Annotating podcasts

I came across some technical development work on podcasting that might be interesting to both teachers and students.

As we know, podcasting is becoming quite an appealing technology for educators – the easiness of creating, accessing and using them and many more. However one of the limitations of a sound or a video file is not being able to index sections of a podcast or to insert comments on the media file.

Mike Wald, Shakeel Khoja and their colleagues at Southampton University have looked at this issue and, with funding from JISC, have developed a system called Synote (http://www.synote.ecs.soton.ac.uk/) to improve the usability of sound and video files. Matthew Wheeler and I shared a seminar session with Shakeel at a recent JISC conference where the colleagues demonstrated Synote tool.

As the Southampton colleagues mentioned, approaches such as tagging can help us to find podcasts related to a particular interest, it is difficult to find specific locations within a podcast using tags alone. Synote system is a bookmarking and annotation system for audio and video files. So for example, a tutor can insert comments (as text) on a podcast produced by a student as part of assessment. Students can insert their own notes on podcasts; these can then be shared with their peer groups as additional resources for learning.

From the range of questions raised by the audience at the JISC conference I can see that there is some really good educational uses of Synote to improve the approaches to using podcasting for learning.

Palitha Edirisingha, 17 March 2009

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