The Podcast Heard Around The World
Students gain media and tech skills while speaking to a global audience.
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
Willowdale Elementary School
What it is: Radio WillowWeb
Who does it: Any class that wants to; the music that underscores the reporting is composed mostly by fifth graders using GarageBand
Who listens to it: A global audience of teachers, administrators, parents, community members, and, of course, kids
Where to listen: Go to www.mpsomaha.org/willow
How to make it happen in your school: Visit learninginhand.com/podcasting
Remember how excited you were as a child to be picked to do the morning announcements over the intercom? Imagine broadcasting to the world. Students at Willowdale Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, are heard from California to Scotland to Australia. Podcasting, which has become the latest interactive teaching tool, enables students to tape audio files that play on the web. By creating and recording episodes, students hone their research, writing, and speaking skills. They also deepen their understanding of the content, says Tony Vincent, the school’s technology specialist. “You can hear that they know what they’re talking about,” he says.
Willowdale’s teachers produce podcasts as a complement to their curriculum. “Sometimes classes podcast at the end of a unit to celebrate what they’ve learned,” Vincent says. “Other times, students who accelerate in a lesson create a podcast during their center time.” Vincent ensures that teachers need focus only on the creative side of the podcast, while he takes care of the technological aspects.
Not that the tech end is complicated. “Podcasting is an umbrella term for audio on the web,” says Vincent. So if you have a computer and Internet access, you can do it. Also, it’s inexpensive. Only after the eighth episode (the school now has 19) did Willowdale invest any money in new equipment: a headset microphone from Logictech for $30.