Man, oh man!
Podcasts, where have you been all my life?
Confession : Recently, I have binged on podcasts.
They just draw me in and I’m hooked. I can’t stop at just one!
Aside from my newfound love, I do think podcasts can serve major purposes and can help meet major goals in education. I think they bring something to the classroom table that has not previously been brought.
They seem to remind people of radios, you know, of the old days before tv. They channel a similar engaging quality.
Digital stories can be the same way. However, they have an added level including visuals and images.
Both can cover various topics. Both can also be specific and focus on one aspect of a broad topic. They are great ways to get and share information and entertainment.
Before I continue talking about the things I love about podcasts and digital stories, I do want to point out a couple things which I could see as downfalls. One of the things is the age level. Now, students can listen to a higher level and still retain and learn information however, the content and topic should be appropriate and students should be mature enough. Something teachers should screen for beforehand.
Also, the quantity of technology available. I have heard about teachers
having students listen to a podcast as a class which would mean needing only one tool like a computer or projector. However, students may find it fun to listen/watch different examples and then reconvene and discuss. Also, as talked about later in this post, students may enjoy creating their own podcasts and digital stories which warrants multiple devices.
With those potential downfalls out of the way, I really think they can be helpful in the classroom. After reading articles on the current use in classrooms, students seem to be really engaged by them. If most students are like me, I was hooked from the first couple I listened to and watched. There is just something so interesting about people talking about a topic while you form your own image in your head.
They both can be a great tool for English Language Learners. Students can listen to the conversations and be able to hear not only vocabulary but also how the English language sounds and flows. Digital stories are extra great because students get the benefits of the podcasts and also the visuals to reinforce the vocabulary.
I also think podcasts and digital stories are great ideas for student projects. Instead of writing a report, students could create a podcast or digital stories. I think it gives students more freedom and ability to be creative. They are not only limited to voice but can add presentation and illustration.
As mentioned in the article, What Teens are Learning from ‘Serial” and Other Podcasts, there are additional assignment ideas which can accompany having students listen to podcasts. There are tons of podcasts being produced about a variety of subjects. People are covering topics from learning a new language to car talk to analyzing a murder case. The same goes for digital stories; a wide variety is available.
In addition to accompanying assignments, podcasts and digital stories allow students to express themselves which is one my favorite parts about them. Meaningful Stories: How Teens Connect with StoryCorps and Podcasts is a great article which discusses the possibilities for students found in podcasts. They get to be themselves and show their creativity. In a society so lacking of creativity and creative thinking, podcasts and digital stories give students a refreshing opportunity to be expressive and encourage their creativity.
Side note: If you have not been motivated by my post to look into podcasts, consider this one last plea. Please, search them. Listen to one…or ten. I am confident there is a podcast for everyone’s interests.
One of my favorites is “Serial.” Each podcast analyzes case details of the murder and disappearance of a high school senior. Just trust me, listen to at least one episode.
A Girl with a New Craze for Podcasts