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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Podcasts in Practice Part 1

For this week I plan to share a different example of how teachers are using podcasts in k-12 classrooms for each day. The first example I want to share is Radio Willow Web from Willowdale Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska. This is by far one of the best examples of how podcasts can be used to teach students reading, writing, social studies, science, technology and much more. They call their podcasts Willow Casts and when you listen to a few you might feel a bit overwhelmed because they are so polished and professional sounding but I think a lot of that is possible because they start kids so early with this so that by the time they are in 4th and 5th grade they are true pros at podcasting...I mean Willow casting. Each of the Willow Casts follows a similar structure and form with a narrator and various segments recorded by individuals or small groups of students. When you listen to these you need to remember that these weren't created in a day and depending on the grade level there was probably a certain amount of adult involvement in the editing process. More importantly, as you listen think about what the students had to know and understand in order to create their individual segments. Students had to be able to write a coherent script, which no doubt required some research and a firm grasp of the content about which they were writing. They also would get practice in reading during their research and as they recorded their script. Of course, they also learn from listening to podcasts created by their fellow classmates. Check out a few Willow Casts and see what you think.

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