Podcasting 101

Podcasting is hot right now. If you’re not listening to a podcast you are creating one.  The popularity of podcasting in Australia has soared in recent times, with millennial listeners leading the way. 

According to Roy Morgan research, over 1.6 million Australians now download podcasts in an average month – an increase of 70% over the last four years. Driving the growth in the popularity of podcasts is the capability to download episodes directly to your mobile phone. 

“The ability to listen to your favourite podcast while commuting to and from work and tuning out from the hustle and bustle on crowded public transport, or just relaxing in your spare time to catch up on what’s been happening in an area of personal interest is appealing to a growing number of Australians.” 

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan

Benefits of podcasts

There are many benefits to including podcasts in your teaching repertoire including the following: 

  • Builds student engagement with a real-life context and purpose 
  • Integrates ICT capabilities and digital literacies 
  • Encourages a participatory culture, positioning students as active creators of information 
  • Develops speaking, listening and high order thinking skills 
  • Promotes collaboration between students 

So how can you leverage this popularity to engage the students in your classroom or library? Here are some easy tips to get you started. 

How do I use podcasts?

With podcasts covering so many diverse topics and interests, it is an extremely flexible tool to use in the classroom or library.  The possibilities are endless and you are only limited by your imagination!  

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In the school library, there is great potential to start a library podcast featuring book reviews, reading promotion and upcoming events. It would be a perfect addition to a school book club, with students in charge of creating and updating the podcast. 

Start Listening 

Listen to a variety of different podcasts to gain an understanding of the structure and textual features of podcasts. Apple Podcasts directory is a great place to start. Podcasts can be an interview, serial or discussion format. Some of my favourite podcasts to get you started include the Cult of PedagogyOne More Page and Squiz Kids. There is literally a podcast for everything! 

Plan Your Podcast

Failing to plan, is planning to fail. The same mantra applies to using podcasts in your classroom. It is important to scaffold your students and explicitly teach the steps involved in creating a podcast. The level of detail and structure required will depend on the age of your students. 

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Record Your Podcast

This is where the fun begins! Recording their podcast is often the part students enjoy the most. Don’t be afraid of the thought of learning something new, as today’s technology makes recording a podcast a relatively simple and straightforward experience. It also helps that there are many online video tutorials to get you started. 

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My favourite software tool for podcast recording and editing is GarageBand, which is available in both ipad and desktop versions. Here is a useful tutorial from Buzzsprout, a free podcasting hosting site, to get you started using GarageBand. 

Share with your listeners 

Once you are happy with the finished product, you will need somewhere to share your podcast. Depending on your audience (students, parents or general public) you will need somewhere to host the recording of your podcast. This may be as simple as making the recording available on your school portal, blog or Teams page. Otherwise there are many free hosting sites available such as Buzzsprout which is an affordable way to make student podcasts available to the public. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get started and experience the benefits of using podcasts with your students today! 

Further Reading

Podcasting in the Classroom: A Case Study

Podcasting in the school library: creating powerful Podcasts with your students

The Benefits of Podcasting in the Literacy Classroom

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