The New York Times article titled, “Project Audio: Teaching Students How to Produce Their Own Podcasts” provides a step-by-step guide on how educators can help students create their own podcasts. I listen to podcasts on a weekly basis and this article made me think about them in a different way. I hadn’t considered the production elements of a podcast and how that contributes to the content. I also never thought that a teacher could create an entire lesson plan out of podcast production, but after reading the article it made complete sense. Podcasts are a narrative form- there’s a story arc in every one whether it’s an interview, news report, or literal story. A podcast lesson gives students an opportunity to write and deliver a story in a different way. As I was reading the article, I thought about how much I would have loved an assignment like this when I was in school. I love to write, but it can be constraining when it’s just you, words, and the page. There is a certain chemistry and energy shift when writing is spoken out loud, especially amongst two or more people. Podcasts can help students see a story come to “life.” It may engage students who are audial or kinesthetic learners and help them realize that there are many forms of storytelling.
I think our organization could greatly benefit from podcasts. When considering my own work and the department I support, the opportunities are endless with podcasting. I work in the Corporate Education department which is responsible for delivering non-clinical education to the organization. We provide open enrollment classes on subjects like communication, prioritization, and computer skills. We also provide leadership trainings to various levels of staff. A podcast could support all of these organizational efforts. Each leadership program could have its own podcast, or there could be a general leadership podcast that reviews topics and concepts that are discussed in these trainings. There could also be an open enrollment podcast that discusses the tools and concepts that are discussed during those trainings. Our organization has over 6,000 employees who are all extremely busy. Sometimes they do not have the time to read an article or attend a class. This would give them the opportunity to learn or refresh these concepts while they’re driving home, working out, or relaxing during their lunch break.
Another way podcasts could be used is through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These are groups who represent and support our Diversity and Inclusion work within the organization and community. Each ERG could produce its own podcast so that we could learn more about each respective community and their efforts. It would be a way to create a learning network and dialogue within the organization. ERGs also provide educational sessions to the staff. The ERGs could record their educational sessions and then distribute them on their podcast in case employees want to listen but could not attend the live class.
Podcasts provide numerous ways in which we can learn. If you listen to them, you can learn through the content that you hear. If you produce them, you can learn about both the process and the subject that you are interviewing or discussing. We are living in a time that is extremely visual, which makes the value of podcasts even more pronounced. They take us away from our screens and ourselves and in doing so, give us a way to connect through learning and storytelling.