Whether through the airwaves or broadband cables, audio and video, the Internet has brought many people together in real-time to share their views, express their interests and collaborate in many ways never thought possible a century ago.
Podcasts, for instance, utilize audio only software, record a person's voice and can be listened to anywhere, anytime, on any topic. Just take a moment to check out these sites: www.epnweb.org, www.podcast.net, www.learnoutloud.com, www.podcastdirectory.org, only a few of the resources out there. Also, Smithsonian Education's website is very helpful as well.
Many podcasts are set up in a talk-radio fashion, with music marking the intro, change of topics and ending of the broadcast. On many levels, they are talk-radio, only in a more accessible medium that the web provides, making the topics all-inclusive for anyone who would wish to listen, rather than being able to tune the radio dial in. However, XM Radio also helps people listen to stations via satellite, by tuning in to whatever genre they are interested, but that's a topic for another discussion.
In many instances, Podcasts are used as an ongoing discussion of a certain topic, which provides educators and students alike, with avenues in which they may engage in serious content, the topics that matter most. With some pre-pod research and some technical savvy, the "meat" of that year's curriculum can be tapped, chewed and swallowed, because it has created a more interactive platform in which to learn about the subject.
Another simple variation of the Podcast, a Vidcast, or Vodcast which includes, what the root eludes, video to accompany the audio. These can be set up in many platforms. The audio can be played in sync with one or many images that are under discussion, or set up to record the actual presenter. Unlike YouTube, a video sharing site where anyone and everyone can broadcast anything under the sun, a Vodcast takes on a more formal presentation. However, I have found many YouTube "How-To" videos very helpful, so a vodcast could be uploaded there as well.
Take a look at this interview with my brother as artist http://blip.tv/file/4324067 The radio show has set this up in such a way as to see footage from his work, and to see all person's present in the interview process. Personally, I prefer the vodcast, because I am a visual learner than auditory and the information in the Podcast would have to be replayed many times over for me to get the information processed.
In both of these, Podcast and Vodcast, the audience has been targeted, and in my case, I would be targeting art related topics, not necessarily educators, but the purpose would be for anyone who would want to learn more about how to become and remain creative, through discussion and reflection. How ever we use these technologies, the work is in the details before it ever hits the waves. So, we have written a couple vodcast plans to implement later, so check back to see those postings.
This is what appeals to me with all of these mediums because it provides a chance to share ideas, almost as fast as telepathy, and helps the world become smaller by empowering them to come together and think bigger.