For 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.
As 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.