Wednesday, October 26, 2005

ELearn 2005 - Casting

BCIT in a project that saw them work together with an institution in Croatia took a look at what the addition of voice to their distance education courses would do. Based on Moore’s ideas of transactional distance (more flashbacks to the Masters work) and Garrison, Anderson & Archer’s work on the Community of Inquiry Model, they thought (and in the end found) that voice would be a humanizing or presence increasing addition to their distance education when used in a focused manner. They used recordings as part of the feedback they gave to their students when returning assignments. The students really appreciated the recordings and said that it was a great aid to them as the text unfriendly, voice-centric elements of feedback came through effectively. Students felt that the voice gave greater detail and insight was carried with the voice as opposed to simple text. In their presentation they mentioned that they were inspired by podcasts. Wes’s presentation on podcasting... “Podcasting as Disruptive Transmediation” talked about the ability of podcasting (audio only here, not a mish-mash or other digital doodles – note the Apple-centric use of pod – Jobs, Ive and Co called the iPod the pod for a reason – there is more there than just audio). I have to provide a disclaimer here. I’m not the biggest fan of podcasting as to me it seems that it’s just something that is being built up as being the next panacea for education, when it’s really nothing more than a digital version of a book on tape (in the audio that is), but what is different is the way in which the material is accessible (the Internet) and portable (as opposed to RCAcasting). Thinking back to my childhood, CBC Radio was almost all we listened to and they had long voice only programs that had us riveted, and even today books on CD are great ways to pass time in a car or while doing chores. Having said that, I do see where it can be used wisely. That wise use is in the training of students to deal with and create the multitudes of media that assail them everyday, and make use of (forgive me if this is ethnocentric) the power of storytelling and the great oral tradition of human learning. Acquiring this additional literacy (audio) can only be a good thing as it will enable them to interact with their ever changing world. Being part of the oral tradition provides another way for students to express themselves in a manner that is complementary to the traditional text. Wes echoed this in his presentation. So it’s good to see that even in my caution, I’m looking at this phenomena the right way. In a round about manner – the Hawaii group are really just videocasting (if they could find a portable device that supports their files – a key to the “castability” podcasting is that you have to be free to move (anyone see more mlearning ala Africa and Asia where phones and PDAs are able to support entire degrees?). They are using utilities that are free and easy as well. I would say that the highlight sessions for me today tied together pretty well. Technorati Tags: ,