Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Podcasts 101

Podcasts have been mentioned a few times recently.  Classes at both the middle and high school have incorporated podcasts into lessons and projects.  In order to utilize them effectively (or at all), it is important to understand what they are and how we can use them with our students.

Podcasts are audio stories created to share ideas, presentations, or music.  They originated alongside traditional blogging, so podcasts are sometimes referred to as “audioblogging.”  In general, one creates a podcast by recording audio, editing it, and distributing it online.  These audio files can then be downloaded or streamed by an audience.  

Why podcast?  (These are just some of the benefits.)
  • It allows for another level of communication between students and teachers
  • Sometimes students are more expressive when speaking than writing
  • Adding audio to your instruction meets the needs of more learning styles

How are podcasts different?
Podcasts are different than screencasts and videos because it is JUST AUDIO; screencasts and videos include audio AND visual.

How do podcasts get made?
There are many web tools for recording and sharing audio.  Click here for an extensive list of options, which can be organized by device and cost.  This spring, some teachers have been using SoundCloud to facilitate projects involving podcasts.  The benefits of this particular service are:
  • Single sign-on with Google accounts
  • Quick upload time
  • Ability to post privately
For more information on SoundCloud:

What can podcasts be used for?

How about an example?
Sure! Over the past few days, the 12th grade English classes have been working on podcasts as a final assessment for Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal.  Their task was to prove the existence of a theme of their choice within the essay; they needed textual evidence and modern parallels.  The final product was a podcast, some examples of which are below.

Teacher Testimonials

I am really impressed with the level of analysis and creativity that my students put into their podcasts. Their final products showed how well they worked in a collaborative environment, and they were able to talk about their ideas and develop them in a way that showed they were synthesizing the information and relating it to modern day ideas. More importantly, they are now able to extend their learning and listen to other podcasts and consider their peer's viewpoints.  --Mrs. Megan Seymore

What I like best about this is that by giving students choices and making it real-world, I saw very high levels of student engagement, especially among students who haven't always been engaged.  --Mrs. Krysta Travelpiece

If you would like to integrate podcasts into your classroom, just contact your building librarian!

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