Podcasts and Digital Stories

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?

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12 Comments

  1. I had never really used digital storytelling in school but after doing the research this week I wish I would have. I like the fact you pulled out the information that students can listen 3 grades higher than they speak. Podcasts belong in the classroom.

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  2. I think that your goal to introduce different mediums into your English teaching is incredibly admirable. I think that so many teachers now kind of get into a rut where they really don’t try to mix it up and the students struggle. I hope you have good luck with both of these methods in your future classrooms!

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  3. Timmi,
    I wasn’t very familiar with podcasts or digital stories until this week wither but i completely agree that they lean towards the auditorial learners. I am more of a visual/ kinestic learner so as interesting as a few of the podcasts I found… I still don’t think it would be the best way for me too learn. I do think that they would be great to include in classrooms here and there for you auditorial listeners. What do you think about including them in classrooms, especially elementary?
    Bailey 🙂

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  4. Hey Timmi,
    I feel the same way about podcasts. I was never really familiar with the whole idea and through that, they may be a bit boring, but after research, I will admit to being wrong. Podcasts can actually be a lot of fun, and hold a lot of good information and lessons. I cannot wait to use them in my classroom and explore everything they have to offer.

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  5. I think that podcasts and digital stories could be very beneficial in your future English classroom because it does connect with students more based on all of the technology we have. I think having your students listen to podcasts will encourage them more because they will be having fun and enjoying the assignment. I really loved your blog!

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  6. I’m surprised to see so many of the class saying that they aren’t auditory learners! While I wrote a piece on why this isn’t necessarily true (as a TED talk explained), I think it’s all about the material and our desire to learn. If it’s a good podcast, we’ll listen to it. I have listened to some sub par podcasts before and had to turn them off, while others were 3 hours long and I could listen to them forever. Auditory books are along the same lines for me. Sometimes I just can’t read a book. I couldn’t work up the motivation to read “The shining” even though I knew I would like it, so I bought the audio book and listened to it obsessively. I think it’s something to consider using in the classroom, if only because we all have our own strengths and weaknesses as educators and learners.

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    • I think you made some excellent points! Even though I love reading, I don’t enjoy reading everything. I’ve never tried listening to audio books, but I want to start! This summer I will be driving to and from work for about an hour every day, so I’m planning on giving it a try! Maybe it will change my perspective of how I learn. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂

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