History 420 – Teaching with Podcasts Assignment #2
Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer

Please note that this assignment requires a great deal of listening - about three hours - some reading and research, as well as writing up the final assignment. So please do not attempt to complete it the night before it is due!!

After reading the Introduction below, complete the four parts to this assignment:

Introduction:  Podcasts are everywhere and they have become an exciting new tool to use in our classrooms.  According to the website “Teacher’s Guide on the Use of Podcasting in Education," a podcast, as defined in the New Oxford American Dictionary is a “digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the internet for downloading to a personal audio payer."  It continues, “ … in other words, it is a digital audio file that is created, shared and heard. Podcasts can also be in the form of videos streamlined online, however, video podcast is known as vidcast or vodcast.”  (http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2012/12/teachers-guide-on-use-of-podcasting-in.html)

The "Guide" provides at least five educational uses for podcasts in the classroom:

But before you can begin to think about how to use podcasts in the classroom, each of you must explore the value of podcasts to your own education.  This is the first part of this assignment – Exploring podcasts for your own education.

Part 1:  Exploring podcasts for your own education.  Below are the podcasts you need to listen to for this assignment. Each podcast has a URL. You can listen to the podcast on your computer, or you can download the three applications - This American Life, Civics 101, Radio Diaries - to your cell phone. They are all free. You will need to listen to each podcast and then answer the questions that follow.

First Podcast:  This American Life,  “The problem we all live with,” Episode 562, aired on July 31, 2015 (1 hour) http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/562/the-problem-we-all-live-with

  1. What is “the achievement gap” as explained in the podcast?
  2. What do we know does decrease the “achievement gap?”  Why does it work?  Why do we never discuss it in our classes or in our lives?
  3. The following is a statement made by a white parent at the school integration hearing: “This is not a race issue.  This is a commitment to education issue.”  How and why would you help your students deconstruct this statement?
  4. After listening to this podcast, explain at least 2-3 reactions you had while listening.
  5. How would you use this podcast in your classroom?  Or would you?  Explain.

Second Podcast: In the Podcast Civics 101 at http://www.npr.org/podcasts/512508710/civics-101, you will find dozens of short lessons on many things our students must understand about American government and history. Listen to these four: "Executive Order," Episode 7 (aired February 2017, 13 minutes; "Gerrymandering," Episode 16 (aired March 2017); "Emoluments," Episode 23 (aired April 2017, 13 minutes); and "Obsruction of Justice," Episode 13 (aired July 2017, 13 minutes).

  1. What were the two most important things that you learned - and that your students should know - about executive orders?
  2. What were the two most important things that you learned - and that your students should know - about gerrymandering?
  3. What were the two most important things that you learned - and that your students should know - about emoluments?
  4. What were the two most important things that you learned - and that your students should know - about obstruction of justice?
  5. Pick one of these topics and explain how and why they help you better understand an issue that is currently in the national limelight.

Third Podcast: Backstory, "Too Good To Be True? Myths in American History," Episode 0204, aired on July 28, 2017 (54 minutes)http://backstoryradio.org/shows/too-good-to-be-true

  1. Which of the four major myths discussed in the podcast - the Sir Francis Drake plaque, John Henry, Robert E. Lee, and Davey Crockett - did you find most surprising? Were the lives of any of these people ever discussed in the course of your education? If so, what was the narrative? How and why did you find this narrative so surprising?
  2. Which of the four major myths discussed in the podcast - the Sir Francis Drake plaque, John Henry, Robert E. Lee, and Davey Crockett - do you feel it would be most important to discuss with your students? Why?
  3. How was this podcast useful to your own education? How might it be useful for your students?

Part II:  Learning how podcasts are being used in classrooms.  While there are several excellent online sites about how educators are using podcasts in their classrooms, I think the following two are both useful and succinct for this introductory assignment:

Please read both articles – they are short.  Then answer the following questions:

  1. What did you find most useful about these two articles in terms of using podcasts in the classroom?
  2. Did the second article encourage you to think about starting a podcast? Might it be a useful tool for encouraging your students to start a podcast? Why or why not?

Part III:  Selecting a podcast to share with your classmates. Today there are thousands of podcasts that can be accessed, many of which could be useful in your classroom.  For this assignment, you have listened to three of the most popular podcasts. And some of you may have favorites that you are already listening to on a regular or irregular basis.  Now it is time to do a bit of exploring and in so doing, find a new podcast that you would be interested in using in your own classroom.  Following are some sites you could explore:

Once you explore the Internet and select a podcast that you think would interest your colleagues in terms of their own learning as well as their possible use in the classroom, please address the following in no more than 2 pages:

  1. Provide the title of the podcast, the date it was aired, and the URL. 
  2. Write a brief synopsis of the podcast objectives and the types of episodes available on the podcast.
  3. Select one episode that you think would be especially interesting for your colleagues and carefully listen to it. 
  4. Write a brief synopsis of the episode.
  5. Describe how and why you would use this podcast in a 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, and/or 12th grade classroom.
  6. Email your answers to questions 1-5 in this part of the assignment to your professor the day BEFORE the presentation.  I will make copies for your classmates.

Part IV:  Sharing your podcast with your classmates.  On the day the assignment is due, each of you will join a group of between 4-5 classmates. Once in your group, each of you will do the following:

  1. Explain – IN A WAY THAT WILL HOOK YOUR CLASSMATES – how and why this is a podcast that could be useful to them in terms of increasing their own understanding of history and/or in terms of encouraging them to use it in their classroom. 
  2. Your presentation MUST include visual and/or verbal support(s) in any format you choose.

After each of you has completed your presentation, each group will select the person with the most interesting podcast - and that person will then present his/her information to the entire class. After all five presentations, your professor will facilitate a class discussion about this assignment.  Some questions for discussion include: