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Use of 'podcasting' as an educational tool makes inroads in India
Many city-based schools and higher educational institutions have started using podcasting on the Internet to promote what they and their teachers and students do, both for publicity and instructional purposes. The pace at which podcasting is advancing in India is a bit slow; nonetheless, it has made inroads through institutional websites and individuals' blogs. The word 'podcast' is a neologism derived from 'broadcast' and 'pod' from the success of the iPod.

These days, podcasting is being considered as a modern but inexpensive technology-mediated aid that allows both teachers and students to share their knowledge, information, work and experiences with a larger audience over the Internet.

As an educational aid, some well meaning institutions are webcasting the audio recordings of lectures, supplementary information to lectures and providing opportunities to students to practice, rehearse and make better oral presentations of their work.

A podcast is more like a radio show or audio show, which instead of being broadcast live is recorded before and then distributed over the Internet. Currently, thousands of educational podcasts on specific topics are available on the Internet. Some podcasts are free while for some others one has to subscribe to listen on the software like iPodder and iTunes on computer and / or mp3 player.

If the institutional functionaries, teachers, educators and students are trained in electronic media related literacy skills like writing scripts, taking interviews, speaking and listening skills, and  basic Information and Communication Technology (ITC) skills, they can do a reasonably good job at producing satisfactory podcasts.

Since most city-based institutions have their own websites, they can make their own make it more informative and educative through podcasting easily. To make a beginning, the basic equipment is a computer with recording ability using a microphone and some recording software. The good news is that the audacity in podcasting is free and allows you to record your show and then export it as an mp3 file to me upload to the website.

The instructional material in the form of well scripted and presented lectures, interviews with the subject experts, students' work and institutional news are some ways of informing students and other stakeholders what is going on in the institution.

Thus, podcast, which can be used as a digital instructional medium consists of an episodic series of audio or radio material that can be easily streamed online to a computer or mobile device and can also be downloaded for later use.

According to Richard Berry – a noted advocate of instructional podcasting, cautions that podcasting is both a converged medium bringing together audio, the web and portable media player, and a disruptive technology that has caused some in the radio business to reconsider some established practices and preconceptions about audiences, consumption, production and distribution. He has suggested that the institutional and students' produced podcast should be meaningful and relevant by following the pedagogical principles leading to learning.

Some educational institutions have switched over to 'enhanced podcasts' that are displaying images simultaneously with audio for various lessons with chapter markers and hyperlinks in the form of serialized podcast audio-books. Some NGOs are also using community podcasts to facilitate members of the community to contribute to the podcast in many different ways for mutual learning through online shared experiences.

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