Monday, October 13, 2008

Podcasting live from the kitchen table...

Creating this podcast was not so bad after all! The hardest part was deciding on content. Originally, we were going to do a Thanksgiving presentation about our weekend, but the boys were getting really silly together when we tried to do that. I decided to separate them for this project, and interviewed Kieran about reading chapter books. I always like to hear what children have to say about reading, and hope that you do to!

Podcasting in the Classroom

In the beginning I was wondering how podcasting differs from traditional audiotapes. Wouldn't it be a lot easier to record on a casette tape? (I can imagine teachers I've worked with in the past agreeing with me). But, after reading about podcasts this week, I've come to believe that it's worth the extra effort to learn how to create a podcast. Why? Well, to have the voices "out there" of course! There is a certain level of excitement that comes from the global aspect of podcasting, which just isn't there if you're using a tape recorder. The possibility of connecting with other students or classrooms around the world is indeed very powerful. Having students create their own podcasts is a great way to have them practice multi-literacies with an authentic audience in mind.

Podcasting Possibilities

  • Eric Langhorst, an 8th grade teacher, found "studycasts" were highly useful for his students. He would record a 20 minute review session and post it on itunes. He found that students and parents often listened to them together, or the students would listen to them on the bus or when exercising. (
  • Students can keep a log of the podcasts they listen too, in the same way that we have them keep a reading log. There is an example at: Students can then write a review of a podcast of their choice. By examining a number of different podcasts, students could create their own guidelines of what makes a good podcast.
  • Reading Buddies can read or create podcasts of their favourite stories to be listened to by their buddy. Or, buddies can create an original podcast together (they could interview one another, compose original poetry/jokes/stories then share them via podcasts with the greater community.)
  • For younger children, teachers/librarians could create "bedtime stories" for their students to listen to at home--a few i-pod shuffles, or similar mp3 players could be sent home on a rotating basis. Add a stuffy and a journal to draw and write in, and students will have a blast!
  • Older students can create podcast discussions of hot topics such as censorship and freedom to read or, filters on school computers.

In Closing: Final Words from the Kitchen Table...

Podcasts are definitely a Web 2.0 tool that I would make frequent use of in the school library. I believe the students would be very excited about using this technology to express themselves. In the words of a student quoted by Robert Rozema in his article, The Book Report, Version 2.0: Podcasting on Young Adult Novels:

"A podcast would be so much more interesting compared to a boring book report . . . students would most likely enjoy this sort of assignment since it involves creativity and technology. I also think podcasting could reach out to a lot of students who aren't necessarily the good students because it's giving them so many choices. They get to choose what they say about the book, what music to use, the pacing, the tone . . . . The podcast would be my number one alternative to the book report."

Amen to that!


Joanne de Groot said...

Hi Carol,

First, thanks to Kieran for his wonderful contributions to your podcast...I love what he has to say about reading chapter books (and I can't wait for Alex to be reading chapter books on his own--what an exciting time!). I hope he's feeling better.

Thanks to for the excellent examples and links you have provided for us--there are some great ideas for ways teachers can use podcasts with their students here!

Jo-Anne Gibson said...

What a great keepsake, having your son on a podcast that will last forever.

A question: both you and Carol used podomatic like I did. How did you get the picture on your site? All I got was a podomatic link.


Carol N. said...

Thanks Joanne and Jo-Anne, it was fun to make the podcast with Kieran, and he is so proud that he is reading chapter books now, so he really wanted to do it (though he expressed afterward that he felt bad for coughing!).

As for the photo, I believe it happened when I copied the code into the edit html screen. I had to make a couple of attempts before I was able to post it to the blog--but I think that was all I did! (Incidentally, I think I need to do a few more of these before I'm ready to give advice!!)

Sheila said...

Hi Carol,

It was fantastic to hear Kieran share his reading of chapter books. I liked his description of the "five finger rule". I agree with Jo-Anne about it being a great keepsake. It is also great for sharing with distant relatives who would otherwise miss out on listening to him read aloud and talk about the books he is reading.

Carol said...


There was a place to upload a picture to go with my podcast - it was quite easy.

carol t