Trina Deboree
Teaching and Learning


Finding methods to engage our students or our audience can be difficult. Podcasting has been a powerful way in which to inspire learners, as well as make connections with my listeners. I hope that you will consider giving podcasting a chance. You will be amazed at the transformation in unity you will witness.

3 Ways to Increase Engagement in the Classroom with Podcasting

If you have been following along on my series on podcasting, you will know that I think podcasting can be a game changer in the classroom. If you haven't, no hard feelings! You can always catch up.

In my post titled 3 Powerful Reasons Why Teachers Should Be Podcasting, I talked about how podcasting can give students a voice, utilize technology they are already using, and motivate and inspire students to fall in love with learning.

I also talked about where to start in Podcasting for Teachers: Where Do I Start? This post gives you some basics on where you can begin in the world of podcasting.

Podcasting for Teachers: What is the Benefit? Shares the idea that podcasting gives students access to information 24 hours a day. There is also research that suggests people, including children, will listen longer than they will read.

Now that you are caught up a bit, let's discuss the ways that podcasting can be used to engage students in the classroom. Getting students to participate can be difficult at times. Teachers are continually competing with the fast pace of video games and instant gratification that exists in our world today. That's why podcasting can be such a useful tool to grab students attention.

3 Ways to Increase Engagement in the Classroom with Podcasting

3 Ways to Increase Engagement in the Classroom with Podcasting

1 Podcasting Creates Situational Interest

As you begin to build podcasting into your classroom community, it can be used for many different objectives. You may utilize podcasting as a way for students to report on something they have learned. Podcasting gives students the opportunity to use different formats to share what they know. You may also choose to use podcasting as a way in which to tell stories, share weekly happenings in the room, or to allow each student to be spotlighted for success or a challenge they overcame. The choices are endless.

According to Dr. Marzono author of The Highly Engaged Classroom, situational interest increases the likelihood of engaging students to the learning content. If questioning is considered a catalyst for situational interest, why not utilize podcasting as the medium for which to answer the question?

Specifically, it makes intuitive sense that when a student is answering a question, his or her working memory is fully attentive to the task at hand. Students’ attention to questions is most likely due to the fact that a question, by definition, presents missing information. To this extent, questions are like games. Indeed, many games rely on questions. In the context of the classroom, questions can generate mild pressure that helps stimulate attention (Marzano pp. 11–12).

2. Encompasses An Acceptance for All Students

There are many roles needed to produce a podcast. There is the speaker/s, the information retriever, the technical person, the editor, and the overall team leader of the project. The variety of roles gives options for including all types of learners and is inclusive for all skill levels.

When students sense they are welcome, accepted, and included in classroom projects, they tend to engage in the content entirely. So it is vital to set up podcasting teams that include all students. This is another opportunity for students to learn how to function within a team, which is a necessary life skill.

3 Provides Choice

Research has shown that giving choices to students of all age levels often increases their intrinsic motivation. Choice in the classroom has also been linked to increases in student effort, task performance, and subsequent learning. However, to reap these benefits, a teacher should create choices that are robust enough for students to feel that their decision has an impact on their learning. In order to incorporate choice into the classroom, we recommend teachers provide choice to students in four ways: (1) choice of tasks, (2) choice of reporting formats, (3) choice of learning goals, and (4) choice of behaviors (Marzano, pp. 14, 101).

The choice of roles, choice of format- solo, interview, or storytelling, and choice of topics provides the necessary option for students to be fully engaged in podcasting.

The advantages of podcasting really are limitless. Therefore I believe that incorporating podcasting into the classroom can change the learning outcomes. It can increase engagement as well as offer a variety of choices to the learner.

Need some show options? Check out this list of top 10 podcasts for kids on iTunes.

Until next time,

Happy Teaching and Learning!