Melissa Giddins

Exploring technology and literacy in education.

Podcasting Part Two

I created some podcasts on essay writing in 2008 and have made them available to students at two different schools now but had not really done anything more since then. I wrote a post about those podcasts last year: Recently, I find myself teaching essay writing again and realised that when a student is absent from the lesson where you explain the basics, it really impacts on their learning. As such, I once again started creating podcasts.

I use Audacity to create podcasts as it is easy to use and has options to add other layers such as background music. You can download Audacity for free:

I recently created podcasts on:

  • Planning an Essay Step 1: Part 1: Analysing the Rubric
  • Planning an Essay Step 1: Part 2: Analysing the Question
  • Planning an Essay Step 2: Creating a Thesis

I intend to complete the “Planning an Essay” series with Step 3: Points of argument. Hopefully I will have time to do this soon as I am currently in the midst of the essay writing teaching. I am also looking at a podcast on how to argue conceptually and how to come up with the concepts to argue in the first place, also perhaps one explaining the principles of supporting evidence for your argument. So many ideas, so little time!

Two important recommendations if you are thinking of podcasting: 

  1. Write a script first and read off the script. It makes for a much better flow and a smoother listening experience for your audience.
  2. If the podcast is for students – keep it short. Three to six minutes is about right for their attention span, up to about 10 – 12 minutes as the absolute maximum.

The advent of Moodle as a VLE (virtual learning environment) at my school has created a space where the podcasts can be made available to students, making the whole process considerably easier than in the past. (Had tried leaving them on a shared drive on the school server, providing them to students on a USB drive – all fairly clunky processes that were not overly successful.)

I have an Essay Writing Help topic now on my Year 11 Moodle page and have been able to upload examples, models, interactive writing websites and my podcasts. The feedback from this class of students has indicated that the Essay Writing Help topic and my podcasts have made a big difference in their understanding of essay writing. Particularly, because they can hear the information from me in class, then go home and listen to it again when they are needing the information revised, usually right before writing an essay. Also, those students who miss a lesson due to illness, sporting commitments, excursions, etc are then able to catch up on the information through the podcasts.

Once again, I am reminded of the benefit of podcasts and will continue to utilise them throughout this year, seeking feedback from the students, and will no doubt have learned much more from the process by the end of the year. I may even be able to create a podcast about something else other than essay writing if I can ever finish that series!


May 15, 2010 - Posted by | podcasting | ,

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