Most educators, and likely many older students, are familiar with podcasts from the perspective of a listener. Many are primarily for entertainment, yet even these ― as well as others with a different intent ― can feed our curiosity, introduce us to interesting new ideas, and help us develop professional skills and competencies. Now, in thinking about the creator, can you imagine the numerous benefits they receive from producing this informative content? When it comes to students, podcasting provides numerous opportunities to develop well-rounded skills and explore new subjects.
1. Developing the 4Cs
Through authentic podcasting, students engage in project-based learning as they ideate, develop, refine, and iterate. Whether working independently or as part of a group, students can work on each of the 4Cs: communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking.
- Communication is the first and perhaps most evident skills students will develop. They’ll think about information they’ve learned, consider their personal perspective or feelings toward the information, and determine the best way to inform the audience of what they know or feel. For students who have never worked with recorded audio before, they’ll learn how to communicate ideas through an all-new medium.
- Collaboration is an essential life skill that supports students’ success both personally and professionally. With podcasting, they may collaborate with peers on any or all aspects of a project―from working together to research, storyboard, and script an episode, to dividing up tasks such as planning, interviewing, and postproduction, students can work as a team in many different ways.
- Creativity is one of the most exciting skills exercised and developed through podcasting projects. Students can choose from countless different topics they’d like to investigate, interview interesting people, use different music and sound effects, and experiment with different styles of podcast episode.
- Critical thinking comes into play as students review the content (both their own and podcasts created by peers), thinking about what they’ve learned, and consider how to iterate on their projects. As they implement different skills and strategies in the classroom, they can think about their usefulness and why they’re valuable skills to have. As they play back their own episodes, they can hear areas for improvement, and as they continue to work on the podcasts, they become better writers and speakers, as well as better multimedia producers.
We’re all aware of the classroom reality that students not only have different preferences about the way they learn, but also like to express themselves in different ways. As educators, providing a variety of options to students is one of the best ways to help each learner find a comfort zone ― and, as a result, do their best work. For example, students who are shy or introverted don’t look forward to giving a presentation in front of the class; therefore, they may not give a true representation of their knowledge through public speaking. However, these same learners may demonstrate incredible ideas and much greater depth of insight by producing a podcast they can work on independently, allowing time for thinking and quiet reflection.
You may also have students who are building up the confidence to contribute to difficult class discussions, but who have valuable perspectives their peers should hear. These students also may appreciate the opportunity to record a podcast, listen to the way they presented their ideas, revise their script and record again. Podcasts also provide an opportunity for students to learn empathy, social awareness, a growth mindset, and other social-emotional skills, as they relate to the hard work their classmates have done to produce their podcasts, gain understanding of how classmates and others in the world are feeling, and see themselves improve their own work version-by-version.
3. Becoming more mindful
Audio and podcasting tools can also foster mindfulness, therefore promoting a sense of overall wellness and belonging for students. For example, teachers can create a prerecorded audio loop and use it for a breathing exercise. With calm background music and recorded verbal guidance, students can center themselves and let go of stress to begin their day, or before a test or other challenging moment.
Another activity is asking students to record a brief podcast describing their thoughts and feelings. This process of talking through their feelings can help students organize their thinking, set aside negative thoughts, and better focus on their assignments.
Learn more about the power of classroom podcasting
A number of the ideas above were shared during an episode of our Building the Bridge podcast series, “The Power of Podcasting in the Blended Classroom,” with Soundtrap education specialists Jess Kertz and Jostin Grimes. But this is just a start―the number of possibilities is limited only by schools’ goals and students’ imaginations.
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