I am all about teaching 21st Century skills in the classroom. If we want students to become the leaders of the future, we need to start shaping them into being innovators today. So when I was assigned to Speech this year, I saw it as a great opportunity to integrate these skills into the ELA classroom. Podcasts are trendy and fun, but also an art form. it takes a lot of craft to plan, host, and edit a podcast. They also are a great way for students to share about their unique interests. Listening to my students podcasts is one of my favorite things to do because I get the opportunity to hear them being clever, curious, and passionate about their favorite things!
I've compiled the resources that I use to teach podcasting to my students below!
Learning About Podcasts (2 to 3 class days)
Before my students begin creating podcasts, we first start just learning what they are, how they work, and what are some elements of them. I like to give them a more "meta" experience by not simply listing off the elements, but by letting them sample several podcasts and draw their conclusions. My favorite resource to use to kick off podcasting is to use the materials from Days 1 and 2 of this NYT Educator's website. While I modify a lot of the material and create my own worksheets and slides to accompany it, I LOVE the example podcasts they provide. They really give students good examples of podcasting, while also pulling them in with high interest material.
Day 2 of the NYT lesson focuses on interviewing. Interviewing is a great skill for students to gain because it centers on listening. I play the video they provide with my students and we listen to the examples together as a class. Again, the NYT examples are pertinent and interesting- students end up getting sucked into the podcast, even beyond the soundbites we hear in class. Then I turn them loose in the school to create their interviews and record them on FlipGrid.
Learning the Technology (2 days)
When it comes to technology, I've learned that students are often their own best teachers. Growing up technically literature, students often find educational technology tools intuitive and it isn't hard for them to explore the technical side of podcasting. The first day, I give them an overview of different apps they can use to record their podcasts. More confident, tech-saavy students like to use Garage Band or Audacity, however Anchor.fm offers an easy app for people of any experience to create a podcast. I've found that outside of students who are IT wiz kids, students create the most successful and highest scoring podcasts through Anchor. I play students a few examples of previous student podcasts made on Anchor and we watch a brief intro video. Then I turn them loose to "sandbox" and explore the app!
The second day we dive into web design. I include web design with podcasting as a way to help student consider the marketing and communication skills needed to create a podcast. It also gives students experience with another important 21st century skill to add to their bag of tricks. I show them examples from the websites of some of my favorite podcasts and from previous student podcasts. We discuss what they do well and how to avoid easy mistakes. Then I turn them loose to sandbox. By time time, a lot of students have ideas already about what they want to do.
Podcast Creation (1 to 2 weeks)
Depending on your school, its schedule, and the availability of quiet recording spaces- I recommend providing around 2 weeks of work time for this project. It is a pretty hefty project, so I think that it prevents it from being too overwhelming. I require students to make 3 podcast episodes of 5 minutes each. They have to include at least one interview. The rubric is based on the following: Podcast Topic, Episode Content, Editing, Website, Quality of Interview, Vocal Delivery, Marketing, Class Participation, and Time.
Podcast Listening (2 to 3 days)
Once students are finished, I ask them to bring their headphones to class. I create a page on my website with all of the podcasts on it so that they can link to those. Students are asked to listen to 6 different podcasts for each one reflect on: what they liked about the podcast, what they like about the website, and who they would recommend it to. It usually takes about two days for them to finish, but it's also a good activity for a shortened schedule day!
Here are some examples of outstanding student podcasts:
No Sleep Podcast- A podcast about local folklore from the Omaha area
Theories that Conspire- A podcast about conspiracy theories
Inc City- A "Nightvale"-esque podcast that is endearingly quirky
I'm thinking about putting together a small packet that includes the podcast assignment sheet, rubric, and listening guide to purchase on my *coming soon* TPT store. Is that something you'd be interested in? Let me know in the comments!
I'm Megan and I teach high school ELA. I'm all about literature, creativity, and aesthetics!