Achieving productivity in the classroom cannot be limited to one type of web 2.0 technology. It truly encompasses nearly every type of tool we can utilize as teachers to enhance the skills of our students. With this said, podcasts are a very useful specific 2.0 technology with an ability to enhance productivity in our classroom learning environments.
Podcasts hold an interesting history in education and generally throughout society. I recall seeing podcasts for the first time on iTunes a few years back. I subscribed to a few including an Obama podcast, an ESPN one, and one from NPR. I listened to them off and on, but never felt especially compelled to tune in. Nor did I ever feel like podcasts had the ability to enhance education or my profession. This changed with my reading and reflection in this past week’s course content from Issues and Advances in Educational Technology.
The first example that really struck me on increasing productivity in the classroom came from the website “Poducate Me: Practical Solutions for Podcasting in Education” and the guide created by Micah Ovadia. In 2004, Duke University provided all 1,600 incoming freshmen with recordable IPods. As a result, 75% of those students reported that the IPod enhanced their course experience. The faculty also reported better engagement in class as a result (Ovadia, 2007). Duke’s experience led other prestigious universities like Stanford, Michigan, Hawaii, and Harvard. While the universities seemed to start the trend, high schools and elementary schools soon joined in.
Ovadia does reflect on, as did some of the universities, the fact that podcasting could potentially have a negative effect on attendance. Despite the fact that the University of Washington and Duke University did not see a negative effect, some potential still exists for this result. As I reflect on how to incorporate podcasts into my lessons, I don’t worry about the attendance factor. Attendance does not exist as a primary concern at Seattle Prep for a number of reasons including a fantastic administrative team, clear policies, and parental involvement.
The impetus for my potential use of podcasts lies with Bloom’s Taxonomy. As I attempt to find more and more ways to engage students in critical thinking and higher levels of analysis, it becomes clear how podcasts can aid in that process. The highest level in Bloom’s Taxonomy is creation. What better way to tap into this level of thinking with our students than through the use of podcast? As Mark Frydenberg of Bentley College explains, “podcasting is a useful tool for disseminating course information to students but becomes even more powerful when students are responsible for creating that content for their classmates” (Frydenberg, 2008). The creation of information can elevate our students to really engaging in the material.
In applying this concept to actual classroom lessons, there are resources available on the internet. For example, the Florida Center for Instructional Technology has a site that highlights particular lessons for teachers to use podcasts. In history, the following example is given:
Teachers can assign different groups of students to investigate the experiences of different members of the expedition and then create a series of podcasts from the perspectives of each of these expedition members. The podcasts would also help illustrate the changes that took place during the course of the expedition (Podcasts, 2009).
This resource provides me with a nice starting point to visualize how I can utilize podcasts. With the research done by universities such as Duke and Stanford, along with practical applications throughout the country, there is enough evidence to know that podcasts can enhance learning. Now it is up to us to creatively think of ways to use it in our classrooms.
Anderson, L. W., & Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing: A revision of Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. New York: Longman.
Florida Center for Instructional Technology. (2009). Ideas for Podcasting in the Classroom. Retrieved from:
Frydenberg, M. (2008). Principles and Pedagogy: The Two Ps of Podcasting in the Information Technology Classroom. Information Systems Education Journal. (Vol 6). Retrieved from:
Ovadia, M. (2008). Poducate Me: Practical Solutions for Podcasting in Education. Retrieved from: