(By Jeffrey Bradbury) For many of us, podcasting is a passion. A passion that might have started because you heard a podcast and thought to yourself … “I can do that.” Or perhaps, your passion started out in the field of service or entertainment and podcasting is a way for you to help you promote your service or craft. No matter how you found yourself in the world of audio and video entertainment you found it and ultimately that is the most important thing.
But with so many opportunities to create and consume content, it’s becoming more important to bring podcasts and podcasting into a younger demographic. This is why it’s important to take a look at not only how we define the term Podcast, but what podcasting can do for students in classrooms today.
What is a Podcast?
For the last twelve years, we have seen podcasting explode both in the consumer and educational markets. With more than 600,000 individual podcasts in the Apple Podcasts directory, it’s extremely easy for teachers to both find and create educational materials for their classrooms. But with all of the readily available materials on the subject, many teachers still ask the question: “What IS a podcast?”
For many reading this, a podcast is loosely defined as an audio file that is subscribed to through an RSS feed. This is a very technical definition that was birthed the day that the portmanteau of “iPod” and “Broadcast” was coined, and the rest, as they say, has been history. However educators tend to think of the term slightly differently.
For many teachers, a podcast is nothing more than an audio or video that perhaps was recorded through their camera. In today’s classrooms, it is very easy for teachers to take out their cameras to document student activities or record simple lessons for flipped learning opportunities. For teachers, this is podcasting!
No matter what your definition is or how you look at the medium, it’s clear that the majority of podcasts have one single goal in common … to TEACH! Let’s take a look at how podcasts can be used in the classroom with today’s students.
3 Reasons To Use Podcasts in the Classroom
Podcasts Are… Educational
- Podcasting, weather we think of the medium as audio or video give students the ability to be creative both in and out of the classroom. By including podcasts in the learning process, students are able to learn through what educators refer to as the “4-C’s of 21st Century Skills,” Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. Additionally, by examining podcast activities next to the ever trusted Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning, we can see that students reach full mastery of the subject matter when they are used to set up the student to actually teach the subject to another.
Differentiated Learning Experiences For All Students
- By bringing audio and video activities into the classroom, students have the ability to unlock parts of the most creative parts of the brain that traditionally are left dormant during hours of sitting passively in classrooms.
Not All Tests Have To Be Multiple Choice
- Luckily for many students, teachers are moving from traditional assessments to more project based types of learning assessments. Traditionally, a student might be asked to create a 5 paragraph essay consisting of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a closing. By introducing podcasting as a way of showcasing knowledge of a subject, students can be asked to take that 5-paragraph format and turn it into an audio version where they can then express themselves much more by voice than they might be able to in print.
What Do I need To Bring Podcasting Into the Classroom?
Apps and Equipment
A new application on the market is Synth a free platform for podcasting in byte-size increments. It makes podcasting approachable to anyone and is ideal for students and teachers for a range of creative applications, both privately and publicly.
Where many would argue that Windows machines and the MacOS have their own native screen and video capture programs, the one application that works on all three major platforms (including Chrome OS) is a fantastic free extension called Screencastify. For free, users can take up to 10 minutes of video that is directly stored inside of Google Drive for including on websites, slide presentations and YouTube.
For many teachers, the audio recorders in their recorders in their phones, laptops or Chromebooks work just fine for recording with a full class of students. There really is no need to consider purchasing equipment for general classroom use.
Lesson Plan Ideas
Luckily for teachers, bringing podcasting into the classroom is extremely easy and in many cases 100% free. All you really need to get started is a topic and a destination and you are on your way.
Here are some examples and project templates that you can use with your students.
In this project, students are provided a simple Google Slides template. On on the left side of the template students will find very basic research points that they are required to look up and provide direction to. On the right side the template features an empty rectangle. Using an application such as Screencastify or even through video taken on their personal cell phones, students are required to create a two-minute video of themselves teaching the material on the left side of the template. This project is extremely effective and is often the beginning of several lessons to ultimately teach a student to have confidence standing up in front of the classroom and delivering a solid presentation.
By using this Google Slides Template, students can turn a simple 5-paragraph essay into a dynamic audio podcast where they can demonstrate mastery of any curricular topic. Simply share this template with your students and ask them to fill in the blanks before recording. This template is great when being used as a solo podcast or between a group of students.
Where Can I Find Educational Resources To Teach Me How To Podcast With My Students?
Learn about Educational Podcasting … Today:
- Educational Podcasting.Today is not just a podcast designed to showcase the power of podcasting to teachers, it is an entire professional development system featuring audio and video podcasts as well as tutorials, conference presentations, and a series of blog posts designed to help teachers create educational podcasts with their students.
Let’s Work Together To Get Your Classroom Podcasting Today!
Bringing Podcasts doesn’t have to be remotely stressful. By using the templates provided above and thinking just slightly out of the box, your students will have the opportunity to not only learn the curriculum in an inviting and engaging way, but also have the ability to demonstrate their knowledge in a way that allows them to pass the knowledge on to others.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone in your classroom and there are plenty of places to turn for inspiration and support.
Until next time … Keep up the great work in your classroom, and continue sharing your passions with your students.
Jeffrey Bradbury, the creator and host of the TeacherCast Educational Network, is a TEDx Speaker, ASCD Emerging Leader, Google for Education Trainer, PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator, Microsoft Innovative Educator, Microsoft Education Trainer, Evernote Community Leader, and LEGO Master Educator.
He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]