We’re at a point in time where media has almost come full-circle. Similar to the 1930’s where families would gather around a radio to listen to the evening news, my friends and I today find ourselves listening to podcasts. Podcasts are episodic series of audio, video, or PDF files that can be downloaded or streamed through the internet. As a teacher, I have found that they can be used both as material for class and as an evaluation tool. The following are 5 ways that podcasts can be introduced into the classroom:

1. As ELA Material

The narrative structures of certain podcasts can be unique, as they can be either fiction or non-fiction and have an episodic plot similar to Charles Dickens. I think that using Serial would work well in a high school classroom because the story is compelling and the students would be interested in each piece of evidence. Furthermore, this topic can open up discussions about the prosecution of criminals as well as the practice of investigative journalism.

2. An Avenue to Discuss Digital Citizenship

Surrounded by technology, it is important to teach respectful discourse on online platforms. Too often, young people do not know the dangers of things that are said and uploaded to their peers, and the consequences that may be suffered later.  Digital citizenship is an important tool to be carried into the current and future job markets, as much of what we do is online.

3. As An Alternative to An Oral Report

Having students do oral presentation after oral presentation can get old for both the students and the teacher. Having students record their presentations as podcasts and upload them to the class website can be both a class time saver as well as a medium where students can express their creativity if they would like to include music or interviews.

4. As An Independent Learning Project

As an ongoing learning project, you could have each student research a topic in current affairs and create a weekly or bi-weekly podcast on the developments of the events. This method of ongoing podcasts can be used in place of reading responses as well, perfect for students if they’re doing an independent reading project outside of the class.

5. As A Way to Review Material

Another way that I have used voice memos and podcasts in the past is to create podcasts of the material that I am reviewing. When studying, I remember things a lot more clearly when I say them out loud. Having students create podcasts to review different topics is a great way to study before an exam, and is an excellent resource for future students to refer back to. You could have groups assigned to each topic and play the podcast in class as a way to review for exams, or assign your students podcasts to listen to as review.

And finally...why should you use podcasts in the classroom? Podcasts help to develop key skills, such as:

Happy listening!

If you would like to learn more about the benefits of technology in the classroom, check out "How To Use Social Media In The Classroom"