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Uses of podcasting

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Podcasting refers to the creation and regular distribution of podcasts through the Internet. Podcasts, which can include audio, video, PDF, and ePub files, are subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. Subscribers are then able to view, listen to, and transfer the episodes to a variety of media players, or podcatchers. Though similar to radio, there is no larger regulatory group or oversight with podcasts. Instead, podcasts simply consist of the creators and their listeners.[1] As the technology gained popularity in the early 2000s, the uses of podcasting grew from simply the delivery of content to also creative and responsive purposes.[2]


Podcasting in K-12 education[edit]

K-12 schools have also begun adopting podcasting as an instructional tool. Podcasts are used for many educational purposes and there are several advocates of podcasting who believe that it can offer unique educational benefits to learners.[3] The main advantage of podcasting is the simplicity that it offers to learners. Listeners are no longer constrained by time and space with regard to their learning. Podcasts give superior support to auditory learners who comprise 30% of all learners.[3] Expensive equipment or sophisticated know-how is not needed to create a podcast. There are free programs that are easily accessible to all people to create podcasts. Podcasting affords iPods and other mobile audio players a double life: a usefulness for both entertainment and education. Podcasts are created by students for projects or by instructors for instructional purposes.[4]

Podcasts for students[edit]

There are many uses for podcasting for the classroom. They can be used to convey instructional information from the teacher or trainer, motivational stories, and auditory case studies. Podcasts can also be used by the learners as artifacts and evidence of learning; for example, a student might prepare a brief podcast as a summary of a concept in lieu of writing an essay. Podcasts can also be used as a means of self-reflection on the learning processes or products.[5] Podcasts can help keep students on the same page, including those that are absent. Absent students can use podcasts to see class lectures, daily activities, homework assignments, handouts, and more.[6] A review of literature that reports the use of audio podcasts in K-12 and higher education found that individuals use existing podcasts or create their own podcasts.[7]

According to Jonathan Copley, many students choose to use podcasts as a supplement to lecture materials. Before classes, students use podcasts to gain an overall understanding of the upcoming lecture, which makes them feel more confident and much more prepared for the class. The use of podcasts better prepares students for classes and promotes discussions. The download of podcasts peaks both immediately after a podcast has been uploaded and right before examinations or deadlines.[8] Students use podcasts as part of their review for exams because it provides different methods of reinforcement of course material. This includes visual reinforcement of material, and testing of their knowledge base, and adding variety to the review experience.[9] In addition, students who missed the lecture because of sickness or other reasons can use podcasts to catch up on their notes.[10] Students learn better when they have a teacher present the materials, rather than going over other people's notes. Finally, students with disabilities and students who do not speak English as their first language use podcasts because they can listen to the material repeatedly.[11]

According to Robin H. Kay, there are five key benefits regarding the use of video podcasts for students.[10]

  1. Students can control the pace of their own studies
  2. Increase in motivation
  3. Improvement in study habits
  4. Positive impact on testing skills
  5. Does not reduce class attendance

Podcasts for teachers[edit]

Podcasting can be a tool for teachers or administrators to communicate with parents and the wider community about curriculum plans and content, student assignments and other information.[12][13]

Consuming podcasts[edit]

Apple introduced iTunes U, a nationwide expansion of a service that puts course lectures and other educational materials online and on-the-go via Apple's iTunes software. In 2006 there were over 400 podcasts from K-12 classes listed on iTunes and over 900 education-related podcasts listed on Yahoo.[5] Students reported that replaying podcasts facilitated the comprehension of complex concepts and increased understanding for non-native language learners.[7]

Creating podcasts[edit]

The use of social technologies allow students to shift from simply consuming media to creating it on their own.[14] Pundits argue that student-produced podcasting can promote several powerful ideas that students can use over a lifetime. These include a hands-on and reflective approach to copyright and fair use in creating digital media. That is, they can create original content as they ethically and effectively collect and remix the work of others. Thus, it is argued, podcasting becomes a tool for students to think about the balance between individual rights and community benefits. In addition, some argue that podcasts help students learn 21st century literacy skills. Students, for example, can use digital audio recording and editing software to create audio dramas, news shows or audio tours.[15] Within Social Studies contexts, for example, podcasting offers a means for encouraging students to question their world, to explore their intuitions about relationships between history, people and to think about things in relation to larger contexts, rather than simply focus on dates and facts.[16] Educators who use podcasting with students argue that it offers learners and teachers flexibility and learner control, opportunities for learner motivation, clarity of instruction, novelty of engagement, widening of 'locations' in which learning is situated – an expansion of the temporal and spatial, engagement with and collaboration around dialogue, and opportunities for learners to get involved in construction of learning for others.[4]

Podcasts in higher education[edit]

The use of podcasts for the purpose of education, whether by professional educators or amateurs, has grown to the point that an annual conference for educational podcasters called Sound Education took place (although it was canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic).[17]

Mobile Learning: Podcasting can be categorized as an m-learning strategy for teaching and learning. In 2004, Musselburgh Grammar School pioneered podcast lessons with foreign language audio revision and homework. In the second half of 2005, a Communication Studies course at the University of Western Australia used student-created podcasts as the main assessment item. In 2005, "Students in the Write" was created for second-grade students at Morse Elementary School in Tarrytown, NY.[18] On 21 February 2006, Lance Anderson, Dr. Chris Smith, Nigel Paice, and Debbie McGowan took part in the first podcast forum at Cambridge University. The event was hosted by the Centre for Applied Research in Educational Technologies.[19]

Mobile Knowledge Transfer: Podcasting is also used by corporations to disseminate information faster and more easily. It can be seen as a further development of Rapid E-Learning as the content can be created fast and without much effort. Learners can learn in idle times which saves time and money for them and the organizations. Audio podcasts can be used during other activities like driving a car, travelling by train, or riding a bus. A group often targeted is the sales-force, as they are highly mobile. There podcasting can be used for sales enablement.[20]

Mathematical Learning: Audio-podcasts can also be used in mathematics education. With the recording of mathematical audio-podcasts, oral communication and representation are focused on. Audio-podcasts have been used in primary school[21] as well as in teacher education.[22] The process of producing the mentioned audio-podcasts in mathematics education facilitates reflection processes.

Scientific Learning: Podcasting is an emerging tool with a broad flexibility to deliver science-based information asynchronously in the online classroom or in online outreach programming.[13]

Journalism Education: School podcasts can be created to expose students to journalism and new-media concepts. Regularly released "news" podcasts can be released by a school group.[23]

Academic Journal Digests: The Society of Critical Care Medicine has a podcast used to update clinicians with summaries of important articles, as well as interviews.[24]

Supply Chain Management Education: In October 2007, Stephan Brady presented his paper on "Podcasting in Supply Chain Education" at the CSCMP Educators Conference, which outlined how podcasting could be used in and outside of the classroom for enhancing supply chain courses through blended, or hybrid learning.[25]

Anxiety: Podcasts have been used to solve problems with college students' anxiety by allowing professors' lectures to be accessed after class so the students would not have to worry about missing any of the material if absent or tardy. According to Anthony Chan & Mark J.W. Lee, "The advent of consumer-level digital multimedia hardware and software have prompted the more techno-logically inclined instructors and educational designers to construct CD-ROM based re-sources to engage and excite students using the richness and flexibility of text, graphics, sound, video, animation and interactive content, as well as the combination of these elements".[26]


Podcasting can be used as a part of a content marketing strategy.[27] Podcasts create brand fanatics, people who are deeply invested in who podcasters are as people and as business professionals. This is the essence of long-form content marketing. Every minute that a customer or prospect listens to a podcaster speak with authority the podcaster is establishing themselves as a thought-leader. Conceptually the more time an audience spends with the podcasters content the more authority the podcaster will acquire.[28]

Podcasting has been successful at reaching out to people who are out on the road through podcasts and that this more than an either-or kind of idea or decision, yet a coexisting strategy combining many different online marketing strategies like blogs e-books, and good websites". This shows that even podcasts do get hit with legal constraints, but can find ways around it due their lack of affiliation with the FCC.[29] They essentially bypass the entire industry.[30]

Public services[edit]

Podcasts have been used for advocacy. The 5,500 locked out staff of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were podcasting news and other programming during August and September 2005.[31][32]

Podcasts have been used by law enforcement. In 2020, both the Chambersburg Police department in Pennsylvania and the Mount Pleasant Police Department of South Carolina released a podcast in 2020 to provide a way for the community to get to know the department's officers.[33][34]

News outlets distribute supplemental audio or video via podcasts. For example, Wikinews began to podcast its News Briefs in 2005. Companies also use podcasts to distribute their multimedia news to journalists and consumers through companies like MultiVu. In 2006, the online magazine Slate began textcasting articles to their readers, by attaching a written article to a blank audio file and delivering the content to readers through their regular podcasting mechanism.[35]

Podcasts have been used for cultural or historic audio tours of cities. For example, there are audio tours of NYC,[36] Norwich Vermont,[37] and Mission Hills in San Diego.[38] Podcasts have also been used for unofficial audio tours of museums[39]

Podcasts have been used for local community news and issues. Podcasting has emerged as an effective independent outlet to share community stories of interest and engage on-demand with citizens on local issues.[40] Podcasting continues to be a growth medium, as 40% of Americans 12+ say they have ever listened to a podcast, while 24% say they have listened to one in the past month, up from 21% one year ago. In addition, six in ten Americans are now familiar with the term "podcasting," a number that has risen 22% in two years. With the longer format and on-demand nature, local community podcasting allows for independent reporting accessible to a wider audience and broader demographic than traditional media channels.[41][42]

Discussion venues[edit]

8% of podcasts in the United States as of 2023 have a "discussion forum or Discord server" for their fans.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hawk, Byron; Rieder, David M; Oviedo, Ollie O., eds. (2008). Small Tech: The Culture of Digital Tools. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9780816653850. OCLC 213436323.
  2. ^ Riddle, Johanna (2010). "Podcasting in the Classroom". Retrieved 19 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b O'Bannon, B.; Lubke, J.; Beard, J.; Britt, V. (2011). "Using podcasts to replace lecture: Effects on student achievement". Computers & Education. 57 (3): 1885–1892. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.04.001.
  4. ^ a b Warren, K (2011). "Utilising podcasts for learning and teaching: a review and ways forward for e-learning cultures". Management in Education. 26 (2): 52–57.
  5. ^ a b McFadden, A. (2008). Podcasting and really simple syndication (rss). Unpublished manuscript, College of Human Environmental Sciences Institute for Interactive Technology, The University of Alabama, Alabama, mississippi.
  6. ^ "More Teachers 'Flipping' The School Day Upside Down". NPR.org. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  7. ^ a b O'Bannon, B., Lubke, J., Beard, J., & Britt, V. (2011). Using podcasts to replace lecture: Effects on student achievement. Computers & Education, 1885–1892.
  8. ^ Copely, Jonathan (2007). "Audio and video podcasts of lectures for campus‐based students: production and evaluation of student use" (PDF). Innovations in Education and Teaching International. 44 (4): 387–399. doi:10.1080/14703290701602805. S2CID 62162520.
  9. ^ Hill, Jennifer; Nelson, Amanda; France, Derek; Woodland, Wendy (2012). "Integrating Podcast Technology Effectively into Student Learning: A Reflexive Examination". Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 36 (3): 437–454. doi:10.1080/03098265.2011.641171. S2CID 144984248.
  10. ^ a b Kay, Robin H (1 May 2012). "Exploring the use of video podcasts in education: A comprehensive review of the literature". Computers in Human Behavior. 28 (3): 820–831. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2012.01.011. ISSN 0747-5632.
  11. ^ Evans, Chris (1 February 2008). "The effectiveness of m-learning in the form of podcast revision lectures in higher education". Computers & Education. 50 (2): 491–498. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2007.09.016. ISSN 0360-1315.
  12. ^ Gatewood, K (2008). "Podcasting: Just the basics". ProQuest Education Journals. 44 (2): 90–93. doi:10.1080/00228958.2008.10516502. S2CID 62138990.
  13. ^ a b Strickland, Bronson K.; Brooke, Jarred M.; Zischke, Mitchell T.; Lashley, Marcus A. (2021). "Podcasting as a tool to take conservation education online". Ecology and Evolution. 11 (8): 3597–3606. doi:10.1002/ece3.7353. ISSN 2045-7758. PMC 8057326. PMID 33898012.
  14. ^ McFadden, A. (2008). Podcasting and really simple syndication (rss). Unpublished manuscript, College of Human Environmental Sciences Institute for Interactive Technology, The University of Alabama, Alabama, Mississippi.
  15. ^ Shamburg, C. (2009). Beyond podcasting:a paradigm shift. In Student-Powered Podcasting (pp. 4–12).
  16. ^ Shamburg, C. (2010). DIY podcasting in education. In Knobel, M & Lankshear, C. (Eds.), DIY Media: Sharing Creating and Learning with New Media (pp.51–75). New York: Peter Lang.
  17. ^ "Sound Education". Ministry of Ideas. Harvard Divinity School. Retrieved 2 February 2022.
  18. ^ Carliner, Saul; Shank, Patti (12 May 2016). The e-Learning Handbook: Past Promises, Present Challenges. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-119-26066-0.
  19. ^ "A Journey to Podcasting" (PDF).
  20. ^ "Der Domainname podcastmaschine.de steht zum Verkauf".
  21. ^ Klose, R. & Schreiber, Chr. (2013). PriMaPodcast – A tool for vocal representation. In SEMT Proceedings 2013.
  22. ^ "MathePodcast".
  23. ^ Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and the Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.
  24. ^ "SCCM – iCritical Care". www.sccm.org. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  25. ^ Stephan Brady. "Podcasting in Supply Chain Education" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2010.
  26. ^ Chan, A.; Lee, M. J. (2005). "An MP3 a day keeps the worries away: Exploring the use of podcasting to address preconceptions and alleviate pre-class anxiety amongst undergraduate information technology students". In DHR Spennemann; L. Burr (eds.). Good Practice in Practice: Proceedings of the Student Experience Conference. Wagga Wagga, NSW. pp. 58–70. CiteSeerX
  27. ^ "Guide: How to use podcasting in your content marketing campaign". Search Engine Watch. 25 June 2020. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  28. ^ "Podcasting as a Business Content Marketing Strategy – Search Engine Journal". 2 June 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  29. ^ Scott, D. M. (2009). The new rules of marketing and PR: how to use news releases, blogs, podcasting, viral marketing and online media to reach buyers directly. ISBN 9780470379288.
  30. ^ Green, H.; Lowry, T.; Yang, C.; Kiley, D. "The new radio revolution". Business WeekOnline. Archived from the original on 5 March 2005.
  31. ^ Parsons, Lee (3 September 2005). "Lockout at the CBC—"Canada's public broadcaster"". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  32. ^ Andrews, Robert (25 August 2005). "Locked-out journalists strike back online". Journalism.co.uk. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  33. ^ Liguori, Priscilla (5 November 2020). "ABC27 Exclusive: Chambersburg Police to release podcast to increase trust, transparency". Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  34. ^ "Mount Pleasant Police look to connect with community through new podcast". ABC News 4. 5 August 2020. Retrieved 28 December 2020.
  35. ^ Bowers, Andy (24 February 2006). ""Textcasting," Anyone?". Retrieved 30 March 2018 – via Slate.
  36. ^ "Discover LGBTQ History By Taking a Virtual Pride Tour of NYC's Greenwich Village". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  37. ^ Sauchelli, Liz (11 April 2020). "Out & About: Hear the history with a Norwich podcast tour". Valley News. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  38. ^ "Mission Hills Heritage to launch podcast walking tour series". San Diego Union-Tribune. 1 August 2020. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
  39. ^ Kennedy, Randy. 2005. "With Irreverence and an iPod, Recreating the Museum Tour." In The New York Times, 28 May 2005.
  40. ^ Samuels, Kelsey. "Look who's talking: Two women tell Plano's hidden stories in new podcast". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  41. ^ "Curious Characters: Inside Plano Podcast – Plano Magazine". 27 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  42. ^ "Podcasts with local focus can help stations own their markets". Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  43. ^ Atske, Sara (15 June 2023). "A Profile of the Top-Ranked Podcasts in the U.S." Pew Research Center. Retrieved 3 July 2023.