Podcasts and Digital Stories in the Classroom

After reading, What Teens are Learning from ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts, the biggest benefit to using these types of media is to create interest and motivate students.  Creating interest and motivating students seems to be increasingly difficult.  Students are bombarded with high stimuli materials in their daily life.  They have access to cell phones, video games, and graphic movies on television.  These high stimuli materials often make books and other less “enhanced” materials boring.

In addition to creating interest and motivating students, the idea of learning through listening is interesting.  It is a way to help students who may not read and grade-level to be able to process materials at their grade-level.  According to the article, “students can listen to content two-to-three grade levels higher than they can read,” (Flanagan, 2015).  This is one way to help bridge the gap for those students who struggle reading.  It allow them to process information that is more complex without being held back by their current reading ability.  In addition, following along as a digital story is playing can help English Language Learners gain more exposure to the spoken language.

Some possible disadvantages to using podcasts and digital stories in the classroom include a lack of access to technology outside of school.  If a students doesn’t have internet access at home and misses a day of class, it may be difficult for that student to find the time at school to make up the listening exercise.

I am interested in trying to have students try to create in these forms.  Increasing the students critical thinking and having them use their speaking skills to create their own podcasts seems like an effective project to incorporate into my classes.  The most probable approach to incorporate this into the classroom is probably to include it as a quarter end group or partner project that is due at the end of the quarter.  This will give students enough time to work together to plan and produce their podcast.

My biggest take-away from the articles related to podcasts and digital stories is the mere quantity of resources that are available on the internet to take advantage of these ideas.  The potential planning time for these projects could be incredibly high, so it’s important to incorporate little steps to get started using these technologies in the classroom.  The increase in interest and motivation for students will be worth the extra prep time.  Teachers will learn as then incorporate podcasts and digital stories into the classroom more effective ways to utilize them.

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