Teaching with Podcasts

Introduction

Podcasts are digital audio files that can be downloaded on a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series. They have become very popular in recent years as a source for news and entertainment, but can also be used for teaching purposes, either to further learning or in some cases, replace in-class material. There are many advantages to using podcasts in the classroom, including that they are free and accessible, students tend to listen longer than they will watch or read, students can create their own podcasts, and reading along to podcasts can build confidence and literacy skills. Luckily, there are many resources out there that will help guide teachers who want their students to create podcasts and those that want to integrate podcasts into their curriculum!

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching with podcasts in the classroom. Podcasts are also a great resource for classrooms still engaging in remote learning. For educators who are interested, U4SC also offers Teaching with PowerPoint Presentations and Teaching with Digital Learning Tools.

Lesson Plans

Teaching Students to Create Podcasts

  1. Teaching Podcasting – A Curriculum Guide for Educators: npr has created a curriculum guide for educators on teaching podcasting. This guide contains a breakdown of the process of creating a podcast and a few sample lesson plans to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge to create a podcast on their own. For planning instruction, the guide recommends that teachers divide the project into the stages of learning about, planning, and producing the podcast. There are brief lessons with directions that guide students through each of these stages. Though this guide was created with the intent to have students submit their podcast entries to NPR, teachers can use this guide for their own classroom project to create podcasts!
  2. Project Audio – Teaching Students How to Produce Their Own Podcasts: The New York Times offers a mini lesson teaching students how to produce their own podcasts. The lesson first has students analyze the techniques used for good storytelling, interviewing, and podcasting before walking them through the process of recording, editing, and producing their own original podcasts. The lesson itself is divided into four different sections: Podcasts and Storytelling, Podcasts and Interviewing, Podcast Editing, and Producing a Podcast.
  3. 8 Simple Podcasting Projects That You Can Do With Your Students: TeacherCast Educational Network has come up with 8 simple podcasting projects teachers can do with their students. This article explains how podcasts can be used for book reviews, field trip reports, news stories, interviews with a community or family member, personal essays, audio diaries, dramatic read-alouds, and speeches. It also provides information on how to get started podcasting with students. For educators who are looking for ideas on how to integrate student-made podcasts into their curriculum, this article provides several great examples of lessons!

 

Teaching with Podcasts / Podcast Suggestions for the Classroom

  1. Podcasting in the Classroom: The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM provides an article on podcasting in the classroom. The article discusses what podcasts are, favorite education podcasts, and using podcasts in and out of the classroom. It takes an in depth look at and explores the uses and possibilities of podcasts to share information in a fun and entertaining way, extend student learning with critical links between content areas, synthesize student learning through podcast creation, and communicate with parents and the community. Lastly, there is information on how to create a podcast with Garageband or Audacity and how and where to share.
  2. Toolkit for “The Subscribed Classroom: Using Podcasts to Teach About Social Justice”: Learning for Justice has created a toolkit for the feature story “The Subscribed Classroom: Using Podcasts to Teach About Social Justice,” which shows how teachers can encourage more critical analysis and dialogue through the use of podcasts. The article provides recommendations to help educators create lessons around podcasts, including understanding school media policies and access, reviewing podcasts for sound quality and content, engaging students in active listening, and encouraging students to create their own podcast. It also discusses the options for podcasts to listen to and share with students: Code Switch, Criminal, StoryCorps, Notes on the State, and BackStory.
  3. 19 Great Learning Podcasts for the Classroom: Common Sense Education offers a list of 19 great learning podcasts for the classroom (with age recommendations). The list of learning podcasts includes Circle Round for storytime, But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids for answering kids’ common questions, Story Pirates for the reenactment of short stories written by kids, Brains On! for answering kid-submitted science questions, and more.
  4. 35 Best Podcasts for Students in Elementary, Middle, and High School: We Are Teachers has compiled a list of 35 of the best podcasts for students in elementary, middle, and high school along with related lesson ideas. For instance, the article suggests sharing Little Stories for Tiny People with elementary students and letting kids write, illustrate, and make a recording of their own original story afterwards.

 

Podcast Suggestions for Teachers Outside of the Classroom

  1. 15 Best Podcasts for Teachers: europass Teacher Academy has compiled a list of 15 of the best podcasts for teachers. These podcasts are not for teachers to share with students in their classrooms but are instead for those who want to develop their skills further and get some useful and inspirational insight on general life as a teacher in order to become their best self. The recommended podcasts include The Creative Classroom, The 10 Minute Teacher Podcast, The Google Teacher Podcast, Truth for Teachers, and many others.
  2. 10 of the Absolute Best Podcasts for Teachers: We Are Teachers has put together a list of 10 of the absolute best podcasts for teachers. There are podcast ideas for teachers who want to feel empathy, validation, and just plain normal about the stressful teaching life, reflect on teaching with a different lens, learn the backstory of their favorite teaching material, get Google Classroom help, and more.
  3. Podcasts That Expand Our Hearts and Minds: edutopia provides a collection of podcasts that are not about education but can help teachers find new ways to think about their work and contribute to their success and happiness in the classroom. The collection is broken down into five different categories: must-listen podcasts, lesser-known but brilliant podcasts, introductions to fascinating people, tending to the mind, and to soften your heart.

Articles

Teaching with Students Creating Podcasts

  1. A Way to Promote Student Voice—Literally: edutopia offers a brief article on promoting student voices by giving them the tools they need to create podcasts. In this article, second-grade teacher Paula Díaz explains the process she used to start podcasting with her students. First, she explored a handful of podcasts with her students, discussing podcasting as a whole and analyzing some episodes. Then, they used an app called Anchor, and Díaz explains how she went to YouTube for some guidance on how to teach her students to use it properly. Lastly, Díaz talks about interviewing the new principal for a podcast episode and ultimately editing to create a polished podcast.

 

Teaching with Podcasts

  1. Sheridan Center – Teaching with Podcasts: The Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University has published an article on teaching with podcasts. This article explores two different ways to teach with podcasts: through instructor-produced podcasts and through student-produced podcasts. It also discusses ways to use podcasts to increase student equity in the classroom and enhance learning outcomes. For educators who are considering using either podcasts teachers or students have produced in their classroom, this article does a great job of explaining how they can do so and the benefits!
  2. The Why & How of Using Podcasts in Education: Podcast.co provides an article on the why and how of using podcasts in education. The article breaks down 7 reasons to use podcasts in education, such as the fact that podcasts make it easier for students to catch up and listening might be better than watching or reading, and 5 ways to use podcasts in teaching, including using existing podcasts to listen to or repurposing lectures as podcasts.
  3. The Value of Using Podcasts in Class: The Atlantic has published an article on the value of using podcasts in class. In this article, a teacher describes how though she was first skeptical about the benefits of using podcasts, once she integrated them into her classroom lessons, she found that students were more actively engaged in the material. Students, even those who were adverse to reading, enjoyed listening to podcasts and following along by reading the transcripts. For educators who are interested in learning about the advantages of using podcasts, this article will be extremely useful!
  4. How to Use Podcasts in the Classroom: EDPuzzle offers an article on how to use podcasts in the classroom. This article discusses why podcasts are so effective in engaging students, using podcasts as part of your curriculum, great podcasts for students by age group (elementary, middle, and high school), and having students create their own podcasts.
  5. Teaching the Art of Listening – How to Use Podcasts in the Classroom: This brief article from EducationWeek explains how to use podcasts in the classroom. The article discusses the different experiences of three people—a reporter who hosts a podcast, a high school history teacher, and a high school English teacher—with podcasts and education. One even provides the five keys to success for having students create their own podcasts in the classroom. Also, four recommendations are made for the best podcasts for the classroom!
  6. How to Use Podcasts in Teaching: EdSurge provides an article discussing how to use podcasts in teaching. The article breaks down how to use podcasts to extend the learning about a topic, deepen learning through prediction, and get people moving!

Conclusion

While adding another technological learning tool into the classroom can be daunting, educators have the resources to make it possible and very effective. (Educators who are teaching remotely may also consider how they can use podcasts to supplement students’ learning at home. Maybe a podcast could be used in place of a classroom lecture?) When teaching with podcasts, educators should evaluate how effective this tool is in enhancing students’ learning. Educators can do this by administering a survey to students or checking in with them individually to get their opinions!

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