I’m not going to lie; before this module, I hadn’t ever listened to a podcast, and I never really had the desire to. I also wasn’t 100% sure what they were. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’m a visual learner, so I’ve never listened to a book on tape or anything of that nature either. This lesson, however, has opened my eyes to a great tool to use in the classroom.
I think the greatest benefit to podcasts/digital stories is that they appeal to auditory learners. In an English classroom, students will mostly read and write, appealing to visual and kinesthetic learners. Utilizing podcasts/digital stories will appeal to students who learn by listening as well as great way to mix thing up in the classroom. When teachers always follow the same routine, students have a tendency to get bored, and adding fun activities like listening to podcasts or digital stories is a great way to keep students on their toes. Also, for a generation of students who rely on technology, I think podcasts and digital learning will be very effective by connecting their daily lives to the classroom.
They also have an educational value. According to Linda Flanagan in “What Teens are Learning From ‘Serial” and Other Podcasts”, students can listen up to three grades higher than they can read. Listening to English also helps students who may be newer to the language.
One possible disadvantage is students being able to pay attention to an entire podcast or digital story. The podcast I listened to was about twenty minutes long, and in the middle of it, I tried doing other homework and ended up having to listen to it twice. Many students (like me) will assume they can do other activities while listening to a podcast when it should really get their full attention.
I think it would be fun for students to make podcasts/digital stories of their own. It could give them practice writing creatively, and they could read it however they see fit. They could also talk about their own lives. In “Meaningful Stories: How Teens Connect with StoryCorps and Podcasts”, Linda Flanagan discusses how students spend a lot of time together, but sometimes they don’t really get to know each other. I think podcasts and digital stories can be great mediums to do so.
Just like reading and writing, the possibilities for podcasts and digital stories are endless. They give students the opportunity to express themselves, and what is my goal as an English teacher if not that?