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Lee, M., McLoughlin, C., & Chan, A. (2008).

Talk the talk: Learner-generated podcasts as catalyts for knowledge creation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(3), 501-521.

In this article, the authors report research that explores the use of student-generated podcasts as a tool for collaborative knowledge creation: a departure from the common use of podcasts as teacher-centred audio recordings of lectures for future dissemination. The reader is educated in the pedagogical potential of podcasts, a term first coined by Adam Curry by combining ipod with broadcast, which are simple to use and produce, reusable, engaging, and educationally focussed. The authors make a distinction in the pedagogical use of podcasts in this study as a medium for student-producers to learn from the knowledge construction and collaborative processes involved in creating podcasts and not just from listening to podcasts. The authors provide a theoretical framework of constructivist and collaborative learning theories for the basis of their study. The study consists of a small group of university students, having completed their first semester, recruited to work in groups of 2 or 3 to create short, content-specific digital audio clips for future cohorts. The intended outcomes are outlined for both the student-producers and future students: enable student-producers to reinforce previously learned material and develop skills in digital technology and teamwork; and provide future students with pre-class material to increase confidence in subject matter and class participation. Data was gathered on knowledge building processes and sociocognitive dynamics through focus-group interviews and analysis of the learning objects created. Results suggest benefits afforded by student engagement in collaborative construction of podcasts are evidenced in social processes and learning.

Given the small sample size, the reader is cautioned against making generalized conclusions. In addition, there are potential limitations in the use of focus groups: capturing what participants claim they think or do instead of what is actually observed; and the possibility of group think, where participants follow the opinions of others. The authors do not describe the process of analyzing learning objects or provide links to sample podcasts. Finally, the effects of the use of the student-generated podcasts by future students, is not captured in this study. Despite the limitations, the authors present an innovative pedagogical use of podcasts, consistent with social constructivist theories, which suggests the true potential of podcasting technology lies in the knowledge creation value, and its use as a vehicle for disseminating learner generated content (p. 504).