Monday, October 24, 2011

Podcasting a go-go!

OK I promised my self that I would not dump a thousand ideas on you about this subject. This is one of my most favorite things we do in the library…I will try to restrain myself.

First let me state that when I started this job I had no idea what a podcast was or how to make one. It took some time to understand how to use the program but once you do it it is so easy you will think of a hundred things to do with it. So do be afraid! I will send you helpful tutorials...just ask!

The project that I love the most is the “This I believe project.” I talked about it at the beginning of the semester. I will post a link again. But this is based on the NPR program, students are asked to write an essay that lets them express what they believe. Students record the essays and incorporate free music to add depth to their recordings. Listening to them you are met with a depth of feeling and emotion that most of these students do not share on a daily basis. They struggle with adult things and they are honest with their thoughts. Some are funny, some are tragic, and some will make you cry. It is a very moving project, and I am honored when I am invited to hear their words. Here is a link to the project and listen to some of their recordings
For this project there is a writing component, and we work with the teacher and the class to walk them through how to podcast, use Audacity, the editing software…its free! and how to save it correctly...which quite honestly is the biggest challenge that we face when making a podcast.

Another fun thing to do is to create stations and use it as a component of that station. Many of our Social Studies and ELA teachers put short video clips on the iPod to show students as a part of a lesson. Students can watch and listen to short videos that enhance the lesson. We download clips from sites that our BOCES subscribes to, from Teacher Tube, or YouTube. We also can add sound clips to for students to listen to; we have used recordings from Supreme Court proceedings and radio addresses.

A project that I developed last year with the LOTE department has also evolved and grown. I had an Italian teacher who wanted to help her prepare her regents students for their conversation final. I suggested that they could record their conversations, post them to their teacher’s site and they could access each others and use them for practice. We thought that we would do this project three times during the year. In the fall students would work their partner and write the conversation in English and then convert it, record it and post it. The second time they had to write it in Italian first and then record they could use a dictionary. By the third time students had to write the conversation without the aid of anything, to help simulate the final. They than recorded the conversation and posted the link. Students really liked this process and felt that it helped them understand and prepare for the final. We have archived the podcasts so others can listen to them and use them. We have since expanded to Spanish, and German.

You can use podcasting to add and enhance PowerPoint…especially great if you have shy students, or one who have trouble speaking in public. Create a podcast and import it to the PowerPoint to play along with the slides. There are a ton of different ways to use podcast that isn’t just a book review…which is still an excellent use of podcasts! Let me know if you want further information on any of these projects or other ideas that I didn’t talk about…its so much fun!


  1. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas about using podcasts Erin!! You are truly passionate about their use in libraries.

  2. Love your ideas! Our 10th grade Speech & Writing classes write and deliver "This I Believe" speeches. It would be really cool to add a podcast component. Great stuff!

  3. Great ideas and I love you enthusiasm!

  4. Good stuff as always Erin! I really enjoyed listening to the students' "This I Believe" podcasts when you wrote about them previously.

  5. I really like the "I Believe in" series. I think that it is a great way to get students to interact more with the library and to introduce them to the technology. Way cool.

  6. That sounds fantastic! I love your ideas. I also love NPR. I feel like you almost have to when you become a librarian =P

  7. Hi Erin,

    I'm so glad you talked about the "This I Believe" project and shared the link. It is one of my favorite examples of podcast exemplars. I love your enthusiasm, too!