In preparing my class for podcasting,I would explain what it is and would utilize it for communicating with my students and their parents. Occasionally I would use a podcast as an instructional tool, especially for a lesson on creating a podcast (not just for instruction but also so that students may have it as a reference tool). After students have had some use with my podcasts, I would then model creating a podcast using vocaroo.com. Following that, I would walk the students through the steps of vocaroo.com in class, showing the screens and allowing them to take notes of how to do it. Since I'm an elementary education major, I would not go beyond vocaroo.com because students would need to set up an account with podomatic.com. I would then have the students make a podcast on their own and submit it on their blog
Potential detrimental effects on education for podcasting use include that live lectures may become obselete, eliminating two great learning tools of dialogue and debate, while also increasing societal isolazation. There are also still detrimental factors including affordability, accessibility, and technological reliability. Potential benefits include ease of use, reduction of work flow, convenience for listener, time-saving and multi-tasking (i.e. listening to the podcast while commuting/traveling), it appeals to different learning styles, is a resource for future learners and absent students, creativity is endless (i.e. can be used for separate instructions in various 'learning stations' in the classroom), can assist shy students in doing presentations, can be used for journaling,and is a way to communicate with the masses (i.e. parents).
The students' obligations, extending to both creating and listening, would include acting responsibily with integrity and morality, while exercising discipline, diligence, and respect for others and their property.
Regarding making class attendnace optional, that will depend on the focus of the class and the instructor's format. For example, if instructors use classtime for lecture only, for example at the college level, then I believe there should be options for class attendance. But if discussions/debate is a large part of the learning process in a class, attendance should be mandatory. On the other hand, podcasts could be used for a lecture one day a week and discussion classes another day of the week. However, at the elementary and secondary levels, I believe podcasts have a time and a place and should not be overutililized for instruction.
Prior to this class, I had never heard of a podcast; thus, I've learned a lot from this article and see many uses for integrating this into my classroom: for absent students, directions for a substitute or even a lesson plan for a substitute,a resource for future learners, messages and reminders to students as well as parents and extra-curricular announcements, field trip notes and possibly even a field-trip-tour-guide, accessibility for different learning styles, and many other ways, I'm sure.