Podcasts and Digital Stories

This week we had to do a lot of reading and viewing of podcasts and digital stories in the educational world. It really was interesting and kind of fun to view them all! Honestly I got wrapped up and spent several hours viewing podcasts and digital stories!

A podcast is defined as, a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.Podcasts are getting used more and more in the world today and are very beneficial in the class room. In an article called What Teens are Learning From Serial and Other Podcasts, it lists the many advantages.

Casey Fiesler/Flickr

Photo Credit: Casey Fiesler/Flikr

Improving students’ listening skills is one of the essential components of the new education mandates, and using audio in the classroom can be an effective way to promote listening.Students can listen to content two-to-three grade levels higher than they can read, according to Monica Brady-Myerov. An unfamiliar word that might stop them on the page doesn’t compel them to tune out from a story told aloud. Also, kids for whom English is a second language benefit from hearing spoken English and following along with an accompanying transcript, she says. These points in this article are so true. I have some personal experience using audio in the classroom. I have been shadowing a special education class room this semester, and audio learning has helped several of the students better understand assignments and actually become less frustrated. They become less frustrated because they do not have to struggle with trying to read the assignment, instead they can use a podcast as assistive technology to improve their learning and to help them perform at a higher level.

Now, a digital story is defined as the act of using computer-based tools (desktops, laptops, tablets, cameras. and even smartphones) to tell a story. Used in the classroom, it is a lens that teachers and students can use to master the craft of storytelling. They really are kind of similar to podcasts, however, more visual and can be completed by students as assignments in a variety of ways. According to the Teacher’s Guide to Digital Story Telling,  from a writing perspective, digital storytelling will teach students how to navigate the writing and creative process, including brainstorming, constructing unique voices, narrating, and perhaps most importantly, structuring arguments in a compelling and logical manner. The opportunities really are endless. Digital Story telling has so many components that students can create mastery in so many different skills on one assignment. At the same time, it fun and actually interesting for students to share with one another.

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Photo credit: Torres21 flikr

I do believe podcasts and digital story telling clearly have many benefits in the classroom. They are both enjoyable for students to do, enjoyable for teachers to use, and the opportunities are endless. Now that I have gone on about all of the advantages, there are some possible disadvantages as well. Students need to be able to read at certain levels, and using these types of lessons can take away from reading practice. Students can also get off task easily as well. The amount of work required for a digital project often necessitates partnership with another student, which will require teamwork, listening skills, organizational skills and time management skills to stay on top of production deadlines. These can be disadvantages when it comes to creating work independently, and also can become a problem when lessons are on a time crunch.I do think that I will have students create some forms of digital story telling in my future career simply because it is fun, different, and so full of learning. It really surprised me that 90% of the students were into the violent podcast. If I would have had to guess I would have guess less! My biggest takeaway from my readings is the fun that podcasts and digital story telling have in them. They are just plain fun, and also interesting for students, and I think that is critical when it comes to learning!

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2 thoughts on “Podcasts and Digital Stories

  1. You make a lot of good points. However, if a teacher is going to use podcasts then they need to have something for tactile and visual learners to supplement what they’d be learning. I’m one of those people that has a very hard time concentrating on what someone is saying if there isn’t anything to keep me on track, and I can see that being a big issue in the classroom.

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