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Margo Tripsa

Ed. S. Instructional Technology


Oct. 12, 2016
M4 Podcasting and Differentiation
Blog Post link: https://goo.gl/dO4Ris
Class Podcast: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/msmargo/episodes/2016-12-01T05_15_01-08_00

When I looked over the topics for this course, I indicated that I was looking forward to Module 5,
and, indeed, I have been absolutely thrilled to explore the content of this module. Podcasting is a
wonderful learning tool! Simple K12 provide a great overview of using podcasts in education. Tony
Vincent has developed a great guide for Podcasting in 2009, which can be found at the bottom of his
website, Learning in Hand with Tony Vincent. That is the guide I used when I created my first podcast
about 4 or 5 years ago. Although I have been very excited about podcasts, I have not used this tool in my
classroom. This week, I have spent hours exploring many podcasts. This blog posts will be shorter than
my other posts, because I would encourage all the readers of this blog to invest time in exploring these
awesome resources.
I will promote here three of the most interesting podcasts for children I came across and
subscribed to in iTunes. The one that I was most fascinated about was Brains On. What a great tool for
helping students deepen their knowledge of science content. The Show About Science was another
impressive podcast, run by a 5 or 6 year old boy who interviews various scientists. Tumble Science
Podcast for Kids is an interesting series of podcasts for children ages 9 to 12 about science discoveries
created with the help of real scientists. Join Lindsay and Marshall as they ask questions, share mysteries
to make their podcasts entertaining and engaging.

Other podcasts I subscribed to for my listening pleasure are 60-seconds Science (leading science
journalists providing commentaries on science developments), Flash Forward (about what the future has
in store for people tackling all kinds of potential scenarios), Origin Stories (origin and evolution of our
species), TED Talks, Grammar Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, and EdTech Minute.

The podcasts I listed first are great resources for all students. By subscribing to them, students can
enrich their content knowledge. These resources are very beneficial too English Language Learners, as
well. Students have the chance to develop their language skills, besides their content knowledge. Podcasts
also help students limit their screen time while allowing them to engage with content through listening,
which is of great benefit to students who are using English as their second language, especially for the
students who live in countries outside of the US, or other countries where English is the predominant
language. This is so important because we all have students who just spend too much time in front of
different kinds of screens. Podcasts represent an easy way to increase students global awareness and
cultural understanding. While working in Qatar, it was so obvious to me that tools such as podcasts are so
beneficial for all the reasons listed in this blog post. My students have the opportunity to learn about the
world and improve their language skills in a fun way.
By using podcasts, teachers can differentiate their instruction and address the needs of their
students. When my students created their science podcasts, I differentiated the content and the process. To
differentiate content, groups of students were provided with different podcasts for consuming content
according to their language skills. The students had the opportunity to play the podcasts multiple times,
rewind, and pause them in order think about the content. To differentiate process, I used different
questioning techniques and ongoing informal and formal formative strategies such as thumbs up, thumbs
down, or student response systems. I also scaffolded the assistance provided to the students. I offered
more assistance to the students who needed it while they interacted with the content of the podcasts, or
while created their own podcasts. The students who needed more help, have also been provided peer
assistance to a higher degree.

Another two great benefits are the fact that podcasts are portable and on-demand technology.
Listeners can decide what they want to listen to, and when they want to do it. Its learning on the go. It
greatly benefits auditory learners and may encourage students who are reluctant readers. Podcasts are
equally useful for students with visual impairment. Choice and differentiation are two very important
tenets of good teaching. Podcasting provides students choice and teachers with rich resources for
differentiating content and process.

Students as creators of content is an added benefit. When teachers have their students create
podcasts, they take learning to the next level. Students are engaged in creative learning, and take full
ownership of their learning through planning, producing, and publishing their work for authentic
audiences. Podcasts allow students to create content, not just consume content. Students as consumers of
content, meet the standards to a lesser degree than when they are given the chance to produce their own
content.

When teachers create podcasts for their students, they can archive their lessons and reuse them.
Students who miss the class, have access to the information directly, and can play the podcast multiple
times.

I used Audacity to create my podcast, and Podomatic to publish it. The podcast I created is called
The Fun Facts Podcast.
Visual Tools
Solomon (2014) noted that visual or media literacy involves both the ability to understand and
interpret the ability to create visual messages: students must develop the skill to process and analyze
information delivered through images as well as understand the impact images have on a viewer (p. 142)
I love visual learning tools such as graphic organizers, thinking maps, concept maps, and mind maps
because they require students to use high level skills such synthesizing, analyzing, and creating. I
explored several tools. Gliffy seems to gain popularity. What I found interesting was the Google Chrome
extension, Gliffy Diagrams.

I really like the Connected Mind Chrome Extension, which I featured in my previous post, but the
downside to it is the fact that it does not allow collaboration. I would also note that a simple tool such as
Google Drawings could be a great choice. It is pretty user friendly, allows collaboration in real time, and
can be used for a variety of visual learning purposes. Bellow you can see a diagram I created in Google
Drawings.
What are your favorite podcasts and visual tools?
I look forward to reading your comments and learning from you.
Margo