Web tools, which are easily accessible and free, make podcasting readily available in the classroom, computer labs or at home. All students need is their computer, tablet or iPad with a built-in or separate microphone. Some tools, like a favorite of mine, Audacity, allows editing, while others, such as PodOmatic experienced this week, simply allow you to delete and repeat if desired.
I have found that there are some excellent uses for podcasting in the classroom. Students love sharing their work. This makes any project more authentic and engaging as students create with a purpose to share with others in the school, community or world. With podcasting, students can provide an explanation of their projects that have perhaps been posted on the web as well.
Teachers can have students first write to support written literacy skill development, and then record their work to share with others to develop oral literacy and communication skills. Students may also make a recording about an activity they've tried at school and post those on Edmodo, or the class webpage. In my Science Lab, students could narrate the lab procedures or explain the outcome of an experiment. I typically have students complete written lab reports, but I believe podcasting would be an effective extension. I have not yet done this, but now feel encouraged to give it a try. My students are currently annotating their charts and graphs, but a verbal annotation might provide added incentive and engagement to the process. Recently my Physical Science students had posted a picture and brief explanation of an experiment they conducted on sound levels in the cafeteria using our probing devices (measuring and comparing decibels for each grade level). An adjoining podcast would have made it more engaging, not only for my students but for others looking at their project online.
Particularly appealing is the portability of the podcasts. Most students and teachers have mp3 capability on their phones now or iPods and can play them anywhere. For example, as a student heads out of town on vacation, a podcast from school may be listened to in the car or on the plane or on the beach! For students who are English Language Learners (ELL) podcasts may be used that can be replayed to assist with their reading or understanding, and replayed as necessary. The same is true with special education students as instruction is differentiated to meet their needs.
Finally, additional applications might be student feedback in podcast form to classmates or to me, posted on our Edmodo page or class webpage. Students could use podcasting in their “each-one-teach-one” activities we do in which students act as teachers with their peers to review content we are studying. Podcasting might be one of a multiple of options or choices available to the students as instruction is differentiated. The possibilities are about as endless as the creative minds of students and teachers take them.
Here are a few additional resources I located as I researched podcasting:
An excerpt from above provided in a podcast: