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Educator Trainer. She is a former Speech Communications Teacher and Debate Coach. She has served as a mentor in Fort Bend ISD for three years. Her passion is training teachers on innovative ways to reach all students through the effective integration of technology, coaching teachers on best practices in technology integration, and inspiring educators to embrace the changes that they need to make in order to reach the digital natives that are sitting in our classrooms. She has presented at several conferences in the state of Texas including TCEA, TxDLA and SXSWedu. She is currently developing a website/blog/community to help share best-practices in innovative teaching. Activity Summary
This paper outlines the benefits of podcasting for teachers in a K-12 setting. Class or subject area: Technology Integration Grade level(s): K-12 Specific learning objectives: • Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity • Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments • Model Digital-Age Work and Learning • Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility
Anniversary Book Project
10 Reasons You Should Be Podcasting In Your Classroom
By: Rachelle Wooten Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-SA Author contact: Rwooten73@gmail.com
Every now and then, an instructional technology tool comes a long that has the potential to make a huge impact in education! In my opinion, podcasting is that tool. However, podcasting has to be one of the most under-utilized instructional resources by teachers today. Teachers mostly think it’s a time investment they can’t afford, they think it’s too costly, they don’t really know how they could use it to improve their teaching and improve student learning. While these concerns are valid, I think the benefits far outweigh any of the aforementioned. Furthermore, I believe it could greatly improve student learning in the 21st century and here are 10 Reasons Why You Should be Podcasting in Your Classroom. 1. You are teaching a different group of students! Sometimes we think today’s learners are very apathetic and lazy. I think the problem is we are not reaching them where they are. We want them to conform to our way of teaching instead of us adapting to their style of learning. Christi Price a professor at Dalton State College, recently studied the millennial students and highlighted their ideal learning environment. What she discovered was: they wanted an environment: where they could connect with one another, they wanted it to be fun, they wanted multimedia, realworld topics, and participatory. Last year, I had the privilege of assisting an ELA teacher while her students created podcasts. They were studying propaganda and media literacy. So the task was to create radio advertisements/infomercials where they incorporated propaganda in their advertisements. One of the students, I will call him David, failed to turn in any traditional assignments to his teacher. But when she assigned this project, he was all over it. He and his partner added royalty-free music that matched their taste and it was still appropriate for the topic. He communicated in a way that made the podcast interesting. His classmates voted for their podcast as the best one of all. With podcasts, we can reach this generation of students who are bored and unmotivated with traditional classroom assignments and still assess their mastery of the content. I also like to say it can help us reach and teach each of our students. 2. Your students are highly motivated when they have an authentic audience. Podcasting can give them an authentic audience. It’s one thing for them to spend weeks preparing an essay to be submitted to you and you only. It’s another thing when they know their product will be shared with…the world. These millennial students that are sitting in our classrooms want the opportunity to share their thoughts, updates, activities with anyone that will listen! They are thirsty for an audience. So, let’s give them one! What I think you will discover is they will produce a higher quality work when they know they have a “real” audience. Let’s say you are a primary teacher, you could have your students create podcasts of them reading a book. You could start it at the beginning of the year and they would continue to upload as the year progresses. You could introduce the podcasts to their parents on Parent Conference night. Show them how to subscribe to the podcasts. Then as students upload their read-alouds, parents could listen to their child’s progress on-demand. Parents would probably share them with grandparents and other relatives. But most importantly, the student will see that his work counts, it matters, and his family sees his growth. 3. You breakdown the walls of the classroom. Podcasting gives you a great opportunity to invite parents and community members in a non-threatening way. If you decided to create a class podcast or let’s think even bigger a campus podcast you can keep parents informed with all the cool things going on in your classroom. If you choose to do this as an audio program, you don’t even have to worry about if a student can be photographed or recorded via video for safety
purposes because you are only using their voice. And, what if you interviewed business owners and parents about their jobs or ways they use math, language arts, history or science in the real world. Your students can create a podcast where they interview their parents or relatives about their history and heritage. 4. You can use podcasting to meet many of your instructional goals. You can use podcasts to get your students motivated to learn about a new topic with a podcast. You can use podcasts to PREVIEW new topics that you will be studying and students could access them before the lesson. It’s a great way to give students an anticipatory assignment so they know what to expect and what they will be learning. You can use it to RETEACH explain challenging concepts that students are having difficulty. With podcasts we don’t have to say, “How many times have I told you.” They can listen as often as they need to. Podcasts can be a great resource DURING INSTRUCTION you can play podcasts from iTunes U from experts in the field or have the students listen to other students’ podcasts. Finally, it’s a great way to have students REVIEW content you have already covered so that they will be ready for assessments. As you know, the International Society for Technology in Education has standards for both teachers and students in regard to technology. Within these standards, teachers and students are expected to demonstrate competency in Communication and Collaboration, Technology Operations and Concepts, Digital Citizenship, and yes Creativity and Innovation. 5. You are customizing learning to meet needs of all students. In my opinion, podcasting is a great way to reach and teach each of your students. How many of you have students where English is not their first language? If you created podcasts for them a couple weeks before you introduce a new unit or concept, they could listen to it as many times as necessary and be up to speed when it’s time to discuss it in class. We hear the abbreviation RTI a lot these days. Well, podcasting can be one way you can provide supplemental materials to that student to help him or her succeed. When a student is absent, they can access the podcast to see what they missed and catch up. If a student needs to hear or see how to solve a problem more than once, they have that accessibility because they can replay the message as often as necessary. 6. You and/or your students are always on- even when you are off. The bell may ring at 3:00 but your students could still be learning at 5:00, 7:00, and even into the wee hours of the night. All because you made the time and the way for them to access important class information. That’s the cool thing about podcasting. Many of you subscribe to various publications and once you sign up, all you have to do is receive the content when it’s created. It’s the same way with a podcast RSS feed. When you upload your file to a podcast hosting site like Podomatic (www. podomatic.com) , you are given a link with an RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication or Really Simple Subscription). All you are responsible for is adding the new content. When you upload new content, your subscribers (students or parents) will automatically be able to access it! You can then take that link and post it on your blog or Classroom 2.0 page making it easy for students to download the new content whenever and wherever. They can download it to their computer or their mobile device. This helps empower students to be able to manage their own learning and eliminates any excuses. 7. You are helping them focus on what matters-. It helps students focus on the content. I am a big supporter of video and visual communications to help students present information. Still,
sometimes they can get so caught up in the images and animations that they’ve got a better visual aid then they do content. If you have students create audio podcasts they can focus more on the message they want to communicate and less on the all the fluff. Recently, I had the privilege of meeting with some ELA teachers to discuss alternatives for the traditional research paper. When I mentioned having students create podcasts, one teacher frowned at the idea and said, “I am going to need the students to demonstrate they know how to write.” I said, “I agree”. Podcasting does not replace writing, in fact all students should be required to write out their script for their podcasts and it should be a part of how they are assessed. But some Language Arts teachers have discovered that podcasting can actually help improve students’ writing. When they read it out loud they are more apt to find errors in their writing and revise it. 8. You can start with what you have. Raise your hand if your school uses the PC platform? If you have a PC, you really only need a microphone. You also need to download the free audio editing software Audacity. How many of you are on the MAC platform? For you, the MACs come with a built-in microphone with great quality, and you have 2 options. You can download Audacity and if you have the iLife suite it comes with GarageBand. Garageband is very easy to learn you can use it to create audio podcasts, enhanced podcasts, and video or vodcasts. If you plan on using video to create ‘vodcasts’ then you can use a web cam, flip video camera. No matter what your campus or personal budgets, podcasting is truly an instructional tool that works with whatever you’ve got. If you are fortunate enough to have any of the iOS devices like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touches, your device comes with a built-in microphone. And recently, I just found a free audio editing app called “iTell a Story”. It’s great for creating simple podcasts. It comes with some sound effects and allows you to choose music from your iTunes playlist. All of the tools I mentioned are multi-track which means you can have more than one voice, music, sound effects, etc. It will be a time investment that pays great dividends! 9. You eventually have a storehouse of digital content that you can share. On your classroom 2.0 site, a blog page, or a podcast. In fact, with Apple’s recent roll out of the iBooks Author app you can create courses for your students that include this digital media and post discussion questions for them to respond. If it’s professional development, you can share your topic with teachers all over the state or all over the world as we are here. With your plethora of digital content, you now have a much larger platform than your campus alone. 10. You are their model. What better way to demonstrate to students that you are an example for them to follow than by modeling innovative thinking and good digital citizenship. For many of our students, when they think of us they think of chalkboards, outdated clothes and antiquated lessons. But what if the first word that came to mind was “Innovative”! Many of our students are already familiar with downloading music and video files. Most of them know how to work their way around the software tools for creating a podcasts. As educators, we have the opportunity to show them an effective way to use the tools. When we create podcasts for them we show them how to use it right. We can direct them to royalty-free music and how to give attributes to the appropriate source by respecting copyright laws. By our example, our students will learn the best way to use digital tools and which digital tool is best for a given situation or task. Lastly, students will discover podcasting as a way they can communicate, collaborate, create and share information they are knowledgeable and passionate about.
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