A podcast is an audio programme distributed via the internet. It is a series of digital media files (audio or video) that are released episodically (Wikipedia, 2010). It is another Web 2.0, and like blogs, podcasts tend to have chosen audiences, with materials aimed at a target audience.
According to Sharma and Barrett (2007), podcasts can provide listening practice that is specifically tailored to the needs of language learners, and as an ESP English teacher, this feature supports a strong reason why to use podcasts in my lessons. Monologues or dialogues can be recorded to provide context-based models of grammar or vocabulary (op. cit). Furthermore, podcasts can focus on pronunciation. They can be used to pre-teach input in a format other than a written form.
There are a number of reasons for language teachers to promote and use podcasts. One of them is offering real-life listening (authentic material) to the students and at the same time we are promoting learners’ autonomy. In other words, learners do not need the teacher’s presence to practice their skills and exploit their abilities.