Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Using podcasts in the classroom
I've been using podcasts in my lessons this year and They can be great source of real life English in the classroom. As well as being up to date they allow you to choose a wider source of subject matter than is usually given in course books. Here is a typical lesson plan for a post FCE level lesson.
1 - a CNN podcast (see this link). They are approx four minutes. Write down three or four words from each story.
2 - A way of transfering the podcast from the computer to the classroom. If you have an mp3 player you can connect to a cassette player using a weird cassette adapter (see link) or borrow the school's computer speakers.
3 - A way of recording students (optional).
1 Ask students what the major news stories of the last few days (domestic and international). Ask them in groups to remember as may details as possible and discuss them.
2 Write down a few words from each story on the podcast on the board. Explain to students that they'll hear the stories in full in a short while. Then ask students to discuss the possible content of the story with each other.
3 Elicit answers from the class.
4 Play the CNN podcast and ask students to write down as many details as possible. Remind them that it is impossible to write down everything and that they should just make a note of the stuff they consider most important.
5 Students share their answers with each other.
6 Play the podcast again.
7 Students once again write down what they consider most important and then share it with the others.
8 If you have smaller classes i.e. less than 10 ask the students to come up with a single class answer. In bigger classes divide them into groups of 5 or 6 and ask each group to do the same.
9 Elicit answers from the group(s).
FOLLOW UP ACTIVITIES
a Ask students to discuss which story is the most important for them.
b Ask students to follow up one of the stories on the internet for a week and report back to the class.
c Students create their own two - minutes news podcast using local news and then record it.
WHY DO THIS ? First of all it's good preparation for the note taking section of exams such as TOEFL and the Michigan ECPE. Also it is more up to date than the suff in the books and finally it's easy. All it takes is 10 minutes of your valuable time outside the classroom