What's Patrick Henry doing with white earbuds?

Colonial Williamsburg embraces podcasts for classroom instruction. Up next: vodcasts.

Although it may seem on the surface a bit anachronistic to learn about Colonial Williamsburg via an iPod podcast, educators are increasingly using free downloadable audio files to teach history, reports eSchool News.

Dale Van Eck, manager of educational partnerships for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, says many podcasts "are right on target for use in the classroom."

The museum now creates weekly audio programs that students can listen to via their computers or portable players to to find out more about those who work there, plying old trades and playing historical figures.

"History may be old, but its presentation doesn't have to be. But if they educate them about what happened in Williamsburg and about what Colonial Williamsburg offers now, then we hope that in the future they'll make a visit," said Robyn Eoff, Colonial Williamsburg's Internet director .

The podcasts might not immediately bring people to Colonial Williamsburg, she said, "but if they educate them about what happened in Williamsburg and about what Colonial Williamsburg offers now, then we hope that in the future they'll make a visit."

The podcasts have been very popular. The monthly download tally for all the different podcasts offered is 80,000 to 90,000. Most of the podcasts consist of radio interviews conducted by former NBC News anchor and correspondent Lloyd Dobyns, talking to costumed interpreters, chefs, tradesmen, musicians, historians, and curators about topics as varied as barrel-making, religious freedom, and slave life.

Eventually, the museum is currently looking into expanding their repetoire once again by incorporating video podcasts, or vodcasts.

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