Listening to Student Podcasts 14/31 #SOL

I’ve been evaluating student podcasts this weekend and it really is joyful listening to their voices.

This group of grade 12 students were given the task of researching the author and a topic in the book that they chose. In lessons, we had talked about the usual musical intro, the overall summary in the opening and the need to write for the ear instead of the eye. One student, Chloe, chose Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and her topic was the “otherness, outsider, or misfit” of the Southern Gothic. As a class, we had also studied podcasts, sampled them, and talked about the necessity for creating an immersive auditory experience for an audience, but Chloe did this and so much more.

Half way into the podcast, her script read:

Between us are two steaming plates of roast dinner, a coffee, a beer, and a cigarette in an ashtray. I point out to you the man behind the counter, he’s watching his customers closely and thumbing his nose. We think of him as an “other”, apart, a misfit. An icon of his repressed identity. We go back to our dinner, and a server brings us cherry pie. Now, I point out the window. I’m trying to explain something to you, trying to make my case. Do you see it out there? It is the American South, great “defeated” nation, simmering with unspilled rage. I tell you, finally: the South is the freak of America. Can’t you see it?

At this point, I realized that she was not only taking me into an immersive experience, but she was also taking me into the book creating the mood of the Southern Gothic as I was listening. The research, the complex thinking, the interconnectedness of texts and information, the building of another world – it was all there, in six minutes of creative genius.

I’ll admit that not all of them contained such creativity and insights, but each student was able to be successful and I was able to evaluate all aspects of the curriculum without having them present synchronously to an audience. And, one of the unique aspects of podcasting is that students have to listen to their own voice as editing before publishing. There is a creativity in using music and sound, in writing and selecting the atmosphere and genre of podcast, and importantly, there is this metacognitive aspect of listening to one’s own voice built into the process.

The iterative nature of podcasting keeps me thinking and contemplating more ways to listen to the voices of students.

9 thoughts on “Listening to Student Podcasts 14/31 #SOL

  1. Wow. That sounds like an amazing project. Thanks for sharing. What platform did your students use to record and edit their podcasts?

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  2. Your analysis of podcasts is spot on, but what I notice most is your student’s comment that “the South is the freak of America.” Boy howdy that’s a loaded statement filled w/ truth. When you’re in the South as one from that part of the country, it’s easy to miss the freakishness. That’s probably true of lots of places, however. Still, I quite enjoyed reading your student’s claim.

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    1. I worried about that statement when posting – she was analyzing from an outsider’s point of view and also consciously taking on a persona. I agree that there is no place without “freakishness”. Once we realize that we have this in all of us, maybe we will be more accepting.

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  3. Ooh! Do you think she’d let you share with me? In exchange I can offer one where the student takes us on a seriously twisted version of “it’s a small world” at Disney – while she talks about Book of Negroes as a “nonfiction novel”. Thank you for sharing this assignment & helping me use it successfully!

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  4. Podcasting is an interesting media. I love the way it feels like a conversation, even if there is only one voice on the podcast. This sounds like a really fun project for our students. Do you think any of them will take up podcasting on their own? I have created podcasts a few times as response to an assignment and the professors I’ve submitted them to say they love it and they’ve not received one before.

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  5. As I was reading the text by the 12th Grader, I was thinking about ways we can start fourth graders of using this kind of platform, to share their learning. The eloquence of the student is quite impressive. thanks for sharing this possible medium with us.

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