Potential of Podcasts

Common Core State Standards: 
Speaking and Listening
Instructional Strategies: 
Conducting Research

Dictionary.com defines a Podcast as being, “a digital audio or video file or recording, usually part of a themed series that can be downloaded from a website to a media player or computer.”

Podcasts containing news, stories, and entertainment can span genres (e.g., diary entries, fictional stories, analytical commentary on readings or current events). Many teachers are bringing podcasts into their classrooms as a way to deepen instruction on reading and writing, as well as listening and speaking. 

Consider this example: In Ms. Grady’s 5th grade class, each student (many of whom struggle to learn or have disabilities) is doing research on a U.S. President. The final product will take the form of a podcast.

Ms. Grady designed the research project to build the ELA skills listed below. She is considering how to use additional technology tools to personalize instruction she saw described in an article appearing in Read Write Think.

  • Listening. Previously produced podcasts can help students understand expectations and what contributes to success. It builds listening comprehension and vocabulary skills. Podcasts suitable for educators, schools and colleges offer possible options.
  • Reading Comprehension. Students should be gathering information about their chosen president using varied online and offline materials. Persuasion Map can help students gather and organize their ideas.
  • Writing. Students will need to engage in prewriting, drafting, and reviewing to create the script.
  • Speaking. Rehearsing their scripts requires speaking fluently with expression. Audio Dramatization Process might help students be more expressive.
  • Multimedia Editing. Students can edit their recordings using software like Garage Band for Macintosh or Audacity for Windows. For podcast music, specifically designed to be distributed freely online, she is considering using Creative Commons and FreeSound as possible starting points.
  • Publishing. She will be using iTunes or Blogger to upload audio files. She is also considering BlackboardNing, or Moodle as other possibilities.

Ms. Grady will also depend on PowerUp What Works for technology-enhanced, evidence-based instructional strategies aligned to college and career readiness standards. Of the 12 English Language Arts Instructional Strategy Guides (ISGs) on PowerUp, two are particularly relevant: Conducting Research and Making Presentations. Going further, she’ll later check out the three ISGs on the writing process: Prewriting, Drafting, and Reviewing. Each one includes teaching ideas, technology suggestions, example lessons in action, and links to resources. 

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