"The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."-Dale Carnegie

Friday, November 12, 2010

Podcasts: Where do they fit into an ELA Classroom?

           Podcasting, as Richardson calls it, "is the creation and distribution of amateur radio, plain and simple" (Richardson, 112.) I like to refer to podcasts as a piece of someone's life, a portion of their heart and soul, poured into a microphone, chopped up, edited, re-edited and then published somehow for an audience. One of the most popular websites to find podcasts is This American Life, a popular online radio program where you can listen to podcasts streamed live, or you can search the archives to listen to older programs. Although these radio podcasts are all very well done, I sometimes find it even more interesting to listen to podcasts done by the real amateurs, the ones who are creating stories not just for a website, but because they have a story they want to tell. One of my favorite podcasts is called Remorse, and it is a story told by two teenage boys about some of the issues of living in the inner city. They tell the story of a young boy, Eric Morse, who was killed at five years old, by being thrown out of a window for not wanting to steal candy for some 9 and 10 year old friends. Although the story is heart-wrenching, it is also done beautifully and in my opinion, it really gets at the soul of what a podcast is.
          I think podcasts can be useful in the classroom for a couple of reasons. I think one of the more obvious reasons is that podcasts can be interesting to listen to as a supplementary text in the ELA classroom. Students can listen to stories told by other people, even other students like themselves, to analyze them, to discuss them, or to use them for inspiration. Furthemore, I think it would be wonderful if students had the opportunity to create their own podcasts in the classroom. It is my firm belief that every student has a story to tell and I think it would be wonderful if students could not only write their own stories, but could turn them into podcasts and "publish" them in a sense, online. I think that writing is much more meaningful when it is personal to the students, and this would be a great way to allow student to create meaningful stories to share with their classmates and with a larger online audience. I had to create a podcast in one of my English Ed classes and I chose to write about my father, who has had many brushes with death but is luckily still alive to talk about it today. I created a story and incorporated narrative, interviews and music to make one piece. This project became really important to me because I wasn't just telling any story, I was telling my father's story, my family's story, my story. I think students would find a project like this also personally meaningful because they could choose what they wanted to create, just like the choice that I had while creating my project. I have included a link to listen to some podcasts that I have created so that you can listen to them, if you'd like, and get a sense of the type of project that I believe students are capable of in the classroom.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing the podcast about your father. It was a great idea to intersperse comments from your mom and dad as well.

    Dr. Burgos