Thursday, 28 August 2014

Using audio in teaching and learning
The use of audio is well established in education and has been used for decades. From the humble audio cassettes of the 1970s, to accompanying nearly all video recordings, audio has a long history as a teaching and learning aid. Audio as a format has great breadth and depth which means there is great potential for its use in education.
The majority of uses for digital audio, to date, have been replicating traditional activities (e.g. recordings of lectures), yet this digital medium has the potential to offer much more. As use of digital learning technologies continues to grow around infrastructure (e.g. the virtual learning environment) and as teaching and learning pedagogy evolves within 'uniquely' digital contexts, we have begun to see new methods for using digital audio recordings within teaching and learning.
Some examples of using audio in education
Audio is a flexible medium which means that there are many applications within an educational context. The examples of audio uses below show that audio can be used either directly for teaching, e.g. an activity is formed around an audio resource, or as incidental activity where audio plays a minor role:
·         Providing student feedback using a voice recording that is sent to the learner either to supplement written feedback or as a replacement.
·         Student generated recordings which may be used as part of a learner activity or to record evidence.
·         Interviews with subject matter experts which can be listened to and used as primary sources of information or smaller and incidental uses. 

·         Public lectures are enjoyed live and face to face. The recordings can be repurposed for teaching material and used for different contexts and subjects. 
·         Live online discussions can be conducted via audio tools and platforms between two or more people and this facility is frequently used for distance learning.
·         Audio source materials from the past and present which can be used as part of a teaching activity. Oral history materials for example may be used by students to get a rich description of a past event.

Pedagogical uses for audio
·         To support learning through discussion – which are recorded for evidence
·         To support assessment through media enhanced feedback
·         Audio submitted student evidence - e.g. proof of collaboration
·         To summarize previous teaching
·         To enable students through repetition and practice to master certain skills or techniques
·         To make recordings of naturally occurring events, e.g. political speeches
·         To represent concepts and ideas
·         To update the course when the knowledge base changes
·         To facilitate discussion for distance learners, collaborative learning

·         For language teaching - helping to develop listening and speaking skills

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Why Use Video in the Classroom?

Teachers, who use instructional video report that their students retain more information, understand concepts more rapidly and are more enthusiastic about what they are learning. With video as one component in a thoughtful lesson plan, students often make new connections between curriculum topics, and discover links between these topics and the world outside the classroom.

Video is uniquely suited to:
  • take students on impossible field trips--inside the human body, or off to Jupiter
  • take students around the globe, to meet new people and hear their ideas
  • illustrate complex, abstract concepts through animated, 3-D images
  • show experiments that can't be done in class
  • bring great literature, plays, music, or important scenes from history into the room
By exploiting the medium's power to deliver lasting images, teachers can:

  • reach children with a variety of learning styles, especially visual learners, and students with a variety of information acquisition styles
  • engage students in problem-solving and investigative activities
  • begin to dismantle social stereotypes
  • help students practice media literacy and critical viewing skills
  • provide a common experience for students to discuss
Audio As a Teaching Tool

We often ask students to listen. We might be lecturing, playing a music recording, or teaching about heart arrhythmia. Each situation requires students to pay attention, and to develop a specific type of listening skill.
Today, we can reproduce a wide range of aural experiences and distribute them easily over the Internet to provide students with "anytime, anywhere" exposure to content, along with increased opportunities to practice the skills we'd like them to learn.

"I learn to see things from different perspectives and listen with different ears. The most important thing that you need to do is really listen." - Itzhak Perlman

Why use audio?
Audio can be used in numerous academic contexts, from music and language instruction to archival recordings of lectures (we'll take a look at a "field recording" example below). Making audio content available online can be an excellent way to reach students, who can listen from any location and at any time via the Internet. Students increasingly expect this content to be available to them, and, fortunately, the means of distribution are increasingly becoming easier to use.
Some reasons you might consider offering audio recordings to your students:
·         To provide students with a study aid they can review after lecture;
·         To enable students to review the lecture in preparation for discussion and debate;
·         To use on an ongoing basis as a reference for students;
·         To free up class time for discussion. Making recorded lectures available before class meetings makes more time available for discussion and hands-on activities.

There are a few potential pitfalls to keep in mind.
First, because students are listening at their convenience, their ability to ask questions or participate in discussion is limited; faculty may want to offer an online space or designate a portion of class time for this purpose.
Second, the visual cues that may accompany in-person delivery are generally lost, unless special efforts are made to capture and synchronize them with the audio track.

Third, many faculty fears that providing content online may limit students' attendance in class, but we have found that this is generally not the case, as have others (Copley, 2007).