One would tend to think that podcasts are for those who don’t like reading and prefer an audio book instead. However, for the student community, podcasts and podcast transcription are useful learning tools. In an article published in The Atlantic, a teacher describes his positive experience with the podcast in the classroom, saying that it increased students’ engagement with a relevant and timely story, encouraged them to ask questions, and motivated them to use critical thinking. He found that podcast transcripts are a game-changer in the classroom as they actually encouraged students to read!
According to TeachersPayTeachers.com, annual downloads of lessons based on podcasts increased by 21 percent in 2014 and by 650 percent in 2015. Podcasts of lectures are similar to flash cards and offer many benefits for students who are active listeners:
- Students can listen to them on the way to class and in between classes
- Listening to podcasts reinforces the learning experience
- Different sections of the lecture can be replayed
- Recording the lecture offers a backup to written notes
- Any gaps in notes can be filled up by listening to the podcast
Audio transcription enhances the experience so that most students now prefer to listen to a podcast with a transcript on the screen rather than a podcast alone. The teacher found that there are many reasons for the popularity of the podcast-transcript combination:
- Many students said that reading along with the audio helps focus and prevents them from being distracted while listening.
- Having a transcript allows them to multi-task as they could take notes or write on their worksheets and follow with the story even with their eyes off the screen.
- If there was something they did not understand, they could re-read it.
- Transcripts allow them to read ahead and take down a quote while they listened to it.
- Podcast transcription allows students with English as a second language to read the words and also learn how they were pronounced.
- Students with vision problems could take reading breaks while continuing to listen to the audio.
In 2010, the Boston Globe reported on how mass literacy in India soared through television shows with “Same Language Subtitling” (SLS). According to the report, SLS “acted as a catalyst to quadruple the rate at which completely illiterate adults become proficient readers”.
Transcribing episodic series of video, radio audios, or ePub files into text requires special skills to capture and input the tenor and focus as it features in the podcast. Many educational sites rely on audio transcription service companies for quality transcripts of audio clips to include along with their lesson plans.