Yesterday it occurred to me that podcasting is going on five years of age. Back in 2005 or so folks like Adam Curry and Ron Bloom promoted early forms of podcasting with Podshow Inc, now known as Mevio. In the hyper accelerated time-line of the web, five years is a really long time.
During the past five years podcasting enjoyed its surge in growth and then seemed to level off. Topics have ranged from opinions, music, re-broadcasts of mainstream media, social causes, news and niche items of interest (the long tail of information). The one use of podcasting I’ve always been interested in is it’s role in education as a teaching & learning tool. As a matter of fact, that’s how I became involved with podcasting and its potential in the first place.
Podcasting has been used by elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and post secondary colleges and universities as a supplement to traditional learning tools. In some cases it is the primary delivery method of course content. Colleges and Universities are always scrambling for donations or enrollment so marketing is a key activity which podcasting fits in well with. Thanks to educators with vision and the desire to teach their students some ad hoc podcasting efforts have been taken and championed in schools around the world. If your school or college or district hasn’t embraced podcasting yet, don’t worry – it’s not too late.
A few years ago when I was out promoting my podcast production services, I asked a senior technology manager in education if podcasting was part of their strategy. His reply was, “No, there is no demonstrated business value for such things.” I nodded my head and thought, “Not if you run your operation like it’s still 1978.” I wish I had said it out loud, not as an insult but as advice and a guide to a changing way of thinking. About the same time another senior education administrator said no to podcasting on advice of their lawyer. “We might get sued.”, was the reason. My efforts then turned to podcasting for business as a marketing tool but one of the catch phrases I came up with from my experiences in education was,
“You might not listen to podcasts (or insert your favourite social media here) but they do!“
Of course ‘they’ are your potential or current customers and in keeping with the theme here: your students.
Since then a lot has changed. Podcasting in education has been around long enough now to build business cases for its demonstrated value as a teaching tool and as a marketing tool. Some of the earlier technological and cultural roadblocks have faded away or have even been smashed to bits in pursuit of innovation in education. It’s not too late to introduce podcasting into your school.
I’ll start work on a white-paper for podcasting in education and share it here on my blog but in the meantime here’s a white-paper on Making The Case For Podcasting as a marketing and communications tool. A little dated (2008) but still relevant.
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