Engaging Podcasts for Tuning Students into Learning: Student-Created Edition

While listening to podcasts is a boon for learning, student-created podcasts tap into whole new skill sets and levels of understanding.

There’s something about gleaning knowledge and information from one’s own peer group. It holds that walked in my shoes and relatable familiarity that can sometimes be lacking in many of the materials students encounter. Not only do student-created podcasts allow students to be the sharers of knowledge, but they also allow students to use their own voices in the sharing process.

Podcasts offer students a new way to communicate information that oftentimes gets relegated to writing. For students who find writing laborious or the mechanics of writing challenging, podcasts offer them a new way to share that same information that is meant to inform, persuade, or entertain. By vocalizing their thoughts, students are able to infuse some subtleties and nuances that can be so difficult for writers of any experience level to put into words on a page.

The Creation of the Podcast

Audio and recording don’t have to conjure up images of a sound booths or recording studios. With a smartphone or other similarly capable device and some editing resources, students can go from novice recorders to aficionados in no time. The creation of these auditory compilations involves more than simply hitting a record button though. Students’ eagerness to tackle this new medium will likely have them happily navigating the preparatory work that is typically the largest chunk of the podcast creation process.

Project Audio: Teaching Students How to Produce Their Own Podcasts offers an excellent step-by-step approach for navigating those initial forays into podcasting. From topic selection to a final sharing celebration, this article from The New York Times shares all of the ins and outs for utilizing these student-created mediums. Contributing author Laura Winnick uses podcasts as research-based summative assessments in her high school English course. There are lots of other applications for utilizing podcasts in any curriculum.

Just as the series Engaging Podcasts for Tuning Students into Learning shared existing podcasts for a variety of content areas, using the composition of podcasts as a learning tool can also fit into these same varied contents. Existing podcasts are a great resource for helping students tackle their own recordings. With the abundance of podcasts in existence for listening and learning, students are sure to find a format that speaks to them, whether it be sharing knowledge and information via interview, narration, or storytelling.

Depending on the grade level, podcasts can be individual, group, or whole class compilations. Trying a whole class podcast as an instructional exemplar before handing over the individual or group reins is a great way to introduce some of the techniques. Creating Podcasts with Your Students from Reading Rockets shares several podcast ideas including weekly classroom broadcasts, field trip documentation, and book reviews.

There are many program options when podcast creation is a chosen platform for learning. Ditch that Textbook delves into creating podcasts via Anchor. Free Technology for Teachers shares some quick information about creating interactive podcasts with Synth. While TeachHUB offers a variety of web-based programs and apps for usage.

Adding podcasts to the pedagogical repertoire allows parents and other stakeholders to listen in on the learning that is occurring in the classroom. Whether the student-created podcasts are used to showcase personal knowledge and understandings or as a platform to share classroom information and news with others, these short pieces can help in making connections to content and/or any other information in need of sharing. The podcasts and tools shared through the series Engaging Podcasts for Tuning Students into Learning are a great way to introduce or refresh the usage of podcasts in the classroom.