One of my favorite tools for gaining information and for being even self-educated are podcasts. Though, i am not fully acquainted with podcasts, i don’t know (yet) the history of podcasting,and when they are start being used as language learning tool.
However, i was reading several articles about research on improving language and communication skills via using podcasts. I found out that research showed different results; in one of the articles research shows that podcasts benefit in language learning, while the other research shows that using podcasts and being limited only with using this tool will not improve student’s language learning abilities.
In my opinion, everything is based on population you are working with, and how podcasts are introduced to that particular population. From my experience from speaking course, i can say that podcasts helped me a lot in choosing audio for my speech preparation. The only problem with podcasting is to know exactly what you are looking for. For instance, I have podcast in my ipad and iphone as well. The funny thing is, that i know what i want to listen to in my iphone, but i don’t know what to search for in my ipad.
With the help of podcasts the learning process just happens. I was practicing my Korean language during summer break, and interestingly enough podcast-Korean course helped me a lot. I was listening to Korean course and at the same time i was doing manicure , so “learning just happens” in this case. Though, at first i was using notes to remember some weird and unusual words.
I would love using podcasts in my teaching. But i would introduce my students to see podcasting as part of their everyday life. To use podcasts not just because teacher assigned them to listen, but because it is one of their life part, they just should listen, whenever cooing, relaxing, even when lying on bed and preparing to sleep.