Learning Communication Skills: Producing the Wakulla County 4-H Podcast

What is a Podcast?

Podcasts are digital recordings that usually involve a theme or specific topic.  These recordings can be downloaded for convenient listening on phones and other digital devices. The first mention of podcasts was noted in 2004 (Pew Research, 2006).

By 2007, twelve land-grant institutions had adopted podcast technology to support their Extension programs (Xie and Gu, 2007). In 2024, a majority of land-grant institutions offer multiple podcasts.  Today’s podcasts may offer audio and video options.

Podcasting as a Way to Learn and Teach

Podcasting has emerged as an accessible way to acquire information.  The medium has offered ways to learn new information and has become a form of entertainment.  Early research about podcasts as an educational tool for Extension explored their potential for supporting blended learning and connectivism (Hendrickson, 2007).  Connectivism as a way to characterize learning in the digital age was developed by Downes (2007) and Siemens (2004). Research on connectivism explores how people build knowledge in the digital age (Downes, 2022). Connectivism can be characterized as a form of learning that is “networked” (Duke et al, 2013).

Siemens (2004) described connectivism as a way to describe and understand the learning process in the 21st century, “Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.”

For listeners, podcasts help the “do-it-yourself” learners access information on demand (Kropf, D., 2013).  Learners who choose podcasts for entertainment or educational purposes are able to use their own network of information sources and experiences to build knowledge and develop understanding.  For 4-H members involved in producing the podcast project, youth become content creators who develop communication skills while also connecting with their community and learning from the person they interview for the episode.

4-H Youth Start a Podcast

Wakulla County 4-H youth have recorded nine episodes of the Wakulla County 4-H Podcast.  Youth have interviewed club leaders, businesspeople, 4-H alumni, and a few elected officials.  Podcast episodes have featured discussions about 4-H service projects with community partners and 4-H members.  4-H members have learned how to plan an interview, how to ask questions, and gained confidence in their speaking skills.

Community partner and Wave 94 General Manager Doug Apple has generously guided the youth through the interview and podcast production process.  Podcast episodes air in a local radio rotation for three to four weeks and are posted online with podcast services.

To date, the podcasts have ranged from ten to twenty minutes in length. As the youth learn more about the process and gain confidence in their skills, the podcasts will become longer.  Future planned podcasts include interviews that will focus on exploring local history.  While the first nine episodes feature only audio files, youth plan to explore video production in the 2024-25 4-H program year.

For more information about this or other Florida 4-H programs, reach out to your local Extension office.

Wakulla 4-H Podcast Episodes

The Wakulla County 4-H Podcast – Episode 1 – Carrie Boyd

The Wakulla County 4-H Podcast – Episode 2 – Jared Miller

The Wakulla County 4-H Podcast – Episode 3 – Missy Rudd Gainer

The Wakulla County 4-H Podcast – Episode 4 – Sara Turner

The Wakulla County 4-H Podcast – Episode 5 – Greg James

The Wakulla County 4-H Podcast – Episode 6 – Jim Davis

Episode 7 – Introducing Our Youth Leaders

Episode 8 – Brandon Barber, owner of food truck The Ark

Episode 9 – Prom with a Purpose: How Wakulla 4-H Went Back to the ’50s with Senior Citizen’s on Valentine’s Day.

Additional Resources

What is Podcasting?

Extension and Podcast Technology

Extension Podcasts from Around the Nation

UF/IFAS Podcasts

Workshop Empowers Teens to Create Podcasts

Works Cited

Corbett, F., & Spinello, E. (2020). Connectivism and leadership: harnessing a learning theory for the digital age to redefine leadership in the twenty-first century. Heliyon, 6(1), e03250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e03250

Downes, S. (2007). What connectivism is. Retrieved from http://halfanhour.blogspot.com/2007/02/what-connectivism-is.html

Downes, S. (2022). Connectivism. Asian Journal of Distance Education, 17(1). Retrieved from https://www.asianjde.com/ojs/index.php/AsianJDE/article/view/623

Duke, B., Harper, G., & Johnston, M. (2013). Connectivism as a digital age learning theory. The International HETL Review. Special Issue 2013 (pp. 4-13)

Hendrickson, L., Jokela, R. H., Gilman, J., Croymans, S., Marczak, M., Zuiker, V., & Olson, P. D. (2010). The Viability of Podcasts in Extension Education: Financial Education for College Students. The Journal of Extension, 48(4), Article 7. https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.48.04.07

Kropf, Dorothy. (2013). Kropf, D. (2013). Connectivism: 21st century’s new learning theory.. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. 16. 13-24.

Pew Research Center. (2006). “What is Podcasting?” Retrieved June 19, 2024 from https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/2006/07/19/what-is-podcasting/.

Siemens, G. (2004) Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, 2.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning 2(1), 3-10.

Xie, K., & Gu, M. (2007). Advancing Cooperative Extension with Podcast Technology. The Journal of Extension, 45(5), Article 26. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/joe/vol45/iss5/26


An Equal Opportunity Institution


Posted: June 20, 2024

Category: 4-H & Youth, Community Volunteers, UF/IFAS, WORK & LIFE
Tags: Blended Learning, Communication, Connectivism, Experiential Learning, Interviewing, Podcast

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