So what is a podcast?
Podcast is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a program (as of music or talk) made available in digital format for automatic download over the internet.” According to Wikipedia, podcast is a blend of 2 words: “pod” (meaning playable on demand), and “cast” from broadcast. You can access these “playable on demand broadcasts” in the classroom for playback on computers or personal media players. You can download them individually or subscribe to an RSS feed, which automatically downloads podcasts in a series as they are released. Instead of tuning into a television, radio, or internet radio broadcast at a certain time of day, you can subscribe to a podcast and enjoy it at your convenience.
Some podcasts are all audio (music and/or speaking), some are videos, and some are similar to a Powerpoint presentation with an audio track. Many podcasts mix different types of media together to really pique student interest in subjects…quite a step up from some of the old filmstrips teachers showed in class! On a side note, I really enjoyed some of those old filmstrips, and many of them are interesting to watch today! Check out this link to a digital archive of educational filmstrips, and take a stroll down memory lane.
How can I use podcasting in my classroom?
Podcasting can serve two main purposes for us as educators. Students can learn by watching podcasts created by others, or they can create their own podcasts to demonstrate learning and teach others about the subject. Some teachers introduce topics or units by showing a podcast or series of podcasts and conclude the unit with student-generated podcasts.
Students can watch podcasts on classroom computers, at home or on personal media players like ipods. I have seen some teachers with iPod Touch classroom sets (lucky!) which would make podcasting activities a breeze. If you are not so lucky, you can always project the podcast from a single computer so your whole class can see it at once.
I didn’t realize the true scope of subjects covered by podcasts until I started searching while I worked on writing this post. I found podcasts available for every subject I typed into Google! If you can teach it to someone…there is probably a podcast about it somewhere on the internet. Calculus? Check. Art History? Check. Robotics? Check. Grammar? Check. And the list goes on. Always remember that podcasting, like blogging, is accessible to anyone with the equipment to create and post on the internet, so there are some that would be great for students, and some you might want to avoid.
There are some general sites that index podcasts for educators. Here are a couple where Joann found some good podcasts here to feature on The Gateway. These have been indexed as educational podcasts, but please use your judgement and preview these podcasts carefully to make sure you are getting what you are really looking for.
Now that you know how to find good podcasts for your students to watch, how will you implement this technology into your classroom? Joann’s post this week is a good place to start. She featured a few lessons that use podcasting. The ideas in these lessons might serve as a good jumping-off point, even if you are creating lessons for different topics.
Some of you might want to take the technology even further by allowing your students to create their own podcasts. This will allow them to be creative and learn by teaching. Check out Poducate Me for some instructions on how to get started creating your own podcasts.
Enjoy browsing through available podcasts and dreaming up ways you and your students can benefit from this technology this year! As always, stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages to get all of our podcasting updates and ideas. Please let us know if you have used podcasting in your classroom and how well it works.
~Peggy's Corner - 7/23/2010~