In March of 2017 at SXSWedu, I facilitated a session on using podcasts in the classroom. The workshop attendees were immediately enthusiastic about incorporating podcasts in their classrooms (there are many great reasons to do so), but I was caught off guard by the instant demand for practical step-by-step lesson plans. I did some research and realized there wasn’t much out there in terms of structured, turn-key lesson plans, so Melissa and I set to work creating this unit. Our goal in this unit was to create a low-commitment yet comprehensive on-ramp to incorporating the diverse realm of podcasts into your own curriculum.
The educators were smart to want explicit unit plans. When I first encouraged my students to start creating their own podcasts, I assumed much of the work would be intuitive for them, when actually there are so many lessons to be taught. In fact, a co-worker and I realized later that all these lessons, done thoroughly, could easily occupy an entire semester.
You probably don’t have (or want!) an entire semester to dedicate to podcast production, however, so you’ll want to pick and choose what you focus on; but nevertheless, we tried to make this unit as comprehensive as possible.
This unit, through careful scaffolding and deliberate confidence building, will guide your students from being novice podcast listeners to amateur podcast creators in the span of 10 exercises over 2-3 weeks. Almost all of these plans are focused on teaching listening, reading, and writing skills as students are expected to analyze podcasts and apply their learning to their own projects; these types of lessons are difficult to find.
Meanwhile, this unit does not spend very much time on the technical production of podcasts; such tutorials are easy to find on the internet and aren’t as relevant to an ELA classroom. Also, with each passing year, technological advancements are making it easier to publish their product with a few simple clicks. Rest assured, we provide plenty of time-saving advice and resources at the end of the unit, but technical production is not the essence of these lessons.
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Podcasting in the ELA Classroom
by Michael Godsey
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License