Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pod People

Summer may be in full swing, but many educators are already planning for the start of classes in the fall. In addition to reviewing classroom layouts and revamping lessons, some teachers use the “downtime” of summer to investigate new technologies and more effective ways of delivering information to their students.

Teachers are often mandated to incorporate more technology into their classrooms, but it makes little sense to introduce technology just for technology’s sake. Technology has to truly add value by enhancing student learning in some way. Remember the PowerPoint(less) epidemic of some years back, where presenters would simply transcribe their notes onto slides and read from them? Exactly. So what’s a time-strapped (and perhaps technology-shy) teaching professional to do?

There are a plethora of Web 2.0 and other tools available, some of which Peggy and I have discussed in previous columns (such as here and here. Summer presents a good opportunity for teachers to explore some types of technologies that can work well in the classroom, such as wikis, blogs, and podcasts.

Podcasting isn’t new, but it remains an inexpensive, easy, and effective way to deliver and share content. Podcasts can be downloaded to computers, iPods and other MP3 players, cell phones, iPads, and various other handhelds. They can also be easily created using the same types of media. Podcasting can address a variety of student learning styles, can deliver content quickly, and is thoroughly portable. Many educators are finding innovative uses for podcasts, such as vocabulary practice, English pronunciation and syntax exercises for ESL students, book talks, “field reports” from students on field trips, and the like.

My picks this week all feature lessons with podcasting components. Use them as they are, or as inspiration for incorporating podcasting into your own lessons. These lessons are from Lessonopoly, an open educational resource that aims to empower teachers to organize, create, and share resources. As always, check our Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the week for instructions on how to podcast, and for links to innovative podcasting resources.

Podcasting to Learn
Subjects: English, Language Arts
Grade: 2-5
In small groups, students create scripts that focus on an understanding of what they are writing, and the audience they are writing for. Topics could be a current event, classroom items, creative stories, and so forth. Students will then record and publish their work via podcasts.

Magic in Real Life
Subjects: English, Language Arts
Grade: 10
In this lesson, students hone their writing styles by incorporating a “magical” element of their childhoods resurfacing today. They then create podcasts about a related adventure that defines the role of family and culture in their futures.

La Semana Pasada
Subjects: Spanish, Current Events
Grade: 9-12
In this lesson, Spanish students use the Internet to research a current event in the Hispanic world, and prepare a brief podcast which compares and contrasts the issue at hand with articles previously published on the same topic.

~Joann's Picks - 7/23/2010~


  1. This is an excellent collection of ideas for using podcasting at a variety of levels, thanks!

  2. We're glad you liked it! We hope it will be useful to educators trying to include podcasting in their classrooms this year.


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