Podcasts have been used in education for years. There are hundreds of educational podcasts available on itunes that can offer a teacher and her students alternative and enlightening ways to learn and tackle most lessons. People generally produce podcasts to share ideas, presentations, or music. Podcasting is useful for recording a teacher’s lesson or a student conversation. It can be used to create a homework assignment or even be part of a test. Students can produce their own podcasts to interview each other and create their own “radio show”. Schools can also use podcasts to make announcements via their web site.
Creating podcasts in the classroom has many educational benefits, including strengthening skills in research, writing, collaboration and creativity. Many web tools and apps have been popping up everywhere to help teachers and students create their own podcasts very easily. Here are some examples of easy to use podcasting software:
- Vocaroo is a extremely easy to use because it does not require any downloads of any kind and can be used in a computer lab. Audio is recorded live on the website and then available to email or embed in a website or blog. This is a great option for a classroom without any podcasting software.
- SoundCloud integrates a social commenting aspect to podcasting so that “listeners” can make comments for the podcasters. Audio can be recorded on a mobile app but gets displayed on the SoundCloud website to easily share with others.
- Yodio - With Yodio you can use your cell phone to narrate pictures. Create a card (one picture & one recording) or a tour (many pictures and multiple recordings).
- Google Voice - Google Voice is free with a google account. Create a unique phone number through google that students can call from a cell phone for added flexibility. Calls placed to a google voice account are stored in an email-like inbox that can then be downloaded as an mp3 file or embedded.
There are so many ways you can engage your students in the classroom by integrating podcasts into your assignments and projects. Recently I coordinated with our 3rd grade General Studies teacher who had introduced her Social Studies unit on US Presidents. She had assigned a different president to each student and a book report project. I wanted to extend the lesson into the computer lab so we decided to create interview podcasts in class. We used SoundCloud because I had access to iPads. The students were paired up and wrote scripts for interviewing each other acting as their assigned President. The main goal of the podcast was to be lively, informative and funny but offering up information about the President and the time in history when they held office. For example, “So Mr. President, you sure have a nice beard!” (Abraham Lincoln) “ Why yes I do, I am the first President to have a beard in office!!!”
The Education Technology Network offers some great examples on how to use podcasts or vodcasts (video podcasts) in your classroom:
Teacher created Podcasts/Vodcasts:
- Record classroom expectations at the beginning of the year
- Classroom lectures
- Supplemental information - information beyond what is covered in the classroom
- State testing review sessions
- Record classroom discussions
- Record a class discussion
Podcasts/Vodcasts created by outside sources:
- Get information from an expert in a given field
- Supplemental information
- iTunes U
Student created Podcasts/Vodcasts:
- Student projects
- Student radio style broadcasts
- Digital storybooks
- Student created content overviews or reviews
- Conduct interviews with individuals in the community or school
- Document a field trip
- Weekly classroom news broadcast
ReadWriteThink.org also offers a great resource to get you started called Podcasts: The Nuts and Bolts of Creating Podcasts.
Keep on Podcasting!!!