Sunday, December 7, 2014

Article #5 Podcasting for Deeper Understanding

Smart, M. (2008, November 12). Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom. Retrieved December 2, 2014, from
In the article, Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom, Maya Smart writes about how podcasting helps motivate students to take what they have learned and present it in a new and interesting way, while developing writing and speaking skills.
She starts off talking about the students in Brent Coley’s class and how they react when they find out their work will be live on the web. Students at Tovashal Elementary School make podcasts that are posted on iTunes. Brent Coley, a teacher at Tovashal, explains how having their work on the web motivates his students. Their “eyes light up.”  She explains that other teachers are using podcasts and posting them on sites like the Educational Podcast Network and iTunes U K-12.
Smart cites the Pew Internet & American Life Project numbers that show ..."kids ages 12-17 own an iPod or another MP3 player..." That number comes from a 2008 study and probably doesn't even matter today. So many kids now have smartphones with the ability to listen to podcasts. But I think it shows that podcasting in education is even more available than ever, which is a good thing, since she goes on to tell about Fort Sumner Municipal Schools who took part in a in a study where students of Spanish accessed podcasts while on long bus or car rides, and Spanish grades went up.
The next section of the article talks about what a podcasts and how to make one.
Finally, Smart writes about how podcasts help students. She says that, "When used educationally, podcasts can empower students and teachers to become content producers rather than content consumers, and they can give them audiences beyond the classroom. Student-created podcasts reinforce course concepts, develop writing skills, hone speaking ability, and even help parents stay current on classroom activities." Smart quotes Dan Schmit, creator and host of Kidcast: Podcasting in the classroom, who says students get a sense of purpose in their learning. She uses Schmit to make many of her points. Smart explains that podcasting is not only about oral-presentation skills, but also that Schmit says some of the best podcasts spark "sustained academic conversations." It is these conversations that take learning to the next level. Smart shows how back in 1995, David Warlick, an educator, thought workers in the future (now) will need to be able to "...creatively and artistically reshape information and raw material into compelling information products."
I think using podcasts to take what students have learned and put it into a written and oral format is a great way to see how students have processed the material. I’m not sure that just having a podcast on the web is motivation enough today, since many students already have Youtube channels, and Twitter and Instagram accounts. Perhaps the thrill has worn off.
It seems to me that a more social forum like Google+ could be used to to post podcasts and other work, where students could share and comment and comment on comments. Perhaps students would feel more inclined to share and take part; they may feel like they have more at stake. Being in a more social forum could spawn more participation and conversation.

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