Podcast Assignment

Assignment Description

For this assignment you will create a series of three audio files that you will publish in your blog and eventually in your portfolio.

For each of chapters 3-5 of The World is Open:

  1. Create a 1-3 minute audio podcast that highlights or explains one of the resources or topics mentioned in the chapter. The audience for your podcast will be a target population of K-12 or post-secondary teachers, depending on your preferred setting–e.g., elementary teachers, science instructors, counselors–or a topic of general professional development for all teachers. The purpose of the podcast is to introduce your topic to your audience as a potential resource that will aid in their personal or professional development. Your audio files should use the same short musical/voice intros and outros, as if they were part of a series of podcasts.
  2. Using SoundCloud, embed all three podcasts on your blog in an entry titled “Podcasts.” Remember to use the “ED 431” category for your blog post.
  3. Include the transcripts of each audio file.
  4. Post a 300-500 word reflection on the process of creating podcasts (issues, successes, discoveries, etc.) and the utility of podcasts as a teaching and learning tool. Once your podcasts and reflection have been reviewed and revised, publish them in your portfolio on a page titled “Podcasts.”

Podcasts

Reflection

When I first looked at the assignment description, I noticed that each podcast needed to be 1 to 3 minutes in length. I didn’t quite know how long of a transcript to write, so I found a website that stated how many words are needed for a script for a 1 to 3 minute video. This was a great resource to help me get started outlining my transcripts. According to this information, my scripts should be 150-510 words, or, 1 to 5 short paragraphs. I spent quite a bit of time composing the scripts for the podcasts, which was a little challenging because I recognized that, what might work for written material may not necessarily work for spoken material. After I wrote the transcripts, I spoke through them out loud a few times, adjusting sections that sounded awkward, too formal, or unclear. Next, I found intro/outro music at incompetech.com. I downloaded the music and imported it into audacity, and then was able to record the podcast text into audacity without too much trouble as well. I also added a “fade in” and “fade out” from the music to help transition from music to the speaking part of the podcast. I didn’t really encounter too many technical difficulties with the actual recording, since I’d used audacity before.

Skip encouraged us to reflect on the pedagogical merits of podcasting, and as I did so, it really made me think of our Mobile Learning assignment. In this assignment, I discussed how one of the defining features of today’s students is their mobility. Podcasts really speak to this– students can easily learn from podcasts while they’re commuting to work, while they’re washing dishes, or while they’re waiting in line at the bank. This is definitely a strength of the podcast teaching tool.

In addition, some studies indicate that students have roughly a 10-15 minute attention span. Podcasts allow information to be “chunked” into smaller segments, which have the benefits of fitting into the relatively short blocks of time students have available (like my example list above)– but also have the benefit of working with, instead of against, waning attention spans.

References

Bonk, C. (2010). The world is open: How web technology is revolutionizing education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Fabris, C. (2015, March 24). Online or in person? One college lets students switch back and forth. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/online-or-in-person-one-college-lets-students-switch-back-and-forth.
Hahn, D. (2016). How many words go into a script for a 1, 2, or 3, minute video? Main Street Marketing. Retrieved from http://main-street-marketing.com/faqs/how-many-words-go-into-a-script-for-a-1-2-or-3-minute-video/.
Kahn, S. (2012, October 2). Why long lectures are ineffective. TIME. Retrieved from http://ideas.time.com/2012/10/02/why-lectures-are-ineffective/.
MacLeod, K. (2015, November 15). Fretless [digital audio file download]. Retrieved from www.incompetech.com. Licensed under Creative Commons: BY Attribution 3.0 License.

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3 Comments

  1. Valerie,

    I would have never thought of looking up the correlation between spoken words and time. Very clever and a great resource! I completely agree that podcasts can be nicely integrated into Mobile Learning and used as a powerful teaching tool. I love that you took into consideration student attention spans and the desire to accommodate for that. You have a great podcast voice, too! Your pieces were very engaging and relatable. I enjoyed listening, thank you!!

  2. Thanks for the link to the Main Street Marketing site (words per three minute podcast). I’m going to use that as a resource for the next iteration of this course.

    I made some comments on Google+ about the quality of your podcasts, but for posterity’s sake I’ll paste them here as well:

    These are fine examples of the power of podcasts for targeted instruction. Very high production values: excellent dynamics (pacing and inflection), great scripts, and cheerful music. I like the “Designing for Flexibility” theme and the way you supported it, particularly your coverage of Creative Commons and iTunes U–both sadly underused resources. I also like the way you referenced previous podcasts in your series. Very nicely done all around.

    Not much to add to that in terms of the quality of your work. In terms of presentation, I very much like the way you chose to present your podcasts on this page. Making a playlist and then embedding the entire playlist makes for a compact, approachable set of resources that can be easily accessed in the context of the page itself. If you were pursuing this on a regular basis, adding a photo or illustration to your SoundCloud playlist could provide an additional level of interest (or perhaps distraction, depending on several factors). In any event, very nicely done.

    I’m glad you made the connection between this assignment and the Mobile Tools assignment. Podcasts or other audio resources fill a potentially important and frequently overlooked niche in our suite of teaching and learning tools.

  3. Valerie–
    You did a great job in creating interesting podcasts. Your pacing and enthusiasm kept me engaged as a listener. Your extra time in writing your podcasts was evident and paid off. Thank you for sharing!

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