The power of podcasting—broadcasting digital audio segments over the Internet—is its ability to engage today’s tech-savvy students in conversations about what they’re learning, says David Warlick, a former teacher and creator of the Education Podcast Network.
Warlick’s Web site catalogs hundreds of education-related podcasts—most of them produced by teachers—on everything from dance education to career development.
The most exciting aspect of the technology, Warlick says, is the chance for students to record their own podcasts. “It’s making conversations extend beyond their classroom walls, and kids love that.”
Creating and posting the radio-like clips is not difficult, says Bob Sprankle, a school technology integrator from Maine, in a podcast of his own. All you need is a computer with a microphone, a place on the Internet to publish your segment (such as a blog or Web site), and recording/editing software. For the latter, Sprankle recommends Audacity, a program that can be downloaded for free from audacity.sourceforge.net.
A classroom teacher until this year, Sprankle integrated weekly podcasts into his writing program for 3rd and 4th graders at Wells Elementary in Wells, Maine. Last year, his students produced shows about Internet safety, Wikipedia, classrooms of the future, and a visit from U.S. Senator Susan Collins. Students working with another teacher made a podcast about a computerized test they took, comparing it to traditional testing.
Sprankle’s Web site, www.bobsprankle.com, also includes bit by bit, a blog for teachers that links to podcasts about integrating technology into the classroom.
A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 2007 edition of Teacher