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How to easily create podcasts and use this technology in your classroom
Many teachers are aware of educational podcasts that they can listen to as a form of professional development. Vicki Davis’s ‘10 minute teacher podcast’ is a good example of this. But, did you know that podcasting is becoming popular as an instructional tool in classrooms around the world? Learners can easily create their own podcasts. They can practice reading, writing, interviewing, presenting and much more using this technology.
What is podcasting?
Podcasting is a way of distributing and broadcasting an audio file. A podcast starts with the creation of a digital audio file, but a podcast is more than just a digital audio file. The audio file, once created, usually in the form of a MP3, needs to be uploaded to a podcast-hosting website on the Internet from where it can be broadcast. From this hosting site, anyone who subscribes to your podcast can download it to their computer or mobile device to listen to it.
How to create a podcast
In a nutshell, if you're creating your own podcast, all you need is a topic you're passionate about, a computer device, a microphone, an application to make the MP3 audio file, an Internet connection and a podcast hosting site. So, in classroom terms:
- You would need to use an application on your computer device to make the audio file. The two most popular free applications for creating MP3s are Audacity (for PCs) and Garageband (for Mac and mobile devices). The easiest free Internet site for making MP3 recordings is Online Voice Recorder.
- Once you have created and saved your MP3 file, you could upload it to a free Internet site like SoundTrap to host it as a podcast. Others can listen to it there. You can also use Google Drive, Google Classroom or Blogger to host your podcast.
Learners understand this process very quickly and they really enjoy making podcasts. Many of them will soon find ways to add a free music background to their podcasts!
How can you use podcasting in the classroom?
Here are fifteen ideas that you could start using immediately:
- Current Events Newscasts: Let your learners practice non-fiction reading skills by doing a monthly podcast on an interesting current event.
- Reading Radio: Let your learners make short radio broadcasts summarising the books they are reading. They could alternatively read extracts from the book they are reading
- Celebrate Culture: The learners podcast about important cultural events and how they are celebrated.
- Interviews: Have learners interview each other about important school events. For this lesson, learners create podcasts to record interviews. They could even record interviews about opinions. For example: ‘What will life be like in 5,10,15 years’ time?’
- Review information for tests. This will be an excellent way to recall information by speaking and listening.
- Podcasting Pen Pals: Record interactive or encouraging podcasts and then send them to another classroom in another city or country.
- Grammar tips. Learners could summarise a grammar tip in a podcast. This will show if they have actually grasped it.
- Instructional text. Learners could give instructions for making items, playing games, making a recipe etc.
- Present a report on someone famous, as a podcast.
- Report back on a vacation or an excursion trip.
- Poetry reading: Choose a favourite poem and read it as a podcast.
- Review a website and give an oral podcast about it.
- Create a podcast for younger children with stories, rhymes and riddles.
- Comedy show. Share some humorous jokes as a podcast.
- Thank you podcast for the staff and teachers at the end of a year.
The list is endless.
Why not try out these ideas, starting today!