Friday, July 27, 2007

Now this is interesting!

During the course of my research into the use of podcasting in Oral Language I put a similar question to two groups of people. Firstly I asked a cross section of teachers throughout New Zealand to identify the elements of oral language that they actively teach. Next I asked a class of 24 year 4,5 and 6 students who have been podcasting during 2007 to identify everything they think they learn when they are making a podcast. I have put the responses in a table separated into the strands of oral language identified in the New Zealand Oral Language Matrix.

(click the image to enlarge)

The students have identified all of the same elements as the teachers except for some skills of speaking and listening such as eye contact, turn taking, and body language, which are skills not used in podcasting. What is impressive about this comparison is the amount of metacognition students have about their learning in the strands of ‘ideas’ and ‘language’. The students identified that they were learning all of the elements that the teachers had identified as important and more. The students included using sound effects and music to enhance their message, and using them to suit the topic. They also mentioned using the right amount of humour which showed cognition of the importance of the information being presented and recognition of if humour would be appropriate or not. The students also identified additional learning when podcasting which impacted their reading, writing and use of technology:
  • Use music no one else has used (copyright issues)
  • Write a script
  • To get better at reading by reading your script
  • Using the equipment properly
  • Learn how to use computers, GarageBand program
These students have shown that through the use of podcasting they are aware of the elements of oral language that make a proficient speaker as well as an effective communicator. It would be interesting to ask a similar question, “What do you learn when you give a speech” to a class of students whose main form of oral language is speech making, to see if the same awareness of the elements of effective oral language is present, especially in the strands of ideas and language.


Allanah said...

That is a really useful matrix to have- some people evidently say that I spend too much time in my class room on ICT- more of this kind of research will hopefully show them that it is not just all play but meaningful learning in a real and engaging context.

Thank you for sharing it.


madmacnz said...

I'm following your posts about your research with great interest, Jane. Thank you for sharing this with us and keep sending along these gems.

I take your point, too, Allanah. Recently I was working with a group of Year 7-8 students on Podcasting, and one boy commented that it was all really hard work. I said to him that it was all a trick - they thought they were coming to work with ICT (that's what their teachers had told them), but I was actually working on developing and extending their oral language. He grinned at me. ;-)


John said...

The first time I asked children what they though they were learning from podcasting all the responses were about ict and computers. It took a while for them to realise it was more about language teamwork etc. I called this stealth learning the children do not realise that they are doing language work, they are having too much fun.

Clay Burell said...

This is valuable data, Jane! Have you thought about creating a wiki with links to student reflections from your own and other schools?

That would be an awesome quick-reference for people in need of data for the skeptics. I have published my own students' reflections about podcasting, as you know, but since you're researching it (hint hint) ;-)

Whatever the case, keep it up. It will be useful for me when school starts in a couple weeks - our first week as a 1:1 high school (Macs), with many teachers to try to pull into podcasting.

Jane Nicholls said...

Thanks for the comments guys. I was really excited when I collected this data, it is real proof of learning if students can verbalise what is going on. I like the 'stealth learning'concept and I think that is the winning factor with technology. It is also a way to shake up the classroom and do things in different ways to keep things interesting.

Clay I have been wondering how to distribute my research effectively when I finish my report. The finished document will be posted on line as a PDF but that is so 'un' web2. Maybe a Wiki would be a way to not only publish the findings but interact with others' findings as well.

Alandor said...


I am from the UK and am putting together ICT packages for schools in using amongst other things, podcasting. I am delighted to see the results of your questions, it is amazing how little is out there with student feedback on podcasting in the class. Or maybe I am looking in the wrong places! Anyway I will be sharing your findings with teachers as it makes a really good point and it is with the right age pupils too. Thanks

Catherine said...

Very useful and a real bonus to be able to cite this type of data when describing the benefits of podcasting.

Jane Nicholls said...

Hi Alandor
I agree with you, in my search for information on Podcasting in Education I have found lots of information on what podcasting is and how to do it but not much on why we should bother. If you do come across any I would love to see it, and if you want some international dialogue feel free to contact me.

Catherine, that's why I embarked on this project this year. I was telling people that podcasting was making a difference but could only base it on 'teachers' intuition'. It is great to have some hard data to show people.

tom said...

This is great. I think that, with a little effort, this kind of matrix can be converted into a rubric for assessing podcasting projects also, which would help make this kind of activity a more legitimate curriculum component.