In my previous blog, I introduced podcasting and how you might use existing podcasts that you find on the Internet with your students. I looked at several types of podcasts that are generated “out there” by someone who (hopefully) has something worthwhile to say on an interesting subject--and special thanks to Glen for providing a great list of his favorite podcasts! The exciting part about this particular Web 2.0 resource is that you don’t have to simply be on the receiving end of podcasts: You and your students can become podcasters yourselves.
Creating Podcasts Yourself
A handy list of instructional uses for podcasting is available in the step-by-step guide, Teaching & Learning with Podcasting (Engage, University of Wisconsin, 2007). Teachers can create podcasts to
- Prepare or motivate learners for learning new content
- Recall and integrate previously learned material with new content
- Provide high-level overviews
- Provide a lead-in to an assignment or learning activity
- Elaborate on and further explain a complex concept
- Provide learning guidance and strategies for understanding new content or solving problems
- Provide content to encourage analysis
- Provide some variety in the learning environment
Another resource for beginners, the Creating a Podcast section of Podcast FAQ, has steps and links that I found to be very straightforward and helpful. I absolutely love one of their recommended sound recording/editing applications--Audacity, which is free and easy to use.
Another free tool I came across that helps you create flawlessly executed podcasts is CuePrompter. This fun and cool little Web 2.0 application turns your computer screen into a teleprompter, scrolling your text at a speed you designate so you can focus on your delivery, not the medium.
Having Your Students Create Podcasts
Educators are beginning to see how student-created podcasts can improve their students’ vocabulary, writing, editing, public speaking, and presentation skills. Dan Schmit, creator and host of the online community, KidCast: Podcasting in the Classroom, identifies some best practices for student podcasts in Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom (Edutopia, Nov. 2008):
Student-created podcasts reinforce course concepts, develop writing skills, hone speaking ability, and even help parents stay current on classroom activities… The best student-created podcasts go beyond isolated episodes to engage in sustained academic conversations. They are focused on a real audience and explore grade-appropriate questions that are both interesting to students and important for them to understand. …Podcasting is much more about inquiry, analysis, and articulation [than it is about technology].
You may want to check out some award-winning student-created podcasts at KidCast. You don’t need any special software—or even an MP3 player. You can listen to them from within the Kidcasts’ blogs.
Those of you near the heartland of America and interested in podcasting may want to consider attending Podstock in Wichita, Kansas, May 1-2, 2009. As an added bonus, our own Senior Trainer, Dyane Smokorowski, will be presenting on using Web 2.0 tools with collaborative projects at this conference.
How do you see podcasts being useful in the classroom? Are you using/creating any podcasts yourself? What's the benefit of doing all this sharing online anyway? If you are already creating podcasts in your classroom, we'd love to hear about your experiences.
To view the first article of this series on Web 2.0 resources and their use in the classroom, read, "What's All the Hype about Web 2.0?"
For more on the topic of Web 2.0 resources, continue to the next blog in this series, Web 2.0 Overload