Technology is everywhere, but does it belong in the classroom?
Personally, I believe it does. Digital stories and podcasts are just one way that we can utilize technology within classrooms. The key to using this kind of technology is making sure it’s appropriate for the students that will have access to it, and that it’s material that is going to aid in the students academic growth.
The article “What Teens are Learning from ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts” by Linda Flanagan makes a point that podcasts are beneficial in the classroom because:
“Improving students’ listening skills is one of the essential components of the new education mandates, and using audio in the classroom can be an effective way to promote listening.”
Another benefit mentioned in the article is that:
“…Kids for whom English is a second language benefit from hearing spoken English and following along with an accompanying transcript, she says.”
(Photo by Colleen AF Venable)
Podcasts and Digital Stories can also be integrated into the lessons. Students can listen to a podcast or watch a digital story and then work on analyzing it. Instead of the usual paper reports, students can be assigned to complete digital stories or a podcast of their own about a particular topic. Students can work on their analytical and critical reading skills, when the learning goes beyond just listening to the podcasts.
EdTechTeacher’s article “Using Podcasts in the Classroom” has the following beneficial list on how to integrate podcasts within the classroom:
-Students interview relatives about their life histories, and then combine the audio interview with family photos in a video project.
-Students write a radio drama based on a historical event and record their show (complete with commercials).
-Students learn about a different country by interviewing a recent traveler. They record the interview and then create a digital travel album.
-Students create a faux advertising campaign to convince immigrants to settle the new American colonies.
-Students use audio recording to interview sources for articles for a class newspaper.
-Students write and record short stories and add music and sound effects.
-Teacher records a tutorial that students listen to on their own
-Present student writing through a class radio drama or a poetry slam.
-Teacher records and broadcasts group discussions.
-Teachers might record students reading a story as a fluency assessment, or as a foreign language pronunciation activity.
-On a field trip, students use an iPod with a voice recorder to take notes and a digital camera to take photos. They then create a guided tour in iMovie.
Digital stories can also be used within the classroom, and some of the tips listed above in integrating podcasts could be used for digital stories, as well. Leah Levy’s article “Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling” states that:
“Teaching critical thinking and creativity in writing can be a difficult task, but it is crucial in preparing students to meet the standards of the Common Core. Digital storytelling is a highly effective technique for doing so, as it requires a clear organization of thought, discipline, and problem solving skills — all of which can translate directly into more traditional essay writing.”
(Photo by Langwitches)
Digital stories allow for students to have a whole new format of telling stories. Sometimes the same old paper and pencils can get monotonous for students, and they need new ways to be engaged, to stay motivated. Teachers can easily work in DS106 course work, as well, to help engage a students creativity. They have over 800 different assignments that students could create on top of the free, open course they provide.
Students are using technology on a daily basis, so we need to find a way to reach them using technology. as well. Technology has opened new doors for learning and new ways to engage students in the classroom. Digital stories and podcasts are a great way to integrate that technology, while also allowing students some variety in the way different curriculum is approached.