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Weekly Use of Original English-Learning Podcasts in Classrooms
In this paper, a classroom practice using Hiroshima University's English Podcast and the survey results are reported. The research was conducted in two classes of Enokida's "Challenging TOEIC", TOEIC-oriented courses, in 2010. The group consisted of 95 second-year students from the faculties of Engineering, Science, and Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University. CALL rooms were used as classrooms, and Moodle as a learning management system. Ten to 20 minutes in every lesson were dedicated to listening activities, using a part of the latest episodes from "Easy English Conversation". Activities such as comprehension check, dictation, role playing, and summarizing were given based on paper worksheets, which were later digitized into pdf format and also "podcasted" on iTunes. Outside the classroom, students were instructed to listen to the whole episode on Moodle to prepare for quizzes on it in the following lesson. They were also required to listen outside the classroom to six episodes they chose from Hiroshima University's English Podcast, and to submit their "listening logs" on Moodle. A questionnaire survey on English learning using podcasts was conducted at the end of the term. The results of this classroom practice are reported, in comparison with the ones found in the previous research conducted in Enokida (2009), and emphasis is also put on the students' feedback in the questionnaire.
The following conclusions were reached: 1) By learning with originally-developed podcasts in classrooms during the course period, many students showed positive attitudes toward learning English with podcasts. 2) Many of them realized the benefits of podcasts and even felt improvement in their listening abilities. 3) Yet, certain points focused on by the teacher were not sufficiently learned by students. 4) It was difficult to give the same learning materials to students of various levels.
From this classroom practice, the following questions arise: 1) How can podcasts be systematically incorporated into a course syllabus? 2) Would it be effective to develop a variety of contents according to learners' levels? 3) Would it be beneficial to students if some of the episodes were written and recorded by themselves?
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