NOTE: This lesson is broken in to three parts that could be used in sequence as an extended lesson or broken apart and used individually, depending on the teacher's objective in the classroom.
Part 1: Podcasting 101
1. Create student interest in podcasting by surveying students and quickly tabulating the results of the survey so students can see the growth potential for podcasters.
- Do you own or have access to an IPod or other MP3 device or a home computer?
- Are you are familiar with the term podcast and what it means?
- Have you ever listened to a podcast?
- Do you currently listen to/subscribe to at least one podcast on a regular basis?
As student answer each question, record the number of students who answer yes to each question and quickly determine what percentage of students familiar with or currently utilizing this type of technology.
2. Distribute or read aloud the NewsHour Extra article "Podcasting Power for the People" available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june05/podcasting_2-23.html. Use this article to instruct students about:
- various types of programs available as podcasts (i.e. audio blogs, news and informational programming (such as NewsHour and other popular PBS programs), independently produced music, etc.)
- the technology of podcasting (i.e. hardware, software, the production process, , RSS, subscribing to a podcast, etc.)
Focus specifically on the sections of the article entitled "Podcasting Power" and "How Does
Podcasting Work?" for this part of the activity.
For further enrichment students could also read or listen or watch the streaming video from the NewsHour segment, Online NewsHour segment transcript "Apple's IPod a Technological, Cultural Phenomenon" available at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/media/jan-june06/ipod_05-15.html.
3. Using a NewsHour podcast available from the listing at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rss/media/index.html, work as a class and have students practice accessing the podcast. Discuss the types of equipment needed to access the podcast. Listen to 1-2 minutes of the podcast and utilize some of the features such as the ability to pause, rewind, and fast-forward the program.
4. Refer back to the NewsHour Extra article "Podcasting Power for the People". Pay special attention to the section entitled "Creeping Commercialization" and facilitate a short discussion about podcasts using questions such as:
- In what ways are podcasts similar to television programs that have been TiVoed?
- How are podcasts different from what is currently available on traditional radio?
- How are traditional television broadcasters and advertisers using podcasting to reach different audiences as well as target markets?
- Why do you think podcasting has become so popular? Discuss some of the benefits of podcasting.
- Is there a down side to podcasting? Discuss some of the negatives that could result from this medium of communication.
5. Close the discussion by asking students to respond orally or in writing to questions such as:
- Summarize the process used for creating a podcast.
- Do you agree with the last statement in the Newhour Extra article that says: "This is 'not a flash in the pan, it's here to stay.'" Why or why not?
- Do you think podvertising will be a good thing? Why or why not?
- If podcasters begin to charge subscription fees, how do you think this will impact podcasting? Why?
- If given the opportunity, would you ever consider creating your own podcast or a podvertising campaign? Why or why not?
- What impact, if any, do you believe podcasting will have on education in the U.S.?
Part 2: Using NewsHour Podcasts in the Classroom
1. After reviewing the podcast and considering the objectives of your lesson, choose one of the graphic organizers provided and prepare copies for distribution to students.
2. Before listening to the podcast, distribute the selected graphic organizer and review the directions for completion of the organizer.
3. Provide students with a brief introduction to the podcast including information such as:
- topic being discussed
- featured speaker/interviewee
4. Select a method for listening to the podcast (individually on pc's or mp3 players, etc. or as a
class using the computer). Remind students that they have two goals as they listen:
- completion of the graphic organizer
- understanding of the main ideas and information presented in the podcast
5. Once all students have had an opportunity to listen to the podcast, provide 3-5 minutes of class time for students to complete the graphic organizer.
6. Facilitate a short classroom discussion about the podcast using information students recorded on the graphic organizer. Collect graphic organizers after discussion as a form of student assessment.
7. Questions such as those below could be used as part of a classroom discussion or could be assigned as a written response activity.
- Why is the story/topic of this podcast significant/important?
- How are the world, country, and/or individuals being impacted by what is described in the podcast?
- What did you learn from listening to the podcast?
- What additional questions do you have about this topic after hearing the podcast?
8. Select a follow-up activity from the list below as a culminating activity for students to share what they learned from listening to the podcast.
- Make a drawing that illustrates the main idea(s) presented in the podcast
- Create a poster, bumper sticker, or billboard design that creates awareness about the topic presented in the podcast
- Write a persuasive speech, editorial/letter to the editor, or a letter to a lawmaker sharing your opinions about the topic presented in the podcast
- Conduct research about the topic of the podcast and write a 1-page report that describes the additional information you learned from researching.
Part 3: Producing Your Own Podcast
1. Using a Web site such as Podcasting Tools available at http://www.podcasting-tools.com/how-to-podcast.htm or Podcasting News "Make Your Own Podcast" at http://www.podcastingnews.com/articles/How-to-Podcast.html, review the procedures that must be followed for creating a podcast.
2. Have students work in pairs or small groups to create a podcast about the topic of their choice. This could be an assigned topic (maybe opinions about a controversial issue, a current events report, a school news story, etc.) or a topic chosen by students (possibly featuring their own music, a feature talk show about students, groups, or teachers from the building, etc.) Distribute a Podcasting Planning Sheet to each group so they can organize the podcast and have it approved before beginning production. Give groups 10-15 minutes to plan their podcasts.
3. Review each group's Podcasting Planning Sheet to ensure that what students have planned is appropriate and can be accomplished within the confines of the school environment.
4. Provide students with one class period to produce their podcast. Provide assistance with production issues and monitor groups closely for content as well as the process used for completing the project.
5. When each group completes his/her podcast, have them play it so you can approve the quality and content of the podcast.
6. When all groups have completed their podcasts, have them share the podcasts with their classmates. Have each student complete at Peer Evaluation Form to provide other groups with feedback about their podcasts.
After producing podcasts in Part 3 above, have the class work to produce a podcast that could be shared with other classrooms within the school or the school district. Decide on a programming format and have students work in pairs or small groups to produce content for the podcast at regular intervals. Encourage teachers from other classrooms to utilize the podcast content with their classes and provide feedback about the podcast. Also, submit a description of the podcast and contact information to NewsHour Extra at: email@example.com