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ICT > Podcasting

Podcasting in the classroom

Laptop and microphone

Joe Dale is an independent consultant working with CILT, Links into Languages, The British Council and the BBC. He is host of the TES MFL forum, former SSAT Languages Lead Practitioner and is a regular conference speaker. Joe has been podcasting since 2006, you can read more in his blog Integrating ICT into the MFL classroom.

Creating and listening to podcasts offers many learning opportunities for pupils both in and out of the classroom.

The cyclical process promotes speaking, listening and writing skills and can improve pronunciation, confidence and engagement.

Scripting, recording and editing caters to a range of learning styles, facilitates peer assessment, pupil voice and collaborative project-based learning.

Pupils are able to access higher order thinking skills, foster creativity, revise lesson content and deepen their understanding as a result.

Podcasting also allows pupils to publish professional sounding audio inexpensively to a real audience, giving them a sense of ownership and a more relevant and meaningful purpose to their work. Showcasing pupils’ work in this way can forge links with the wider community and celebrate achievement too.

Downloading podcasts on to a computer or mobile device lets learners review their learning at their own pace at a time which suits them wherever they may be and as many times as they want. Providing a transcript makes the content even more accessible and enables further personalised and distance learning to take place.

Top tips

  • Get parental permission for any child’s work you want to podcast and moderate all content before publishing
  • Familiarise yourself with the tools first before using them with a class
  • Word process your script and paste it into free teleprompter tool CuePrompter which runs in your browser and allows you to differentiate the reading difficulty by changing the speed and direction of the text as it appears as well as choosing the font and screen size
  • Record your podcasts with a digital voice recorder or USB microphone and use free sound editing software such as Audacity, GarageBand, (Mac only) or Myna
  • Give pupils time to explore the technology for themselves (expect some giggles at the beginning before they make their final version) and allow them to rehearse thoroughly
  • Don’t over-edit by trying to remove all the ums and arrs as this can sound unnatural when played back
  • Use Levelator to balance the volume levels of your audio
  • Upload your mp3 files to free podcasting portals such as Podomatic or Podbean and use their embeddable players to put your podcast on a virtual learning environment, blog, wiki or school website
  • Burn a CD of podcasts for those pupils who don’t have a computer at home
  • Promote your podcast with posters around the school, a newsletter home or through a dedicated Twitter account
  • Add music, jingles or sound effects to your podcasts from sites such as Flashkit loops , Opsound, Kompoz or Jamendo. It's essential to check the licensing agreement for any music you want to use before publishing and give attribution to the original artist(s) if needed
  • Always wear headphones when editing and listen back every time you make a cut to ensure the recording still sounds OK
  • Give your voice an air of performance appropriate for the intended audience

Suggested activities

Record podcasts explaining a particular concept your pupils find difficult, a model exercise, homework activity or giving audio feedback.

Pupil-produced podcasts could be in a magazine style chat show format and feature spoken work such as role-play practice, presentations, reports, songs, poems, study skills tips and tricks, narrative explanations, weather forecasts, book reports, re-enactments and grammar explanations.

For more tips and tricks on educational podcasting, have a look at the excellent Assignment: Podcast by British Telecom and for a general overview, check out Podcasting in Plain English by Common Craft. You can contact me on Twitter @joedale or via blog my blog .

Happy podcasting!

See Joe advise teachers on using ICT in the classroom in this Teachers TV video:

15 mins Improving Your Presentations
Part of the series Better Learning with ICT
A Year 1 teacher improves her presentation skills using ICT

More about podcasting in schools:

15 mins Podcasting in the Classroom
Part of the series Better Learning with ICT
Tips and advice for using podcasting in the classroom
15 mins Podcasting
Part of the series ICT for the Non-Specialist
A school uses podcasting to raise achievement levels

Further information