Teaching podcasts in class

Narrative podcasts have their predecessors on radio newsmagazine shows and you can find many on CBC shows such as The Doc ProjectOut in the OpenNow or Never, and Podcast Playlist. “They tend to lean heavily on production effects, such as the use of music and sound effects, as well as narrative storytelling techniques such as multiple characters, scene setting, backstory, hooks, framing devices, and cliffhangers.” Narrative podcasts are not for remembering things.  They can be very powerful – but for things like framing, developing attitudes, setting norms, and challenging assumptions.  Source: Stephen’s Web.

Not sure what a podcast is? Start by listening to this one with your students; “Podcast about the things that get lost in translation“. Or if you are teaching politics; “I was blocked by the President of the United States on Twitter“.


How about using this with your students? Or even better have your students make their own podcasts?

Why are narrative podcasts a good way to learn?

The true power of narrative podcasts lies in the effect that storytelling has on retention. Stories are the foundation of how we understand and remember information. They do this by triggering our emotions and tying information to the way we feel when we learn something new. By intertwining content with a story, learners are better equipped to recall information by recalling the way they felt when they learned the information. According to the London School of Business, learners retain facts at only a rate of about 5 – 10 percent. Tying these facts to images can help increase retention up to 25 percent. However, if facts and concepts are interwoven into stories, retention levels can reach as high as 65 – 75 percent. Narrative podcasts present an excellent opportunity to increase learner retention levels without much need for monetary investments or specialized skillsets.

So how can I get started podcasting?

This is the first of eight articles that will give you essential information about podcasting. They will cover the equipment requirements, production, scripts, audio editing, tips and tricks, and copyright.

The important thing to remember is that the most critical part of any narrative podcast is the script. It doesn’t matter how flashy production techniques end up being if ultimately your story isn’t compelling. Focus on finding a good story to tell, write a script, and once you have something you are happy with, all you need to do is get your story down as a recording. The best advice I can give new podcasters is to identify what professional podcasts you enjoy and listen to them again with an ear out for the way they are produced. How do they use music, sound effects, pacing, breaks, and character changes? How does the dialogue between characters flow? There is a reason successful podcasts are successful; find what works for the best in the business and think about how you can use similar techniques. Other than that, all you have to do is start creating! I think you will be happy with the results. After all, “great stories happen to those who can tell them.” Source: Learning Solutions

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