Presented by Katie Fielding, Daniel Nemerow, Elizabeth Summers, Billy Watts, Instructional Tech Coaches, Prince William County Schools
In this session you will learn the how-to and whys of bringing podcasting into your classroom. Perfect for all grades and contents.
Hi, thanks for tuning into Brainstorm 2020. We're here to talk about podcasting. We're all technology coaches at Prince William County Schools. My name is William Watts. I'm at Colgan High School.
I'm Katie Fielding and I'm at Woodbridge Senior High School.
My name is Daniel Nemerow and I'm at Patriot High School.
And I'm Biz Summers. I'm at Fred Lynn Middle School.
So we want to talk about podcasting as a means to do a number of things, and we're going to try to approach it from a couple different angles and then also give people some sort of like things that we've learned along the way. And some potholes to avoid and things like that. The title of our presentation being Podcasts are the New Essays is a hashtag that I believe Billy and Katie came up with.
It is a way of getting podcasts. Which are, you know, it's not like a huge big technology tool, but it is a tool that's different into our classrooms.
so there's this idea about subconscious learning that Gen Z student spend so much of their day consuming content. How can curriculum or teachers become part of that? When you guys first started doing this and getting into the classroom, what was that like? What pushed you in this direction Katie, to get into classes?
Yeah, I think, uhm, we had a nice empty space that could be used for something, a little closet size, little office. And so we wanted to make a studio and podcasting seem like the best thing utilization of that for our students. I've always been a long time podcast listener so I saw a lot of. possibilities for using it in the classroom.
Biz you do podcasting with students both in class and out of class. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Sure, it was easiest for me to learn how to do things, well first with a podcast myself, but then learning how to do with students was easier when I had the chance to work with kids with a little bit more time. So I started with a group of kids after school, got them interested, figured out what worked for them and what didn't work for them. So when I went into the classroom with a little bit more time constraints, I could be more effective.
And Billy, you're you're just podcasting all over the place. You wanna talk about?
So for me it really started as an English teacher, and a former SPED teacher. I really struggled with teachers that were like I have students who write the most amazing essays and then students who struggle to put anything on paper and just had the idea of what if we could record ourselves like a voice memo and then listen to that instead of an essay and then not just evolved into book talks, into current event research, and discussions and political concepts.
Right and then I just successfully stole ideas from the three of you and that's that's what we do at Patriot. I will say that it has been an interesting path a little bit because, one because I went after you guys so I stole your good ideas, but it is neat to see how it has grown in my building because I'm still kind of new to this where we started with just a microphone and four kids sitting around a laptop and now we're a little bit fancier than that. It will talk about later, but one of the things that I have found is that there are students that I think when they come in or when a teacher has as student, I don't mean a specific kid, but kind of like a category of students that I think might struggle sometimes to sit down and write an essay or that might struggle to come up with a presentation they could do in front of their class where they have to stand up and talk all this out. But then you get them around a microphone in a soundboard or laptop, or however you're doing it, and all of a sudden these kids are able to articulate things in a way that maybe like. I just I frankly didn't expect
Biz do you have an experience where, like you had a kid or a group of kids that you're like. Wow, I didn't expect that to come out of that student.
Well, when you talk about getting in front of a computer and taking away the idea of writing with pencil, I think that really frees up kids in a lot of ways. I'm kids who are worried about the way they spell or having teachers judge their grammar still might be comfortable just speaking their thoughts and communicating that way in for so for a lot of kids you can really see them come out of their shells and kind of come alive when they have the opportunity to communicate in a way they're a little more comfortable with.
And Katie, I know you have you have a club in Woodbridge where you've seen, like I think, one or two students in particular have sort of like grabbed hold of this idea of people need to hear what I'm saying or people one day might want to hear it. I'm saying have you had a similar experience with that?
Yeah, definitely. I think, uh, we don't have a couple kids who love it and embrace it. and I running with it even now that school's out doing it on their own. And like for one of them, like technology journalism is their passion and what they want their career to be. And so they've already got a jump start on that developing their portfolio for that even before they get to college and start that. But I think podcasting is a great option, medium, you know, for some kids they're going to be able to share their voice through drawing or art some kid through video, some kids are writing and I think podcasts is just another option that's great to put on the table for students.
And Billy, are you seeing kids that have really grabbed ahold of this podcast idea and kind of run with it?
Yeah, so I mean it was kind of crazy. You know you go into a classroom when you say alright guys, I know you've been studying these ancient civilizations and you guys are going to do a 10 minute podcast talking about its impact on the world today and just the groans across the entire room when you introduce this and then you bring him into a space you put some microphones in front of them, some headphones on, and then afterwards they go. This is fun, can I do another one?
It was weird just getting kids who wanted to stay after school just because they had something they had to say they had. It a message they wanted to share with the student body or with the world and even some of our kids would get so if they wanted to be comedians and so then they would, it would do like a comedy show and they would come back to be like you know I'm like ranked 37 on the the comedy channel. I'm like OK sure you are.
Yeah, I think for me I was privileged enough last school year that I was in the school play and there was a student who was just phenomenal and he's been in the play every year and he came up this past year this year and when it's his turn his groups turn to record and when they're done, everybody in the room the students in his group and me are all like looking at him like you should do this like you're really good at this and I think that. That was a cool part about her just seeing kids who shine just certain in certain areas. You know, we have students that are versatile in what they can do I think Katie made a great point about having it be an option for students to do this.
We also just kids are super creative. I mean you know kids making sound clouds and raps and all these different things. Are there other things that you guys have seen where you can see kind of? Original like student work in a different way than you wouldn't get out of a presentation is.
Is there something Billy that you've seen where it's been a student project or something that's been wow? That's like a really original thing that wouldn't have been possible without doing it in podcast.
Yeah, so for our AP World students, we do a project where they connect the history, the things that have happened over, you know the modern era with their own family and their push and pull factors in immigration and being for them to be able to go back in and have an interview with grandma and have an interview with their uncle and their grand father and then record that is a voice memo but then bring that in as they recorded file on their board. It just made them feel like they were doing more than just a school project like they were telling the story of them.
Right and Katie, do you have any similar experiences where you've had students be able to do things that just would not have been possible otherwise?
Yeah, so for our ELL students one of our ELL teachers is really loving this. This concept of podcasting and she's created a little club or ELL students, especially those recent immigrants, are telling their stories of coming to America in their own words in their own language, and I think that's pretty powerful.
Biz what about you?
Uhm, I just I. I'm thinking of one student who, uh, has spent a lot of her life in the shadow of her sister. Her sister is in signed or gifted classes and my student had never been even evaluated for that before. But one of her teachers listened to a podcast that she had done in our club after school just for fun and said I need to get this podcast to Signet. I need them to see the creativity that you have within you and the way your brain works. You haven't communicated before via writing or communicating in other ways.
Yeah, I actually had a couple of teachers say something to me that they wish they had done this earlier because they had students who they got work from that was written work that was not bad. Just know it was it meh, mediocre, it was vanilla.
Then they get the podcast and like wow, that is something else like that. Their ability to express their thoughts or make a point or argue something was just different when it was when it was spoken.
I think that's one of the challenges with teachers as teachers feel like podcasting is almost like you're giving kids a way out. Like oh, this is an easier assignment for them to do. But when you think of, you know you talk about a 100 words a minute when you speak and then you think if I'm going to ask you to do a 10 minute podcast, I'm asking you to write a 1000 words to have prepared but not just have prepared like I'm reading a script, but to be able to have a conversation with someone else and have thoughts already preplanned and on the fly to be able to respond to people's opinions?
Yes, I think that's the that's the next step for teachers, right? So, uh, this starts happening at Patriot and people hear about other classes doing it and like, Oh, you guys are podcasting. Super cool. I want a podcast on like, awesome, what do you want to do and like? I don't know what do I want to do.
so when you guys have that talk with teachers about like Alright, you have a teacher that's interested, willing. You have the equipment and they're like, right? What can we do,
Biz, what's kind of like your go to like right? Pick a class? Let's start with this kind of assignment or project.
Well, I mostly work with a language arts and history teachers, and so you know, the first thing we always try to do is try it to exactly what are you doing in the curriculum right now. In middle school a lot of times it's easier for the teachers and the students as well to start with really just fact regurgitation. It's not the most exciting, but it's less intimidating and it's just another way for kids to explain what they know and when teachers just think of it as as that as an explaining. project it's really easy. It's more fun when we get into the opinions and the persuasive podcasts, but a good starting place is just here comes with facts.
Right Katie? What about you? What's your what's your go to to get in?
My go to, is working with that teacher on the rubric so that it's like a rubric that can be used for. Like I said, any type of project, maybe this other one student wants to write once you don't want to make a video. One students make art, one wants to make a podcast, but they all have the same rubric which is based on the content that the teacher wants them to know. So as long as they're hitting like those content things then the student has like freedom to create what they want.
Yeah, I think that's one of the things that I stress. The teachers too is that I think it was daunting a little bit because there was a idea. Well, now I gotta create a whole another way to grade. I'm like no, no like you're still grading content now it's you know the students ability to master content. We're just adding that we're just changing how they're delivering it really.
Billy What about you?
Yeah, so my go to as an English teacher is always to fall back to what I taught in the classroom. So book talks is such a great way. We want our kids to read all the time. But you know, we don't want to have kids do book reports and so for a lot of my English teachers being able to see that you could have cross grade level and cross classroom book talks and see themes that are in books that apply to some of those required readings that we do at every grade level.
Yeah, I think that there's other ways that we we've been trying to get into 'cause I've basically similar to you guys at the different things and stuff like that. But now I'm finding that have students that want to create podcasts as part of like, you know, I had some students wanted to do one about. Literally about mindfulness and then about some sort of like you know, can we talk about things that pressure students and now we're kind of morphing our daily announcements. While we've been out of school, you know to do COVID19 where we're trying to take our daily announcements and make them make them a podcast. Are there things that you guys are doing, Katie's or anything that you guys do this or that you want to do that sort of community driven but based on a podcast?
Well, we don't have one at this time. We have used Flipgrid a lot of like that kind of thing so far, but I do see the possibilities of using podcasting to connect with the community like you're doing with the announcements. Yeah, so far nothing community related quite yet.
I think flipgrid is a great practice your podcast avenue, its almost like bit rehearsal, you know, as a way to do it
Biz is there something that you guys do that is community-based or that's not class specific I'm not yet but I have been thinking wow we're in the closure that podcasting might be a really great way for teachers to share content with students.
I know that a lot of people struggle with having meetings via Google or Teams or Zoom or whatever I just trying to have that synchronous learning, but if the teachers just really wanted to share some information or share story with the kids recording as a podcast would give the kids a lot more options to engage with their phone and also be able to mult-task and you know fold clothes or whatever while they listen to their teacher
Fold clothes, and listen
Billy what about you guys
so my counselors really loved the idea of bringing in students to talk about issues that they were dealing with as students and and and you know, whether you were a senior or whether you were freshmen and so some of the counters took on bringing on students that that would host the podcast and then it would invite freshmen and sophomores and juniors and seniors to share their story.
I was thinking with this COVID19 and so many of our class of 2020 students just not being able. To share their story that podcasting would be a great way for us to be able to allow every student to have a small one-minute clip like tell your story, share what high school's meant to you and then compile those as like episodes that we release on a weekly basis. Cool,
Thats a great idea I am going to steal that idea.
Everybody should steal it, we should do it state-wide
In the stealing category I in my weekly email to our kids and idea that I that I stole from Katie so I guess not an idea her idea. I had a student a week ago reach out to me about being on the announcements that were now morphing into a podcast and I was thinking that in my next email, I'm gonna ask seniors any of them that want to join the podcast announcements as a guest for that exact purpose like that's in my draft email so funny there were thinking about that
Biz you have a professional podcast also that where the audience is not students. Not produced by students or for students, although I suppose they could listen can you talk this a little bit about how you've used that as a podcasting for for adults for teachers and staff
yeah, um, well, I'm a big podcast listener. I listen to podcasts when I drive when I walk really whenever I'm doing anything that is a little bit boring, um, and I listen to a lot of educational ones and I was thinking yeah, I love to be able to present PD to teachers this way because there's you know, There's only so many hours in a day and so another ITC and I started a podcast we share just our learning ideas things that we're doing in our schools we talk to other people about what's going on in their schools and just try to to share best practices in the classroom.
I hear you guys are able to get really great guests,
yeah Katie, Billy, Dan to name a few of the all stars
Wow how about that.
Billy, do you listen to podcast professionally or create podcasts for for a staff.
Yeah so I I don't listen for ed tech purposes because it's hard for me to find really good ed tech podcasts and no shame or shade towards ed tech podcast out there, but um, I that's how that's how I consume all of my news now is pretty much all through podcasts and then I've been really trying to push, I think so many of our colleagues have wonderful things to share but the idea of standing up in front of an auditorium and giving a presentation is just so intimidating but if you could break down your ideas into less than 10 15 minute car ride to work. Then that's something great that we can let all of our colleagues and our teachers really share their expertise.
Yeah I had a teacher approach me about if there was a way that I could get them like weekly training without doing weekly training. Hey Dan, we want you to teach us stuff,we just don't want you to teach us right room with us or in any way what's ever so and I was thinking that yeah next year that was gonna be my goal of just sort of like a here, you know, if you want to go more information about whatever the tool, you know insert tool here, here's a three minute podcast on it, and then if you want more than here's where you can go
Katie, what about you
I have found success with having teachers listen to podcast like a book club so instead of you know, they read a book they all listen to a podcast and they come and discuss it and we've also done it asynchronously where the discussion takes place on Flipgrid so that's been successful so it's totally like deep at your own time PD.
I can't remember which one of you gave me this idea but I know that when I go in now to start this with students that the first thing I ask is how many of you listen to podcasts when I'm introducing this to a class and you know now it's it's got it's crazy to me how many it is actually but in most older high school classes, especially it's about half and then the first thing that I asked them to do is to listen to a podcast before they start making it because it's it's hard to describe a little bit because the kids think it's like, you know, it's like a it's like a play where you're only listening, you know, and and it's really really not that are there things or pieces of advice or things specifically that you guys have students listen to before they record
is there something Billy that you make sure your kids hear before they start recording.
I throw in some of the the parts of how letting kids feel it realize they can be creative with like intro jingles and little sound bites that they can have inside there because for some of our students the idea of recording it's still very intimidating and so for them to take on the role of their almost producing this with the the mood music in the background really helps and then I also think that I always tell my students to think of it whatever the answer to their question is in 3’s.
So like you have a topic, what's a question that comes from that topic, and then how could you answer that in three parts. Then we'll listen to podcasts to find out that I that how they did that professional answer it in three parts
Biz, I would guess that middle schoolers aren't as heavy into podcast listening so is there something you have them listen to before you start recording with them
yeah that's an excellent guess Dan. Most of my students are unfamiliar with podcast unless they have been listening to them with their parents and so.
I always start by playing a shorter podcast one that I hope will capture their interests but I also try to choose one's that that I would myself listen to something that I think is authentic some thing for them to strive for
Katie what about you?
I also like to have to listen to short podcasts and also student created podcasts so like some of the NPR competition winners from years past, last year's winners, as like a oh this is you know, here's a professional level podcast that's five minutes, but hey, look these kids that are your age or even younger did this awesome thing.
Yeah I got some permission last year from from last last year from some students I was like hey listen I know this was for AP GOV, I don't need the whole thing I'm not always going to use it for government but they you know, they put in the intro music and they had like a you know, they named it they did all those sort of little things that not that you have to do but that I think makes the kids feel like they're making a a professional sounding podcast and I think the podcast that we recorded subsequent to me doing that they got better because the kids had sort of like a oh, I mean, even though we're just kids, like it can sound but grown-ups are doing it, like other has to be grown up to be professional but.
When you guys meet with kids is there a set kind of you know rubric you have they're not rubric there's obviously rubric from the teacher but sort of like a game plan that you have them create or is it different class by class
Biz where do you start when you get with kids as far as the you know, the outline and the practice and things like that.
I usually have that conversation first with a teacher rather than with the kids a lot of times the teacher doesn't want to have me in their class that many days or they want to chunk it up in different ways that I can't necessarily accommodate in my schedule but I always talk to the teacher about what best is going to suit their needs like I want the teacher to know exactly what they want from the kids and so it's I don't have a set thing it's a little different every time but it is thinking about the end product first is definitely an important part of the process
beginning with the end in mind.
Katie what about you
yeah, so I'm really fortunate that I have a studio space in addition to going to classrooms and in the studio space. I actually had got one of those crafty mom-like teachers to help me use the cricket to cut out icons that I downloaded from noun project and each icon is the different step in the the podcasting process so those are up on the wall in the podcasting studio and then kids can leave each other notes or tips about like each step of the process and I actually don't and this past year haven't done any of the podcast training.
I have a senior kid who just the studio is his he's like the manager he loves it and he does all the training now, so it's really student-owned
what about you Billy,
I just like Biz, I love to sit down and meet with the teacher first to kind of get that buy in and then I tell teachers that it's about you get to think of a three-day process at least in that you have to introduce the project, you need a day for planning, then you probably need to allocate probably one to two days just for groups to rotate through and record.
I'm a huge fan of padlet and it at the end of this we've got a waklet with resources and you can copy all of our stuff in there, but it's nice to be able to size because students can go in and add their notes and their ideas and reference things and ad recordings and practice you can link to flipgrid which is great for teachers, will then watch the flipgrid and when they give the green light, okay that was good now you can go into the studio and record.
yeah I mean it's sort of a shared Google doc thing a very basic kind of rubric and outline and then a day of use kind of thing that I just give to my teachers and I'm like listen modify it change it so that it fits your curriculum or whatever or I'll help them modify will work together, but just so that there's some kind of starting point.
When you guys are talking to student or teachers anybody about recording what are some some tips some things like to make sure like, you know, I always tell my kids it's it's not scripted it's you know it's not ad libbed and it's not scripted it's this happy medium of in between are there what kind of things do you talk about with with your students and teachers about tips for podcasting
Biz go ahead
You actually just kind of took mine.
I have the biggest mistake that I've ever made with it was one of my language arts teachers wanted kids to do a podcast instead of an essay and she was really excited about it and so then she said, but first we're gonna write the essay and then they will read that essay into the microphone and it was just a horrifically boring experience for the kid. Kids and for the teacher and when it was done they weren't even excited to share it with each other so that was the one thing that I really learned the hard way very quickly is that it it's more effort to write the essay first and then less payoff.
Katie, what about you,
yeah definitely the outlining is important having them outlined their thoughts or outlined their questions if it's gonna be like an interview style podcast. I remember back in high school, you know, like I think interviewing is one of the English standards that they have to do and it was always just like a job interview that was always what you practice right but I think podcasting allows you to try and attempt a lot of different types of interviewing so practicing like what is a good question is one of the things that I work with students on.
My biggest tip for kids is script your intro, script your outro, and script your questions. Everything else just let it go and you don't have to be perfect. The the teacher isn't intently listening to this podcast word for word writing everything down. They're doing something in the background, and your job is just to be, we joke in class to be 2 to 4 nerds talking about school work for fun.
I agree I think any time that we can get kids to what I tried to stress a teacher I had a teacher talking about well like you know this isn't as good as writing the essays with the essay they have to do all the research and get and I said that if you listen in this teacher had not listened to podcast before so I had her listen to podcasts and I was like if you listened to them you realized that these people sound like they know everything about the topic even though you know, that they you didn't get the sum knowledge of all that they know because to carry on a conversation about something and sound like you know, what you're talking about you have to know more than what you actually talk about so Billy what's Next
I always tell teachers start with whatever is is that a passion, whatever is the the topic that kids are really excited about and as as we're entering this end of the year and we're remote learning and you know, we're moving towards things that maybe aren't graded it's a great time for teachers to reach out to students and say what is one concept that we've talked about when we were in school that you really resonated with you that you want to then bring on guest, or co-host with this and interview and shout out to Soundtrap which is now giving away unlimited.
Licenses for schools that want to use it and that has a great collaborating platform that's COPPA, and FERPA and CCPA friendly and all that.
And Biz about you what's next when you if you had people that were on the verge of doing this, how do you shove them down the path?
I think telling them not you're not all podcasters now but if you've got a group of students who want to do it doesn't option for a project having that as okay you guys are gonna write and you guys are gonna make a video and you guys are gonna create a podcast, um, you'll get the kids most want to do it and those are gonna be the kids
yeah teacher flexibility is a is a big deal for sure. Katie?
yeah, I think a lot of teachers who are like oh that they're not gonna cite their sources and I think that's a great place to show them about show notes and that that's a place that you know students can still do a works cited page it is just going to be in the show notes and also the cover art so if they're doing a group project, one person may be the producer one person may be doing the cover art like me taking the lead on that and then lastly accessibility like podcasts are great but not everyone can hear so just making sure that there is a transcript available and showing kids how to do that because accessibility is the going to be a big job in IT and digital communications in the future and just introducing them to that concept is going to be really important.
Awesome, so if you want to continue the conversation with us you can find all four of us on Twitter. You'll find all four of us but you will only communicate with three of us, so if you want to get Billy's attention just tag one of us and we will Lik, Retweet, and then send him a message to check Twitter
You can go to www.podcastsarethenewessays.com to find the wakelet that we put together that has all the resources on there for you
This has been fun, thanks guys.