By Teachers, For Teachers
A podcast is a topic-specific digital stream of audio files (in some cases, video or PDF also) that can be downloaded to a computer or a wide variety of media devices. They are funny, entertaining, educational, often short, and rarely boring. They can cover news, current events, history, or pretty much anything the creator would like. When you subscribe, each new episode is automatically downloaded to your device, to be played at your convenience. You can play the entire stream or select an individual episode as part of your technology in the classroom arsenal. Here’s how to use technology in the classroom podcasts to enhance your class.
If you're creating your own podcast, all you need is a digital device, a microphone, an Internet connection, and a topic you're passionate about. The two most popular sites for creating podcasts are Audacity (for PCs) and Garageband (for Macs and mobile devices). Once the podcast is completed, it is saved (typically) as an MP3, which can be played through any program that accepts that file type such as QuickTime, Windows Media, SoundCloud, and even Google Drive.
Here are popular ways to use podcasts in your lesson plans:
Not everyone wants to -- or has time to -- create her own podcasts. In fact, the most popular use of podcasts is for research and education. Here are oft-recommended sites educators use for that purpose:
Most are free and G-rated, but -- as with anything online -- preview before unleashing them to your class.
Overall, podcasts are education's secret weapon, unmatched in their ability to differentiate for particular student needs and be inclusive to the learning styles of everyone. Show students how to use them and then offer them often as an alternative when assessing knowledge.
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-8 technology for 15 years. She is the editor/author of more than 100 ed-tech resources, including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in ed-tech, CSG Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on ed-tech topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.