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Jul 08

Learning Chinese Through Podcasts

Learning Chinese Through Podcasts

by Praveen Sequira

The term Podcast is a combination of two words, iPod and broadcast. The credit of the word can be given to Adam Curry who was instrumental in creating the application AppleScript that helps to download the audio files to iPod, a revolutionary music player that was invented by the Apple and changed the way we listen to music forever.

While podcasting was introduced to aid the iPod owners, technology has taken it much further today. These days any computer with a sound card and mp3 players of all kinds can be used to listen to podcasts.

Podcasting typically refers to a broadcast that’s recorded digitally and made available online to be downloaded to a person’s audio player. Podcasting became popular in 2003 and lots of websites started offering their content in this format. The trend caught on rapidly and today one cannot even imagine an internet without it.

The advantage of podcasting over other formats is its ability to download automatically using software such as RSS. Initially every blogger worth his salt, put a podcast on his site to attract more traffic. Now of course corporations and lots of educational sites these days use podcasting to enable easy learning and many Chinese language sites offer it free.

There are lots of benefits of using this technology if you want to learn Chinese through music you can download music on the iPod .For people who want to take their learning outside the classes, podcasting helps them to download the lectures and discussions in the classroom and later listen to it at leisure. For slow learners it’s a boon as they can rewind and listen repeatedly till they get it right.

Anyone can become a broadcaster with basic hardware and some software knowledge. A simple microphone, a headset is all that’s needed for hardware. There are a lot of software available online which can used to produce the broadcast. The last but not the least is a web space, which would host your finished file. This is how many educational sites are able to offer free online audio lessons.

However there are always two sides of a coin. While podcasting has been touted as the most popular and easy way of educational learning, there are many features that defeat the very purpose of its existence.

First and foremost, most students listen to the players while traveling or when they are outside the classes, so they aren’t able to concentrate due to the noise around and cannot take the notes for further learning. For that reason alone, the class room lectures are not recommended for broadcasting.

Besides that, while recording, it can catch any background sound that’s present at that time, causing it to be unclear when loaded. Also its not interactive, students can only listen and sometimes have queries that go unanswered. There are other methods available on the net that help better learning and though podcast is here to stay, it may not be the best way of learning the Chinese language which needs a lot more interaction on part of the faculty as well as the student.