Believe in Pod. Podcasting in the classroom.

These days, content can be created in a whole host of different ways. The wonderful technology we have at our disposal allows our students (and indeed us) to construct outcomes inconceivable only ten years ago. High quality animations, computer games, interactive books and movies can all be planned, edited and produced in a matter of days and then published to a global audience. The sceptics out there may start questioning the impact on standards etc, but I feel they are missing the point. ‘Standards’ can be raised by teaching to the test if you wish to judge standards by SATs results. I prefer to judge standards by pupil engagement and the production of high quality , contextualised, meaningful content. The creation of podcasts is a great tool for doing just that.

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Recording a podcast could not be simpler. In fact, it’s a great starting point for teachers who wish to incorporate more technology within their lessons. Our Podcasts were created using the Audioboo App; it is available in both the App Store and on Android. Once an account has been established, you are able to start recording directly from the home page. The free version allows for a three minute podcast to be recorded and as soon as you have finished you simply hit the publish button and your podcast is available on line.

Ideally, classroom podcasts are used in conjunction with a school blog and embedded upon them. This is beneficial because you then have a central hub on which to compile your podcasts; subsequently they are easy to find and share. Moreover, comments and feedback can be easily provided and appreciated. To embed a podcast, you simply access your Audioboo account on a computer, retrieve the embed code and then paste the code to your blog post.

The hard work behind a good podcast comes in the planning stage.  Firstly, I would recommend that the subject matter is of interest to your learners. Making a podcast for the sake of making a podcast will have not authentic value. However, making a podcast on  a subject which offers subjectivity, interest or opinion will ignite passion and hopefully encourage lively discussions. A historical argument, political perspective or perhaps even a controversial sporting decision could provide exactly the spark required. At King’s Prep School it was the reliability of the internet that lit the fuses of debate.

I showed the children a few videos that were easily accessible on line and then asked the children their opinions regarding how trustworthy they believed  each clip to be:

This led to some fantastic discussions about internet reliability and wider discussions of digital citizenship. Students then selected popular myths/legends and then, over a series of lessons, used the internet to ascertain evidence as to their validity. They found evidence for and against their respective myths and took relevant notes, always bookmarking their sources.  The students took into account factors such as domain names, authorship, bias, authenticity and article-age to draw their own conclusions. Please visit King’s Rochester Blogs to listen to the wonderful podcasts that were created. Your comments would, of course, be hugely appreciated too.

In conclusion, creating a podcast allows students to develop several important skills such as researching, writing, speaking effectively, solving problems, managing time, grabbing attention and improving their vocabulary. They also can be used effectively by children who struggle with writing as an alternative method of communication. Furthermore, podcasts are easy to consume and when used in conjunction with school blogs can facilitate fantastic discussions. Overall, they are a simple, fun and highly effective outcome that any teacher can easily utilise and adopt into their classroom.

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