Title: Podcasting Possibilities: Increasing Time and Motivation in the Language Learning Classroom
Author: Sean William John McMinn
Generally, this article is about the possibility of using podcast in language learning classroom in order to maximize time spent on as well as increasing students’ motivation in learning and practicing a target language. This is because the time allocated for language learning is not enough for a teacher to cover all the topics and for the students to practice in the classroom setting. What is worst is that students often do not have the motivation to practice the language outside of the classroom. Thus, podcasting is one of the answers to this continuing problem. Podcasting is the publishing of audio or video via the Internet, designed to be downloaded and listened to on a portable mp3 player of any type, or on a personal computer. Its advantage is that its mobility which allows students to bring it everywhere and listen to it anytime. This stretch out the time students spent to practice on the language. Besides, it is a technology all students are familiar with and they use it on a daily basis as claimed by Campbell . Barnnes, Marateo and Ferris  called these students Net Geners who values education though they learn in a different way compared to their ancestors Furthermore, podcasting is considered to be a part of m-learning in which Tynan and Colbarn  stated that m-learning is different from eLearning because it allows learner to learn outside the classroom setting and or away from the computer. Thus, with all these advantages, the author believes that with right guidance and assignments, podcasting can be used as a means to create powerful analytical and synthetic work to language learner by creating a borderless classroom and increasing the students’ time to be engaged in learning the target language. Apart from stretching out the time to learn and practice the language, podcasting also has other educational benefits in terms of providing students’ the potential for a world-wide audience, giving students purpose and motivation to create better product. This meaningful experience will be a motivation factor and is stimulating enough for learners.
To apply podcasting effectively, it us put into four different categories based on its purpose; ESL podcasts, native-English podcasts, podcasts focusing on test preparation and student produced podcasts. Each podcasts aims to teach English as a second language through audio lessons, through authentic contexts, through test preparation and through task to be produced. The HKUST Language Centre’s Campus Beat podcast is used as an example to show how podcasting can be applied to English language teaching and learning, create more interaction outside of the classroom and provide more practical and worthy practice to second language learners. The article stated that a student who is involved in the Campus Beat module said that the module is a success and a creative ways of improving one’s language skills in which the student thoroughly enjoyed.
This article captured my interest because in my opinion using my mp3 or personal computer is just another cool way to learn a language. The size of an mp3 is so small and light thus making it easy to be carried everywhere. I can listen to the podcast anytime and learn at the same time in a more relaxing and fun way. In general, I believe podcasting will solve the problem of time constraint and lack of motivation in learning a second language. The only drawback is that not all students can afford buying an mp3 or personal computer as tools to listen to the podcast especially in Malaysian context concerning on the students in rural areas. I also agree with O’Bryan and Hegelheimer  that integrating podcasting into the curriculum is in need but it should not be the centre of attention in an English language course. Probably because podcasting might lead the students to be preoccupied with the way they produce and present it and this might take away the time to practice on other aspects of the language.