Podcasting – Synthesize and summarize!


I was listening to Mike Hetherington from Connecticut and his 6th grade podcast today.

As we learned about Web 2.0 and my students discussed podcasting. (View their wikipage to learn.) This week my students and I created two first podcasts — you can hear them at:

I am struck with the particular usefulness of podcasts for helping students synthesize and summarize information as well as engaging and providing review materials for auditory learners.

If you want to know how to podcast, just review my simple steps for podcasting. I put this up for my students who wanted to do it for free from home.

Students can be assigned a section of material and asked to write a 2 – 3 minute script. They should create a wiki page to summarize information (see yesterday's article) and then record their podcast. They will then upload and link the podcast to their review page for other students to listen to as they are reviewing the material.

Thus, at the completion of a year, students have created a synthesis of textbook material in a language that is relevant to them. It is available in written and auditory form! Students have become part of the process and producers rather than just consumers.

This is incredible!

Some other podcasts of note are:

They've been doing it a while! I'm very impressed!

Regardless of the quality, students are engaged and excited about this new medium. Also with technologies now available such as audioblogger — students can actually create audio blogs (a/k/a podcasts) from their cellphones and post them directly to the Internet. With most every student having a cell phone or access to one these days — what a great assignment. I'm going to look into building that into my podcasting plan in January.

With all of this said, I do not worship new technology for new technology's sake! If new technology has evolved to the point where it is a new communication medium — it becomes a tool for communicating the information that we are teaching students.

It is about the content of what we're trying to teach– not the communication method! Every lesson must have an objective and be in line with curriculum objectives. Each year I incorporate more technological tools and communication methods into my curriculum and each year I cover more material — not less! Each year I become a better teacher!

May I never be unwilling to change. I've been using computers since I was 8 (if the TRS-80 with 4KB of RAM counts as a computer!) I remember that when I was learning to write adventure games in Basic, students made fun of me and teachers didn't care — but my parents encouraged me to do that because I loved it! We do not have to understand how a technology works to use it! If it increases students ability to learn and retain information it becomes a tool for educators who care about teaching.

Teaching is my passion! When the light bulb goes on and a student truly “gets it” — I am alive and realize I am living a piece of myself that will live on far past me. If you miss that light bulb experience — adopt (with a plan) some of these new technologies as they are appropriate along with the best of what you already do!

Paper and pen have their place, memorization has its place, books have their place, make room for the computer!

Podcast now with my easy steps to podcasting.

I'd like to quote Tama's e-learning blog with an abstract she'll be sharing at an upcoming conference that totally fits this point:


iTeach, iLearn: Student Podcasting

The term podcasting is a combination of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcast’ and describes type of syndicated digital audio that results in automatically downloadable files which are playable in portable media devices, such as (but not limited to) the iPod. Australian universities have been making lectures available as streaming audio for some years now, but with learners anchored to a computer in order to listen. Podcasting has allowed students to take lectures and other audio wherever they go, but this model still relies on the top-down structure of lectures as academic content for student’s to consume. However, in the University of Western Australia’s Communication Studies honours course ‘iGeneration: Digital Communication and Participatory Culture’ the tables have been turned somewhat and now students are making podcasts, too. For their major assignments, students were asked to create an innovative audio podcast which engaged with the notion of participatory culture and the results ranged from a ‘pod play’ in the style 1930s RKO radio theatre to an alternative commentary for a Simpsons episode focusing on consumer culture and intertextuality. These podcasts are also cultural output themselves – they will remain downloadable indefinitely, allowing students to use them in future online portfolios and also providing a resource (or entertainment) for others. Moreover, the same system which supports lectures in streaming and podcast form, the iLecture system, also facilitates the students’ podcasts, in effect allowing them to take a turn at using the digital podium. With students podcasting, teaching and learning is clearly a two-way street. In this paper, I will outline the way in which podcasting was used in the iGeneration course; the setup in terms of technology and philosophy driving it; the podcasts themselves; students’ responses to podcasting (both informally and from a short survey); and the initial lessons learnt from student podcasting at a tertiary level.


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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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