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Vodcasts for Teaching and Learning

Elaine Gale (Special Education)

SPED 730 (Educating Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students) covers the history of theories, philosophies, and models of practice in the education of students who are deaf and hard of hearing. Students are expected not only to learn theoretical information, but also to acquire technical skills that will help them become effective teachers. Elaine Gale has been a user and creator of video podcasts (vodcasts) for instruction in American Sign Language for several semesters. For her FITT project, Professor Gale decided to build upon her positive experience using vodcasts in the past. She focused on two of the three main categories of podcasts currently used in academia--instructor-created materials and student-created assignments.

Professor Gale used PowerPoint, QuickTime Pro and iMovie to create vodcasts as supplement lectures that highlight important course information. These vodcasts were made available to students via Blackboard. Professor Gale used insights gained as a vodcast author to guide her students in the creation of vodcasts to demonstrate their skills and knowledge.

Students in SPED 730 are required to complete a research assignment on one of the debates in Deaf and Hard of Hearing education (e.g., Educational settings: Residential vs. mainstreaming, Cochlear implants: To implant or not implant). The assignment includes a paper, a 20-minute presentation, and a 5-minute vodcast using PowerPoint. To help her students complete the assignment, Professor Gale created a sample vodcast and instructional materials on how to add captions into PowerPoint presentations. She also scheduled workshops on effective design of PowerPoint slides and on adding captions and voice-overs. Workshop instructions were posted on the Blackboard course site.  Professor Gale evaluated students' assignments using a rubric that included organization, ideas, references, visual enhancements, readability, delivery, captioning, and mechanics as evaluation criteria.

Professor Gale's article "Teaching a Foreign Language with Video Podcast Assignments: Examples from an American Sign Language Course" has been published in the December 2009 issue of Educause Quarterly.