‘Serial’ Learning & Killing Stories

6643223421_2c7574a7e2_oFor this weeks lesson on Podcasts and Digital Storytelling, I just so happened to listen to the first episode of Serial and a story on I Read Banned Books. I though that both of these resources presented the same theme of both growth and death in education.

We all know about our favorite books being banned, whether they are new controversial novels or classics. I am against book banning. Banning books in schools only accomplishes one thing, the death of a students desire to read. We should never discourage reading. Parents and administrations may be worried about the content of some of these books, but the argument has been made again and again, if students are reading about sex and drugs, they are most likely not out there doing it!

Next, I have become obsessed with the ‘Serial’ podcast series. I am a big fan of Cold Cases, Forensic Files, Unsolved Mysteries and so on, so the content of ‘Serial’ clearly grabbed my attention. But after reading Linda Flanagan’s article What Teens are Learning from ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts, I started to consider the benefits of using podcasts in the classroom.

3086892145_8529db08ef_zAs I have said time and time again, I do not plan to become a teacher, but if I was I would definitely use podcasts and digital storytelling as part of my lesson planning. First of all it seems like the podcasts and digital stories do a lot of the teaching for you. Like Serial for example. The case is laid out week by week and students have to make their own inferences about the evidence presented to them, that’s critical thinking skill building! The episodes also present opportunities for students to engage in discussions allowing them to practice speaking skills.

Sure, there may be disadvantages to podcasts and digital storytelling in the classroom, such as students falling asleep or not listening, but let’s face it, that’s a problem for some students in every learning situation. I think that teachers would find that more likely than not, students will find the podcasts and digital stories extremely interesting and will be more than willing to create their own podcasts and stories as well.

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9 thoughts on “‘Serial’ Learning & Killing Stories

  1. I enjoyed “Serial” as well, but a good point was brought up on my Twitter feed. How would you feel, as a parent, if your child’s murder was made into a publicly available form of entertainment? Hopefully, the author of the podcast got the family’s permission before releasing it.

    I agree with your analysis of book banning. I was never a crazy youth, and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I had already vicariously lived a bunch of crazy scenarios through the characters in books. While sure, a lot of teenage books address topics such as pre-marital sex and drugs, most of them display a balanced view of these vices, something that can be lacking in society. A lot of times, kids are discouraged from even asking questions about controversial topics, and their ability to discern things for themselves is stunted. A lot of these kids end up taking part in unsafe behaviors, just because they desire the ability to learn and understand. So yeah, books = good. Banning = bad.

    1. I thought the same thing Margaret, the family had to have given permission or maybe they even wanted the story of Hae to help other young girls make more conscious decisions of who they give their heart to (if Adnan did it).

  2. I so agree with you about banning books, it shuts down kids desire to read. If they love a book and we ban it we are taking away the opportunity for them to enjoy reading. Good post I really like it!

  3. Honestly. This week is hard because I’m not finding anyone to disagree with, and you aren’t an exception. I think it’s a great idea. That’s all there is to it. I’m into the “Who Done It” things as well, but I didn’t choose “Serial” for mine. I chose “Welcome to Nightvale” because I had already listened to several hours worth of it prior to this week, and am not gonna stop now. I also watched the book banning one, and I’m completely with you. “Fahrenheit 451” is definitely ironically banned, and frankly, it’s a great books that students would actually *want* to read if they were given the chance. It’s got an interesting moral, could prevent a horrible future if people actually read it, and it has sex and violence! How much more awesome could you be?

    1. I personally love sex and violence (or reading about it at least). I definitely disagree with most of the books that are banned, but some are completely baffling to me, Fahrenheit 451 being one of them!

  4. When I think about banning books I think about poignant scenes from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and the movie The Book Thief. In these scenes the books are not only banned but they are also burned. I wondered if you have ever watched these scenes.

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