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Wikis in the Workplace
Blogging for Business
Podcasting for Professional Learning
VideoBlogging Value
Rich Media Content Construction Kits

Podcasting for Professional Learning

Audio blogging is an offshoot of blogging that implies the use of audio. In fact, the audio becomes the focus of the blog: though text is often also present, it is only there are meta-data. The actual XML feed behind podcasting is essentially identical to that behind an RSS feed, with the addition of the attachment of MP3 files to the 'items'. Services exist, particularly in the USA, to enable users to phone in their recordings. We set up such a service to enable a mountaineer to record an audio blog during his ascent of Everest, in the Spring of 2005, using a satellite phone. Taking modern, mobile, wireless computing technology (PDAs and the more advanced cellphones) to the extreme, we have mobologging (mobile blogging): the creation of audio blog entries whilst on the move. Moblogs often include photos too, but aren't necessarily aimed at playback on portable devices. The name 'Podcasting' is a result of the dominance of Apple's iPod device (podcasts do not require an iPod for playback since they use a common file format) and podcasting is just a trendy name for audio blogging. Unlike the files purchased through online download services like iTunes, the audio file attached to audio blogs contain no rights management or copy protection systems. Some people (eg: http://www.edtechtalk.com/) are using podcasts as a way of offering replays of web-hosted audio conferences or brainstorming sessions although, as they tend to be fairly long events with no meta-tagging of content, finding a particular part of the conversation is pretty much impossible. iPods are very small, portable devices - smaller even than the cassette Walkman - which therefore lend themselves to learning on the move. One area of teaching to which podcasting particularly lends itself is languages, (Godwin-Jones, 2005).

Other links

Directories

A number of websites exist where you can promote your blog.

RSS Examples

Below are some examples of RSS feeds. The prolearn network is now using RSS for all its news syndication. News items using this standard can come from a variety of sources and be aggregated together to make a single feed, (Pilgirm, 2002)

An RSS news feed, showing a single news item is show below as xml. The attachment of an image is a little unusual - RSS feeds often don't include any media. The ? symbols indicate characters from a non-English character set which often cannot be represented in RSS (note that the URL to the enclosure has been shortened to fit the screen):

<?xml version="1.0" ?>
<rss version="2.0">
  <channel>
    <title>KMi Planet</title>
    <link>http://sixfields.open.ac.uk/rostra/news.php?r=6</link>
    <description>News stories from KMi</description>
    <language>en-gb</language>
    <lastBuildDate>Mon,  5 Dec 2005 10:15:45 +0000</lastBuildDate>
    <generator>ROSTRA</generator>
    <docs>http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss</docs>
    <item>
      <title>Hypermedia Discourse ? La Sorbonne,...</title>
      <description>This week La Sorbonne, Universit? de Paris IV hosted the 
        International Workshop on Annotation for Collaboration, sponsored
        by CNRS, the French National Research Council.  {more}.</description>
      <link>http://news.kmi.open.ac.uk/rostra/news.php?r=6&t=2&id=787</link>
      <pubDate>Fri, 25 Nov 2005 11:53:00 +0000</pubDate>
      <author>s.buckingham.shum@open.ac.uk (Simon Buckingham Shum)</author>
      <category>Event Participation/Organization</category>
      <enclosure url='http:// ... /media/a4c_00778.jpg'
       length='24532' type='image/jpeg' />
    </item>
  </channel>
</rss>

A section of a podcast feed, showing a single item with its audio file attachment. Notice there is considerably less text than a normal RSS feed:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<rss version="2.0">
  <channel>
    <title>RSS2 Feed from Berrill Webcasts Stadium</title>
    <link>http://stadium.open.ac.uk/berrill/</link>
    <description>Events broadcast from the Berrill Building at
      the OU</description>
    <language>en-gb</language>
    <lastBuildDate>Fri,  4 Nov 2005 13:46:40 +0000</lastBuildDate>
    <generator>KMi Stadium</generator>
    <docs>http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss</docs>
    <item>
    <title>Engineering workplace cultures: men's spaces and (in)visible women?
      - This lecture is given as part of  a special event to launch the course:
      Science, engineering and technology: a course for women returners
      ( T160).</title>
    <description> The lecture will be introduced by Annette Williams,
     Director of the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET. The lecture
      is based on an ESRC funded ethnographic study entitled; Genders
       in/of Engineering.</description>
    <link>http://stadium.open.ac.uk/stadia/preview.php?s=1&whichevent=679</link>
    <pubDate>Thu,  3 Nov 2005 13:30:00 +0000</pubDate>
    <enclosure url='http:// ... /20051103_1330_engineering_32k.mp3'
      length='24659978' type='audio/mp3' />
    </item>
  </channel>
</rss>

It is also quite easy to change the 'teacher' or team leader use of such technologies into a 'shared learner' one.

Scenario : Learner centric use of podcasts
A team member working on assessing energy efficiency on a remote chemical plant, how useful might it be to capture and share your thoughts about a damaging and expensive steam leak you see? What the simple phone-to-web-to-blog technology permits is for you to capture and share this experience right there and then - with an ordinary mobile phone, and with minimal technology in the way! The Business Blog would capture it to your web-site and your community could then share it. With a little further development in presence and instant messaging technologies (and on a slightly smarter phone) you could pull your working team colleagues into a live meeting, there and then, to make a real learning impression.
"Hey team I think something is wrong in this picture, what do you think?"


Contact: Kevin Quick

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