During the last 15 years, a lot of podcasts have been made to help students improve their English skills. These sound and video files, mostly available free of charge at iTunes Store, can be downloaded into smart phones and computers, where they can be listened to at any time and any place. Unfortunately, most of the podcasts are aimed at intermediate- and higher-level English learners.
This paper describes a new set of podcast materials designed at Hiroshima University for lower-level English students. The most interesting characteristic of the materials is that they utilize “shadowing.” Shadowing is a technique for learning English in which students repeat utterances immediately after they hear them. The effectiveness and popularity of shadowing drills in Japan is described in this paper. Also, a survey was conducted to determine which type of podcasts university freshmen like. It was found that most freshmen preferred simpler podcast materials, containing Japanese support and shadowing exercises.