Thanks to all of the free technology out there, finding a way to communicate with students and parents has never been easier. Out of all the choices at our fingertips, though, one of our favorite ways to connect is through podcasting. Although we’ve talked a bit about podcasting before, we’d like to share three ways we’ve been using this tool in our own classrooms.
To prepare substitute teachers
When we hand over the reins to a substitute, most of us leave him or her the class materials and a set of written instructions. At a colleague’s suggestion, we’ve reduced our instructions to a bulleted list and started supplementing them with an audio podcast. Why? First, it’s a warmer way to greet substitutes; it also gives them a better sense of our personalities; second, it’s usually easier to explain something verbally than it is to write it all out.
In addition to creating podcasts for our substitutes, we also create one for our students. In the student podcast, we offer reminders and final exhortations to behave and make us proud while we’re gone!
To connect with parents
Every Friday we used to send home classroom newsletters containing helpful reminders, updates about what we learned, and details about all the activities we engaged in throughout the week. While the newsletters weren’t big productions, they still took time—and we were never very confident that parents received them.
Unlike print newsletters, podcasts ensure that parents always receive updates. All we do is create one recording and send it out in a mass email to parents.
To answer this question: “So what did I miss yesterday?”
It’s a legitimate question, but one we get tired of answering—especially when we have to explain it a few times to the three or four students who missed class the day before. Podcasts address the “What did I miss yesterday?” question in one fell swoop. We create one podcast that details all of the day’s activities and email it to anyone who wasn’t in class.
If you’re interested in creating podcasts, but don’t know where to start—or which software you should choose—check out one of our recent posts here.