The 2005 Word of the Year: Podcast
Skiba, Diane J., Nursing Education Perspectives
IN DECEMBER, the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary declared podcast the 2005 word of the year. They defined the term as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player" (1,2). Just a year ago, you probably only heard this word if your teenager wanted an ipod as a present. Now it is part of the mainstream of our global community. Lest you think podcasts are only for young adults, this article will highlight how podcasting has infiltrated higher education, health care, and other aspects of our global community. The impact of podcasting is another example of the flattening of the world mentioned by Dr. Toni Bargagliotti in her President's Message in this issue of Nursing Education Perspectives (3).
What Is a Podcast? According to Wikipedia, "A podcast is a web feed of audio or video files placed on the Internet" (4). Some websites allow direct download of their podcasts while others offer subscription feeds that automatically deliver new podcasts. The subscription feed of automatically delivered new content is what distinguishes a podcast from a simple download or real-time streaming.
Following are some other distinctions:
* Podcasts are in an archived format that allows for listening, and now viewing, at a later point in time. Streaming is usually a live event or, if archived, only available for a predetermined amount of time.
* Podcasts allow the user to capture files for playing on mobile devices such as iPods or other MP3 players. Streaming usually requires connection to a computer and the Internet.
* Podcasts are convenient. You can listen to them through your mobile devices while commuting to work, jogging, working out, or while traveling on an airplane.
* Podcasting, normally associated with audio, is now expanding to include video. For more information about the mechanics of podcasts and podcasting, a valuable reference, "7 Things You Should Know About Podcasting" is available online at the EDUCAUSE Resource Center (www.educause.edu/LibraryDetailPage/ 666?ID=ELI7003).
Uses for Podcasting in Higher Education
Before we jump to examples in higher education, you need to understand the broader social context of this phenomenon. Podcasts are considered to be part of what Friedman calls Globalization 3.0 (5). They are specifically related to two of the 10 forces that Friedman states are flattening the world: #9, in-forming, and #10, being on steroids (digital, mobile, personal, and virtual).
According to Friedman, in-forming is "the ability to build and deploy your own personal supply chain ... of information, knowledge and entertainment. In-forming is about self-collaboration--becoming your own self-directed researcher, editor and selector" (5, p. 153). Podcasting is also part of the whole Web 2.0 movement (6) and the notion of collective intelligence. It is also important for us to remember that our net generation students are very accustomed to podcasting. It is how they get their entertainment and even their news.
Perhaps the increasing importance of podcasting is best captured in recent articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education. First, the Chronicle reported that during the EDUCAUSE annual conference in November 2005, disaster recovery, security, e-portfolios, and podcasting were the top issues discussed (7), with EDUCAUSE announcing its own venture into podcasting and the availability of podcast interviews. Second, in a series of articles about higher education in 2015, Strout reported that the "class of 2005 departed their campuses as the most tech-savvy classes to date" and that communications with alumni in the future will involve podcasting, blogs, and wikis (8). There is no doubt in my mind that podcasting will be transformative, not only in education but also in health care delivery.
Perhaps the most obvious use of podcasts in higher education is the recording of lectures. …