Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book Review Podcasts

I just finished working with an eighth grade Language Arts teacher and her students on creating book review podcasts. (I've blogged previously on podcasting - here and here.)

Podcasts are a great way to build students skills not only in technology, but in academic content as well. I was inspired by the poster Langwitches created in her "It's not about the tools . . . it's about the skills". It is such a powerful visual reminder that having students record a podcast is not all about the podcast skills. It is about the writing, speaking, communication, etc. skills taught and reinforced in the process. It is about allowing students to build these skills in a real-world, hands-on experience.

One thing that really struck me throughout the recording process was the growing self-awareness that the students developed about how they sounded while speaking. Common remarks during the first day of recording included: "Do I actually sound like that?" "I need to record that again because I was mumbling" "I can barely hear myself. I need to speak louder next time." The ability to hear what they just said and receive immediate feed back allowed the students to analyze their recording for quality speaking skills. Without much coaching, the students listened to and reflected on the quality of their recordings (speaking skills) and then took measures to correct or improve upon their recording.

We used Audacity to record our podcasts. Alternatives to audacity are GarageBand (for Mac users) and Myna.

1 Period - Write book review podcast script
1 Period - Introduce Audacity and let the students play/practice
2 Periods - Record vocal portions of podcast
1 Period - Import music and a sound effect

How To
Book Review Podcast Directions
Full screen version.

Audacity Instructions
Full screen version.

Final Product

To place all the podcasts in a place for all students to have access to them, I uploaded the podcasts to a glog - quick and easy! Each class has their own glog page with their podcasts like the picture to the left.

I wish I could share the direct link for you to listen to a few, but unfortunately I cannot.

Podcasting Skills and Literacies photo used under Creative Commons license from Langwitches.