Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Engaging Learning Opportunities Through Podcasting

Podcasts - I listen to them throughout to day at work (not going to be able to do THAT when I am a librarian!), in the car on trips... ones on pop culture, "mommy" tips, tv recaps.

Podcasts have many benefits for integration into the school - they are cheap to create and publish, your students have a global audience (while being safe - no names or photos associated with your podcast), and the act of creating one has the potential to build research, creative writing, speaking and collaborative working skills. A student who is shy getting up in front of the class to read a page from a book or present a research project may thrive behind the mike!

When considering podcasts in the library, having students do book reviews is a win-win. But what other ideas are out there for this format in our schools & libraries?

• Provide a tour of the library! Before school starts, record a guided tour of the library for new students to listen & walk through when they first visit. A high school student would probably rather do this (and might even enjoy it!) than have you personally show them around. Put in some points of interest and hidden gems.

• Create a scavenger hunt - make a podcast leading students to find certain pieces of information throughout the library (either in a particular book or database, etc) with the ultimate goal of answering a certain question. Students could be timed to determine who was able to complete the hunt the quickest. I can picture this as being really fun, but am not sure logistically how to pull that off!

• Use already produced podcasts as the medium for a research project - maybe have students choose a podcasts, listen to a predetermined number of "episodes" and report on their findings. There a TONS of options for students (NASA Ask An Astronomer, BBC Global News, NPR This American Life......)

Some issues that may arise:
• Students need a devise to play the podcasts on - library would need to have MP3 players on hand for students who don't have their own.
• Copyright issues: protected music, interviews, literary works, etc.


  1. Great idea about using podcasts for a tour of the library. I think you are right on target when you said that high school students would probably prefer it compared to being shown around by staff. And, with staff time being so crazy, it is a definte plus in that regard, as well!

  2. It reminds me of those guided tours through museums. They work there, wy not at the library as well?

  3. The scavenger hunt via podcasting is a great idea! I can imagine that you could program stop down points throughout the podcast for when you want students to follow a clue--then proceed after the information is found.

  4. I really love the scavenger hunt idea. Maybe you could have the older students design the hunt and do the recordings for the younger students.