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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week 3: Podcasting (Respond by Friday, July 6th)

My good friend the Ninja introduced us to podcasting (if you were absent that day check out the video on the Wiki) and we got a chance to play with Audacity a bit to learn how you could record your own podcast but the question of how we actually use podcasts as teachers might still be lingering for some of you. The research on podcasting in k-12 education is pretty thin due to the fact that it is still a fairly new idea and technology. More and more universities are using podcasting as a way to archive lectures and make them available to students but this isn't really the way I think of using podcasts with k-12 students. I have looked around for articles to share on podcasting but really haven't found anything I want to use just yet. It's easy enough to get a basic definition of what a podcast is and it seems like it makes more sense to me that we spend some time listening to actual podcasts and exploring how teachers and students are making use of this technology. Here is a "vodcast" (a podcast with video, which is a lot like a regular video but you can subscribe to it) on how one group of elementary students creates podcasts in their school. I think the teacher got a little ambitious with the purchase of an audio mixer, special microphones and other optional equipment but I really enjoyed learning about the writing process students go through when they plan their individual podcasts or corners as they call them. You might think these kids seem overly excited about writing and the video only shows them hard at work and on task, but I do wonder if the fact that they get to create a podcast with their writing isn't somehow a motivational factor for them. How might you be able to harness this enthusiasm and use it to teach different types of writing styles and skills through podcasting? If you want to see how the teacher from this class uses podcasts you can check out his blog at and have a listen. To get a better sense of the ways podcasts are being used please look around online for a podcast either created for or by students in your respective grade and/or content area. Share the link to the podcast you find and tell us what you like about it. I would love it if you took the time to add it to our Wiki as well.


Miss Burke said...

From my experience I think any technology will enhance enthusiasm. Technology seems to be a “bonus” when it comes to learning and education because it is something other than a book, paper, and pencil. The way he integrated podcasts into his classroom was great, I am sure his students were engaged from the start just because they were going to use technology. I personally would set up centers around the room with various aspects of writing. I would then disperse the whole class into each of the centers. Each pair or group would be responsible for learning and demonstrating each aspect of writing. Over a period of time all of the students would rotate through each center and they would build their podcast as they moved along. At the end you have every center completed by every student, all aspects of writing are learned and demonstrated by everyone, and each group would have a completed podcast documenting this process.

I found a classroom website or hosting site for a variety of podcasts and vodcasts that were created by 7th grade science students.
I liked this link because there are a variety of podcasts on several different topics. From what I gathered, it looks like the students’ final project of this previous year was to pick a science concept that was taught sometime throughout the year. Students then had to create a podcast teaching that concept. Each podcast was made with the same program, however each podcast is very unique. I think this is a great culminating activity idea to at the end of the year because students have the opportunity to be very creative, learn how to use and integrate new technology, and review what was taught in 7th grade throughout the year. Even though each pair of students are only focusing on one topic, they will be viewing other podcasts their peers created so the all of the material will ultimately be reviewed and reinforced.

Mrs. Rizzo said...

Well, I am very excited to integrate technology in the classroom. I still am concerned with the limitations we have in my district, but will continue to look into ways to allow students access in our schools.
I have searched for a podcast, relating to 7th grade math, for a few days and am not having any luck. Perhaps I am making it too difficult. I used podcast alley to search, yahoo, Google, EDN, and various other sites for podcasting. I saw various schools that use podcasting as news from administrators or announcements, but not much of a math oriented podcast.
There is a podcast series called dansmathcast, which can be found at This series is from a college math teacher named Dan Bach. He dedicates his podcasts to anything and everything math. He has a different subject (chapter) for each podcast and he answers questions from the previous podcast.
As I searched podcast alley, I noticed many podcasts were dedicated to music programs at various schools. I found Cranbrook's Composer site: which contained a series of compositions made by those students. It seems podcasting has really taken hold in the musical areas of education, more so than mathematics.

Ms. Borsick (Goddard) said...

Not having my own classroom and having to travel to the K-3 classes with a cart makes it difficult to teach anything. Time management is key, because I only have the students 3 days a week for 50 minutes. My students are really excited about science and computers, so I know that when I do incorporate the two most if not all the students will be engaged and focused on whatever task they are given.
I found a science site called by Ecogeeks, which really was fun. I'm not sure I could use much of it with K-3, but definitely 5th and up. The hosts were fun, the audio and video were clear and related to the topic they were discussing. I was also able to link many of their podcast topics to many topics that I teach. I'll definitely be adding this link to the Wiki.

Scott Just said...

The site I found was from O’Neill Elementary in O’Neill Nebraska. It has student produced podcasts with imbedded pictures. The site as a whole is excellent. The setup and scripting errors I received were distracting but the student produced content is great.
The short based on the If you give a pig a party, If you give a mouse a cookie books is awesome.
The podcasts range from second to eighth grade. The Podcast on the solar system was what linked me to the site. They show how a non-traditional assessment can be just as valid as a paper test. The students even produced PSA podcasts.
As for using technology in the classroom, I understand the frustration of the hardware having taught computers/technology for a year. Frustration is easy when the server fails, lesson plans for the day are shot, and the techno-phobic administrator doesn’t understand why you aren’t “teaching” what you have planned.
In my current capacity as a fourth grade teacher getting everyone on the four machines I have in a timely manner will be my biggest issue. A schedule as Stein mentioned is a good idea but it will require students to plan ahead a way I know they have not been asked to do before.
Using computers, programs, dioramas, or raps all motivate students beyond a pen and paper in my experience. Some students experience frustration due to a lack of keyboarding skills. This has been easily addressed with the help of the tech teacher and the Neos used anytime.

ftillmn said...

I think your podcasting link about the kids working on their own project was interesting. I think the teacher was apparently motivated and excited about podcasting because they actually had what looked liked studio microphones and a real mixer. What enthusiasm and such a great effort!!!! Although it seemed a bit much to use all that equipment, I'm sure it was worth it to have the students become just as excited and eager to complete such a nontraditional classroom project. I found a site that offered quite a few examples of students learning hands-on. Check out this podcast on This site has dozens of podcasts that may be useful to anyone looking for ideas on how to set up a classroom podcast. Learning to incorporate technology into science lessons, in my opinion, will no doubt enhance the learning experiences of students. At the same time, if used regularly, I believe that it will encourage teachers to explore even more creative ways to teach a concept.

Anonymous said...

I searched at length for a good example of a fifth grade podcast to share with the class. After looking for some time I stumbled upon a little gem called Room 207 podcast. Which you can access at The teacher uses the podcast for a wide variety of activities. To begin with they update the listener about the happenings in class and around the school. If you continue to listen students share everything from jokes, to favorite stories (including the reading level for the book), and even their “rad vocab” words and definitions. I really like the variety of this podcast because it allows all students with different ability levels to participate. The teacher was able to accommodate all the levels of his students by assigning them appropriate level work to podcast. The higher level students were able to share novels, discuss the story at length and also share the reading level of the book. The students who were lower shared their vocabulary words and their definitions.

I think the opportunity to create a podcast similar to Room 207 would be a great motivator for any student in my class. They would see that not only do the “smart” kids get to do it but that everyone has a part to contribute. Students would also be excited to know that what they are writing in class would be recorded and shared on the internet. I think any student knowing they could participate in such an activity would work harder to make sure they are sharing their best work.

Another way I would use this podcast is to demonstrate the styles of writing my students learn each year. I think it would be interesting to have them record their mystery, narrative and descriptive writing. They could record the stories and add sound effects to make them more interesting. I know my class would put more effort into their work if they could publish it in such a unique way.

Ahlam said...

The following link includes a variety of podcasts created by students in a 6th grade classroom. The reason I liked this site is because the students create reading podcasts where they read or retell a story. They also report on school news and what's going on in their classroom. The students also make up their own version of stories as well as write responses or thoughts on certain topics and read those as well.
All students get pretty excited when it comes to working with technological equipment. My students get very excited to go up to the computer lab. I know that if I told them that their writing was going to be put on a podcast and that they could be the ones to do it then they would be extremely motivated when it comes to writing. I would put my students in groups and have each group work on a story. One group would do a descriptive story while one group does a narrative and so on. Once they put their podcasts together then the groups will watch one another's podcasts and they would switch writing styles. Also, I can have a classroom story where we start a story as a class and then each student contributes to the story until all students had a chance and then they will each record their part and then we will listen to the podcast. Students do not always need to work in groups. I can have students write on their own and have them record their stories and when they are put together we could sort them out depending on which ones fit together.

Sister Ghazala said...

Fortunately, I am going to teach the same group of students in fifth grade because I'm looping with them from fourth to fifth grade. I remember last year for a project presentation, one of the choices I gave them was through Power Point. A good majority chose to present their projects using power point. That tells me how easy it would be for them to get motivated. The most important factor I mist remember to remind them would be to do the script writing with great care because I know my students would rush to get to the recording equipment first.
The podcast I listened to is a wonderful example of integrating technology into Language Arts/writing traits. Students do sound excited and well prepared.
Here is the URL for the website.
What I like about it is that in order to teach others and do the podcasting, they took time to understand and learn how to use the six writing traits to create interesting writing pieces. One cannot ignore the motivation and confidence in their presentation.

To include podcasting in my language arts class, I would love to use this idea at my writing centers. I will divide students for story writing. They will visit different centers representing six character traits so that they learn and use the techniques of traits in their stories. As each groups gets done, I will assist them with recording.

Anya said...

Children who participate in constructing their own lessons tend to learn more and are more likely to complete assignments. This is hands-on learning without manipulatives. Mr. Sprankle’s class demonstrates brainstorming, first drafts, revision, rewrites, and final products. Instead of their product being displayed on a bulletin board, podcasting allows their products to be displayed by the world. I think that students work harder when they think about the audience that will see their work. They strive to do their best.
The enthusiasm that Mr. Sprankle created can be done in other classrooms, too. I would create a topic that would have the students use a certain writing style and show their understanding of that style, through podcasting. If we were exploring narrative writing, I would have the children develop what they would want to talk about, who the audience is, what details should be included, and author voice. Podcasting allows a student’s work to come alive and employs the last skill of the writing process; the final product.
I found a podcast in which students, who have handheld pc’s, produced summarizing fun facts about their cities. It’s interesting because they include links for you to peruse while you listen to the podcast. It also has a place for you to add your city’s podcast, developed by your students. It is It shows how students had to research and organize their data to make it into a podcast that gives the audience a good description and summary of their own city as they see it.

Jenn Barczyk said...

I agree with Miss Burke. I think any technology that we use has a "cool" factor that we can't really duplicate with general lectures and handouts. I am hoping to use podcasting to boost students’ enthusiasm in a variety of ways. I would like to incorporate at least one podcast within each unit. I can have students design speeches from various characters, put portions of Shakespeare in their own words, reflect on school safety procedures, correctly pronounce vocabulary words within sentences, and recite their own poetry for parents to hear. I think the pre-writing involved will help to establish a stronger consideration of audience for students, as well as help to alleviate some of the anxiety they experience when presenting information. I am interested in having my study skills students record a myriad of processes regarding studying. This will not only reinforce what they have learned, but give their parents some guides to listen to as well.

I found a ton of great podcasts for learning English as a second language, such as, and thought this would be extremely beneficial to these students. Each semester, I only have about three students learning English, but I think this would be very helpful for all of them.

I had a more difficult time finding podcasts relating to English as a first language. I went through about twenty selections, and all were either posting as blank pages, errors, or have been deleted. I found more useful blogs while searching for podcasts than I did podcasts, including one that had an embedded Youtube video of Chaucer enacted by World of Warcraft Characters commandeered by students. I thought that was extremely clever! Anyway, after plenty of searching, I did find that most of the blogs on this site worked well, and the Gatsby ones were particularly interesting:

Jenn Barczyk said...

I have a question about podcasting. I think it would be valuable for many of my special ed students if I included some podcasts that were entire readings or important excerpts of short stories we read as a class. However, I suspect that this may violate copyright laws. What are our limitations as far as reading material written by published authors?

Jeff Bouwman said...

After looking at the teacher's website, that guy has a lot of extra time on his hands! Job well done though, I would love to have a website like that. Similar to Ms. Burke's comment, I truly feel that podcasting will increase student motivation. When students are "geeked" about their work, they put their best effort forward.

In order for students to have a good podcast, they must have a good script. This incorporates writing skills and public speaking skills. Not only will students have the opportunity to create a podcast, but they use language arts standards at the same time, win-win!

After looking around, I liked the Radio WillowWeb site. You can tell that the students take pride in their work. The podcasts sound wonderful. Pinckney Elementary had a good website set up with numerous podcasts.

I would like to publish student made podcasts on my website! I also help (direct) students with our morning t.v. announcements. It would be really easy to set up a podcast spot on our school's website for the morning announcements. All I would need to do is set up a laptop with audacity and use an extra microphone as the students read the announcements. I could probably talk our librarian into posting the MP3 everyday. Parents could listen to the morning announcements from home everyday.