This paper will be the first in a series outlining the contemporary use of educational technology in paramedic higher education. This paper describes a pilot study, which examines the student use of podcasting service within a Bachelor of Emergency Health (BEH) degree. The aim of this study is to report student usage patterns of the podcasting service as well as any perceived advantages or disadvantages to podcasting.Methods
Second and third year undergraduate paramedic students (n=67) were surveyed with respect to their use of the podcasting service in 2006. An annual audit of students’ learning needs was taken from 2006-2008 with respect to relevant general student profile information.Results
Almost two-thirds n=42 (62.7%) of the students did not download the Podcast lecture material. Of those that did, twenty students (29.9%) used Podcasts for reviewing lecture content; only two (3%) as a substitute to attending the lecture. Students described positive benefits as well as difficulties with the technology; seventeen (25.4%) reported revising concepts which they had not understood. The audit demonstrated that in Semester 1, 2008, 83% of students owned iPods or equivalent.Conclusion
While only a minority of BEH students listened to the podcast lectures, those that did reported use for revision of theoretical concepts and revision for examinations. Podcasting appears to have significant potential for mobile learning (m-learning) allowing some students the capacity to utilise their study time more effectively. Podcasting may well prove useful for particular students, and should be given some qualified support.