Some of the benefits of podcasts seem self-evident: you can bring experts in to the classroom, get most recent information, with no cost, no money or time to organize speakers. (Skype is good if you want something more interactive.) If you play a recent podcast, you can create in-class assignments that students can&#x2019;t plagiarize, can&#x2019;t find an online essay or article, and if they are working on it in-class, you can structure it in such a way that it&#x2019;s almost impossible to cheat. Students have unexpected situations, like the rest of us, and sometimes can&#x2019;t avoid being late for class. A posted podcast link allows them to catch up on their on time with no penalty and with no effort on your part. If class is cancelled due to a holiday, you can create your lecture as a podcast, so that you don&#x2019;t have to schedule a make-up class. And you can add a podcast that you&#x2019;ve found online to that class, along with an accompanying exercise.\n\n
Basically, if you hear a radio show that you found interesting, you can almost always find it as a podcast. Got to their website, look up the name of the show or the host, and look for the podcast. If you can&#x2019;t find that show, that same organization will likely have a podcast on the subject, or you can search the keywords followed by &#x201C;podcast&#x201D; in Google, and you will find something. The best thing to do for a course that you teach over again is to find a credible person or show, and follow them yourself, so that you are always up-to-date on the best, most relevant and timely material for your class. \n
I get a lot of students who have to take my course in order to graduate. The benefit of this is that I have a variety of disciplines represented in my class, which may not be the case in your courses. The students who have a focus outside my class, such as producing hip-hop music, may be able to direct others to podcasts they listen to. Or in the case of, say, a full-time economics professor, if all the students are interested in economics, they will be interested in the latest information on that topic. \nStudents who are more general consumers of culture may not listen to podcasts often because they watch video and TV. Podcasting is something you seek out, not something that goes viral like the latest YouTube video. The good news is that these more passive media consumers will not have heard of the podcast that you are sharing, but the bad news is, they have no culture for podcasting, they don&#x2019;t know what to do. So what do we do with these students?\n
So what&#x2019;s the big deal? How hard is it to play something, let the students listen to it, and discuss it? \n\nStudents today seem to have been raised on T.V. and movies, and now, as media consumers, seem to expect all communication with the outside world to come in the form of a sound-bite, short online article, or trailer. Information is often condensed on the web, and it is often collected for them by aggregate websites (sites such as boing boing, that represent a viewpoint or topic that interests the news consumer, and collects stories from across the web.) \n\nMedia has set their expectations, and then the medium is meant to be consumed by individuals. No one sits around their living room listening to the radio together anymore like we would the TV, and most of my students don&#x2019;t do that in groups anymore either. So to sit and listen together can be awkward and uncomfortable. \n\nI have tried in the past asking students to make notes, but I have found that they don&#x2019;t, either because they are too busy taking in the information, or my ESL learners are struggling with comprehension, or because work habits have changed. And plus, when there&#x2019;s no where to look and nothing to keep their hands busy, the podcast being played often has to share student&#x2019;s attention with handheld technology, because, after all, they are used to multi-tasking, as we are now, doing several things at once. So how do we work with that?\n\nWhereas I once expected students to take notes during lectures - and I still do - I almost always have a handout and a copy of that handout on the presentation system. So before I play a podcast in class, I make up a list of talking points, terms students need to identify and know, and any salient facts that students are expected to recall. An power point with either a visual for each point, or points that are appear on the screen as you click, keeps them watching, listening AND writing. \n\nSome podcasters add a video component, which makes it easy, and if they have pop-ups in their video that provide key words and phrases along with video images, then your work if done for you, except that you still want to write these down on a handout, even if you don&#x2019;t need to go over them, as a record or study guide for students, and as a tool to aid comprehension for ELL students. E.g. Jesse Brown\n
Any assignment that follows your presentation of the podcast should have two components to it. You want to create an assignment that requires attention and an immediate response, while also providing them with guidance through your subject mater and the opportunity to explore the ideas within. What do I mean by this? \n\nPart A: If there are concrete details such as new terms or vocab, historical facts that you&#x2019;d like them to recall or incorporate into their answers, make them use those details. You point them out in your visual, them make them record or respond in another handout, just to ensure that you&#x2019;re all on the same page, so to speak. Once you&#x2019;ve ascertained their comprehension of the podcast, you can move to an assignment that requires an original response. \n\nPart B: Now you are ready for larger themes, abstractions, ideas that offer room for debate, so that students can share their thoughts and challenge theories being put forward. \nThis could be a written assignment, such a paragraph answers to specific questions you&#x2019;ve written, or simply a discussion guide, or more interactive assignment, such as a response to the podcast in the form of another podcast, a wiki, a blog, or a powerpoint presentation on a specific sub-topic. \n
The previous assignment description is helpful for something in the humanities, where you want to students to use the facts to arrive at a theoretical stance. If you&#x2019;re teaching a principle that you then want the students to use in a practical assignment, you might teach that first, then use a podcast to examine the topic in further depth or to show them how the concepts that they use in class are being used in the outside world. \n\nIn this vidcast, the author is using visual tricks to keep the viewer&#x2019;s attention - the same kind of tricks that he examines as cheap entertainment or distractions. I use small video-clips like this to accompany his longer, more serious work, but putting a face to the words helps the students identify him, and his humorous shorts. Provides a small break in serious discussion and engages them because they feel like it is part of their culture - regardless of ethnic background, students in their twenties feel an ownership of and membership in the culture of the Internet, and we lose them if we don&#x2019;t engage in as many aspect of that culture as we can. \n
You can look for podcasts to enhance you material, but unless you are looking for something specific, the best thing to do is find radio or other audio material that you like, are interested in, and is relevant, and listen regularly. I find I stumble across the most relevant and interesting material by chance, when I am listening to the radio on the drive home, or listening to podcasts as I do something else. \n
Looking for specific topic on WWW? Google it for most recent entries:\n\nThe first entry will get you to articles on the general topic of the wedding, and may mention links to podcasts, or simply use the word &#x201C;podcast&#x201D; or or even just &#x201C;entertainment, or media&#x201D; somewhere in the topic, but may or may not get you to a podcast.\n\nThe second search will look for podcasts on this topic. \n
There are better podcast formats available through the links I&#x2019;ve provided, but if you want to create your own via BlackBoard, here&#x2019;s how:\n\n
You can upload an mp3 file you&#x2019;ve created on your computer if it has a built in microphone. Also, Seneca has recording rooms you cna book and use. Once you&#x2019;ve created your podcast, you can download it - although I&#x2019;ve had trouble with this. You can stop, start, and re-record. Best to break it up into bits. \n
It is a LOT of work to time each slide to your speech to have it turn when you are done reading the script for that slide. Better to read it and tell them to turn the page.\n
1. The Podcast A useful teaching tool
2. noun podcast:Pronunciation: Brit. /ˈpɒdkɑːst/ , /ˈpɒdkast/ , U.S. /ˈpɑdˌkæst/Etymology: < -pod (in iPod, atrade name for an MP3 player) + -cast comb. form. A digital recording of a broadcast, made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or personal audio player. Oxford University Press Copyright 2011 http://www.oup.com/• video podcast, more commonly known as vlog (video blog)
3. For an easy online reference:Learn Out Loud Intro to Podcasting
4. The Beneﬁts:• free guest speakers• fresh, new material• provides a break from teacher’s voice• can’t buy an assignment online or plagiarize• students who are late to class can revisit material at time convenient for them• great for online classes
5. Who Makes Podcasts?• Just about everybody: large news companies, professional associations, non- proﬁt organizations, pundits, bloggers.
6. Who listens to them?• People who have an interest in a particular topic, or who are interested in cultural issues.
7. How to Teach Using Podcasts• Provide visual• Provide assignment• Is the Internet Making You Dumber?
8. What kind of assignment?• Part A: questions that require factual info• Part B: questions that address the concepts presented
9. Interview with Ontario Privacy Commissioner
10. Crazy Politics:Read Pearlstein’s original article, then hear his defence of his thoughts on the following podcast. Use a critical eye and ear tofind the strengths and weaknesses of his arguments.Read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/14/AR2009081401495.htmlFrom the CBC website:The Current for September 17, 2009 - Part 3: NixonlandBarack Obama came into ofﬁce promising hope and change. But after a couple of months ... Well, things started gettinga little crazy. People started demanding to see his birth certiﬁcate saying he wasnt actually born in the United States.A pundit named Glenn Beck went on the record arguing that Obama hates white people. A congressmen heckled thePresident with a shout of "You lie!"Before that, people had tried to bring loaded automatic weapons into town halls where Obama was speaking. PresidentObama has been denounced as both a socialist and a fascist. And most recently, his plan to reform American healthcare has -- in some circles -- become equated with murder.Rick Perlstein believes he has an explanation for all this... He’s an historian and a journalist. Hes been studying thiswave of anti-Obama anger. And in an op-ed in the Washington Post, he argues that In America, Crazy is a Pre-existingCondition. Rick Perlstein is also the author of Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. He wasin Chicago.Listen to Part Three: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2009/09/Scroll down until you get to September 17, 2009. Find Part 3, move the cursor forward to 4:48 minutes and seconds, to thebeginning of the interview.Discussion QuestionsPearlstein thinks that the outrageous extremes we see in the news are manufactured and exploitative. Postman would sayentertaining pieces are what TV news demands. Who is right?Pearlstein thinks that some measure of journalistic objectivity is not only possible, it is necessary. Is it possible for any newssource to still be a neutral, mainstream authority, or have people already chosen sides before they hear the news of the day?Does Pearlstein’s observation help us understand the shooting in in Arizona last week? Is it fair to blame the right-wing media forinciting unstable people like the gunman, or is that using a tragic situation for political gain?
11. How to Find Podcasts• e.g. Google: william and kate wedding podcast v.s. “william and kate wedding” podcast
12. General podcast search engines:http://podcast.com/http://canada.podcast.com/http://www.learnoutloud.com/Content/Topic-Pages/Introduction-To-Podcasting/17http://www.learnoutloud.com/Catalog/Arts-and-Entertainment/-/Podﬁnder-Podcast/6877http://www.learnoutloud.com/Catalog/Education-and-Professional/-/Audio-Learning-Revolution-Podcast/6666http://www.podcasting-tools.com/
16. Another way to make a podcast is to make a slideshow and narrate it. BlackBoard will usually fail to upload a large PowerPoint or Keynote ﬁle, so it’s better to create a SlideShare account, upload your presentation, and post the link on BlackBoard. http://www.slideshare.net/