Good questions...I just presented on this topic yesterday (workshop at a college) and received this same set of questions. Here are some of the things we discussed to help test this question:
If you place your podcasts on your website, you can include a counter to see what your traffic numbers are. I have an invisible counter for my site, and iTunes can give you this information as well.
In my case, we have a high population of Internet users. So much, in fact, that teachers are comfortable giving homework online, and all of our 4-6 students have their own personal laptop that they use and take home.
But to answer your question, yes, I have seen a difference. It also helps me feel like I am doing my part with helping parents at home. I do have kids that are eager to come up and share their time spent on watching podcasts made, and a show of hands indicate a large audience watching.
Good luck with your podcasting plans! Contact me if you have any questions...
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