The rising worldwide popularity of MP3 sound files and the iPod makes it possible for sound files to be easily added to articles in an ESL Journal site. (Example)
A teacher can use MP3 files - which can be downloaded to a simple device called an "iPod Shuffle" - in two basic ways. UPDATE: Since the original publication of this article many additional small MP3 players have become available. Playback is not limited to a particular device. Most mobile phones are now (2013) capable of handling podcasts. It may be necessary to interpose another device such as a desktop computer as the interface between the source and the player. The most commonly used is iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes).
First, the sound file can be recorded and stored on the web server as source material. The students then download the file to their own iPod Shuffle, listen to the message, and write articles about the message in their journals.
Second, a brief article in the teacher's journal can be read aloud by the student in the laboratory, captured to a sound file, and uploaded to a web server. A link to the file is then submitted to the teacher, who evaluates the student's verbal skills. Many variations are possible.