linked to a huge variety of hidden learning outcomes. Podcasting is however also being used directly as a teaching and learning tool. Teachers are creating podcasts of lessons they have delivered. At Gracemount school Jenny Dowling has recorded all the key French vocabulary and broadcast it to her pupils. Schools are also using podcasting to inform parents and carers of school activities and news. Some schools are thinking of making these broadcasts in different community languages. The potential seems to be endless.