Stroll across any school campus these days and you’ll see iPods, MP3 players and other types of portable media devices everywhere you look. These trendy gadgets have become a way of life for today’s students and a growing number of educators are starting to capitalize on it through podcasting.

Pioneering a powerful new form of online communications, podcasting for educators has become an effective way of interacting with students outside of the traditional classroom. It enables the delivery of radio-quality content that can be listened to anytime, anywhere – even when students are not connected to a computer. But before incorporating it into the curriculum, it’s important to exam some of the benefits of podcasting for educators and how others are already using the technology to improve and expand the education of their students.

Universities were the first to embrace the technology, handing out iPods to freshman and making podcasts of lectures. At the K-12 level, teachers are just starting to explore the possibilities. But podcasting isn’t just about turning classroom lectures into online audio content. Many educators are turning PowerPoint presentations into podcasts, while others are using it to provide detailed audio explanations of frequently asked questions or as a tool for students to practice their vocabulary at home. Students can also create their own podcasts to interact with instructors or other students. In short, podcasting for educators adds a new dimension to teaching by making it a “cool” interactive communication between teachers and students

Parents also benefit from podcasting as it allows them to take a more active role in the children’s education. By simply programming their computers to automatically capture school broadcasts, they can keep track of how their children are doing in class and get the latest school announcements.

Educational radio stations online have also become popular these days. Quite a lot of colleges and universities have programs and educational radio stations online. Aside from the educational and talk radio programs, students also access educational radio stations online for up to date news in the campus.

The primary benefit of podcasting done by educators is quite simple. It enables teachers to reach students through a medium that is both “cool” and a part of their daily lives. For a technology that only requires a computer, microphone and internet connection, podcasting has the capacity of advancing a student’s education beyond the classroom. Educators need to perceive devices like iPods and other portable media devices not as distractions to learning, capitalize on it and turn them into effective tools for learning.