Podcast Project in the Class Part 4: Elements, Elements, Elements: Podcasts and Story

I am still reworking and adding materials to this series of posts

I know, I know. For a post on Podcast, I haven’t discussed them much, if at all. That’s because the group information and helping students develop (and use) their plans is so critical to their success–no matter what project or its medium.

I broke out the podcast section into three areas of focus:

  • elements of podcasting and elements of storytelling
  • Interviewing/Using Equipment/logistics
  • Crafting the Podcast (putting it together/editing)

Podcasts, Elements

The discussion so far as I’ve laid it out doesn’t really follow the timeline for the class. The journalism foundational readings were homework during this time, while the the group documentation materials began a few classes after we started exploring the podcast materials.

At the end of this series of posts, I will provide a list of all the resources I used. But for now, I’ll just mention them as I discuss them during the course of the class. My original intention was to use NPR’s Teaching Podcasting: A Curriculum Guide for Educators as the main textbook for the class. It is an excellent, excellent guide with actual lesson plans as well as a list of other valuable resources. Each part can be downloaded as a pdf (there used to be a pdf containing everything but I can’t find it now). There is also a student guide. While I ended up changing direction for my use of this guide, I did use many ideas and parts of their lessons for the introductory part of the podcasts section, specifically, from the “Podcasting overview” section (download as a pdf).

To get a lay of the podcast land, we first began by discussing students’ favorite podcasts to see what things stood out for them and what interested them and why. What I really appreciated from this guide were the listening exercises where they had specific clips ready to be discussed. This literally saved me hours from seeking out my own clips from scratch. For example, we were able to listen and compare during class, Kind World: So Chocolate Bar and Hidden Brain: The Haunting Effects of Going Days Without Sleep. During the discussion, were started teasing out the elements of the podcast itself (beyond the story). This also benefited students who had never before listened to a podcast. To reinforce the elements we discovered and discussed during class, I gave them a homework assignment to practice looking for these elements. Also, to help students prepare for working together, I started making assignments like this collaborative (group work).


Storytelling, Elements

In addition to NPR, The New York Times also is an excellent resource for teaching podcasts. While I found much of the material aimed at much younger audiences, I did use (massaged) their material about storytelling. Armed with this initial checklist, students were then able to examine some podcasts looking for these story elements. For this, I once again appreciated the planned lessons and materials from The New York Times.

While the students didn’t realize it yet, they were building a list of both story and podcast elements for which we would use as part of their rubric for their final podcast project.


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