Sunday, August 23, 2009

Using "Easy" Podcasting in the Social Studies Classroom

Last year we experimented successfully with podcasts in our AP U.S. History, AP Government, 8th Grade U.S. History , 9th grade American Institutions and our Pre AP class called American History Seminar. In some cases, the podcasts were a way to get additional content to the students that we didn't have time to cover in class. However, in most cases, it was a way to reinforce the key concepts and essential understandings taught in the class. Sometimes we required the students to show the notes they took while listening to the podcasts. Because students were able to download the podcast to their ipod they were able to listen to the information on the go, thus utilizing their valuable free time. Some of the podcasts were reviews to prepare kids for unit tests or semester exams. Kids said these were really valuable review tools and helped them succeed on the tests.

At our school we keep things simple. The teacher takes home an Olympus digital recorder (approximately $70.00) and they hit record and talk into the device. The Olympus model we use pulls apart and the bottom half is a USB stick that we put into the computer and copy to the desktop. We then upload the audio recording to EDLINE where the students can get at them on the web. The disadvantage to this method is that we are unable to edit the podcast, but it sure makes it simple for the teacher. In my AP class I allow students to take the digital recorders home to make their own podcasts on topics that interest them like Hitler or The Holocaust or whatever. After reviewing the podcast I put it on EDline (a program our school uses to communicate with students and parents) for all the students to enjoy.

In the near future I hope to put over 50 podcasts on various U.S. History topics on this Blog for everyone to share and use with their students. I have a series of lectures on American Foreign Policy from 1973 ( Vietnam) to the Present that I use in the Seminar course.


oh_em.g said...

I think this is a really fabulous way to integrate technology in the classroom in a way that will "hook" students. I also think its great that students are encouraged to make their own podcasts; the ability to have a podcast on their iPod for use in their free time, I think, is amplified if the podcast if of themselves or a friend. And - they are still gaining knowledge, and its reinforced in a different way. Awesome!

f. said...

Hi! I'm currently in the process of getting my masters in education degree (for social studies) and was introduced to this blog through one of my classes. I really admire about how you are integrating technology into the classroom.

Podcasts seem like a great way for students to interact with and review important ideas/facts.
Since you began using podcasts in class, have you noticed a difference in terms of student knowledge? Do they seem to have more interest in the subjects? Do they remember it better? Is there a particular format to the podcasts or are students free to structure it in whatever way they want (such as a talk show, old fashioned radio show, etc?)

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