British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Podcasting for Learning in Universities

Podcasting for Learning in Universities edited by Gilly Salmon and Palitha Edirisingha (Open University Press, 2008), 248 pages ISBN: 978-0335234295 (paperback), £24.99; ISBN: 978-0335234288 (hardback), £65.00

About the reviewers:

sspal_john_pymm_mJohn Pymm is Dean of the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure at the University of Wolverhampton. John was appointed as Dean of the School in February 2007 and is excited by the enormous opportunities open to the School, in particular the building of The Performance Hub – a brand new Performing Arts and Learning Centre on the Walsall Campus, scheduled to open in 2011, which will provide a state-of-the-art facility for staff and students and a brand new home for the School. He is the group leader for the University’s Podagogy research group, which is investigating the educational uses and impact of the iPod in Higher Education. He is also active in two other research areas: assessment in the performing arts and the music of Steve Reich.

Crispin Dale_mDr Crispin Dale is Principal Lecturer in the School of Sport, Performing Arts and Leisure at the University of Wolverhampton. Crispin’s research has focused on strategic management and business development in the tourism, hospitality, sport and events industries. Crispin has published books on business development and facilities management and chapters on business planning and strategy for sports, hospitality and events organisations. He has also researched the impact of contemporary strategic management issues on small tourism enterprises in the expanding European Union. Crispin is also involved in dark tourism research and more specifically the mobility of the dark tourism experience. He has also conducted extensive research on the pedagogic use of iPod and Virtual Learning Environment technologies.

The podcasting phenomenon recently sweeping Higher Education has provoked considerable reaction in the media, much of it predicated on the notion that students will now take every opportunity to lie-in and listen later. So an evaluation of the usefulness of podcasting by so preeminent an authority on learning technologies as Gilly Salmon promises a timely yet considered academic perspective on the development. Though not exclusively, the focus of the book is based upon a HEA-supported IMPALA (Informal Mobile Podcasting and Learning Adaptation) project.

In refreshing contrast to the number of self-help manuals available for wannabe podcasters, Salmon and Edirisingha offer a thorough and detailed understanding of podcasting practices in Higher Education. The opening chapters offer a useful theoretical context to the emergence and impact of podcasting, including a review of previous podcasting practice and research, much of it offering a realistic assessment of what part podcasting should play in the overall blend of learning and teaching approaches.

9780335234295This includes using podcasting in lecturing, for assessment feedback, as a fieldwork tool and for reflective and collaborative learning. The authors offer a range of case studies to report the use of podcasting within their given context.  Each is presented with a light touch that does not wear its scholarship on its sleeve as and such offers a readable academic underpinning for the HE community. Yet there is no uncritical acceptance of podcasting and there is frequent acknowledgement of its limitations as well as its potential to transform learning and there is a good balance between being ‘dazzled by technology’ and developing a clear vision of how the gadgetry can support learning.

Salmon and Edirisingha provide a balance of practice-based research with strong academic underpinning. The majority of examples are based upon either audio or video podcasts and more examples on enhanced podcasting using mac-based platforms would have had the potential for further enlivening the book. The rapid progress of technology also means that the additional features of the iPod touch and the iPhone fall outside the scope of the book, as does the most recent – and arguably the most revolutionary – development, Apple’s rolling-out of iTunesU with its potential to return to the dissemination of scholarship within and outside the Academy. However, these are but minor criticisms.

Overall, the book contributes to the body of knowledge on eLearning and social networking theory and enables a wide readership to consider best practice models for effective podcasting. Indeed, it would be no overstatement to say that the book conveys to the reader an authority in the application of podcasting in HE. An accompanying website with supporting materials enables further accessibility to the text and provides a range of live examples. The editors and contributing authors should be commended for producing an excellent text that will be an invaluable resource to anyone interested in the practice and research of podcasting.

John Pymm / Crispin Dale

Delicious Save this on Delicious |