Resources: How to Create Podcasts with Your Students
Consider creating podcasts in your classroom to engage your students and foster multiple literacies. Help your students record essays, poems, or other reactions to one or more artworks in the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collections. We welcome submissions from students of all grades.
Before you begin, please review these important criteria for posting on the American Art Museum's web site:
- Audio should be recorded in mp3 format.
- The audio must be intelligible; that is, listeners must be able to understand what is being said.
- No profanity or inflammatory language is permitted.
- Subject of the audio must include an artwork from the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
- If the audio accompanies a video, the images used must be discernable and relate to the audio.
- The submission cannot violate the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), especially the provision banning use of a student's last name.
- Do not use of copyright protected material, such as music or video.
- Avoid reference to commercial or trademark-protected products.
- Each project may have age appropriate content criteria and may have additional production quality criteria specific to the project.
- Podcasting encourages students to make connections between American art and their humanities curricula.
- Podcasting fosters:
- Conventional literacy, such as reading, writing, and speaking
- Visual literacy
- New literacies including media literacy
- Podcasting strengthens students' research, writing, and revision skills.
- Podcasting taps into higher order thinking skills including evaluation, analysis, and creation.
- Podcasting engages students in the process of developing and refining their voice.
- Podcasting supports the goals of developing original and creative content, publishing work, and contributing to the larger conversation about artwork.
"I would like to say thank you for allowing our students to participate in such an educational and engaging experience. Throughout this process, I was able to observe my students developing a willingness to write, revising their ideas with elaboration, and demonstrating their best effort." -6th grade special education teacher
Designing Your Project
Whether you are teaching art, social studies, writing, or another subject, here are some recommended steps:
- Choose a topic you would like your students to explore through an artwork. Students can select works from the American Art Museum through our Search Collections page.
- Create a rubric to measure students' success. For tips on writing and recording a successful podcast, we recommend this pre-lesson. You can also review our entire collection of student podcasts to find a model that works for you.
- Instruct students to record their podcasts using a tool you have selected, or invite them to choose from a range of tools. You can use a variety of recording devices and audio software, from the internal microphone and sound recorder that come with a computer, to a more advanced recording and editing program. Examples of the latter include GarageBand (available on most Macs), Audacity (a free download), and VoiceThread.com (free, but with a cost to export podcasts so double-check whether or not your school has a subscription).
- Identify podcasts that meet your criteria and our guidelines. Email them to American Art [AmericanArtEducation@si.edu] to be polished and posted on the web site. If you send audio files, we will add the artwork. Please include the following information:
- School name
- City and state
- Student name (first name, last initial)
- Grade level
- Subject area (e.g. language arts)
- Artwork title and artist
If your students are new to podcasting, we suggest using this activity to prepare them for your project:
- Give each student a copy of our Ten Podcast Ingredients handout and review the list as a group.
- Play an example of a student podcast for the class. You can select an example from the recommendations below or from the Museum's Student Podcasting page.
- Play the same example a second time and ask students to listen for the Ten Podcast Ingredients. Which ingredients can be identified? What did the student do well? Select additional examples to analyze for variety, so students can hear how each student's personal "voice" helps to create diverse podcasting projects.
Elementary School Language Arts
Podcast by: Joseph G (m4v)
Middle School Social Studies
Washington Resigning His Commission
Podcast by: Charlie W (m4v)
Middle School Language Arts
John Mix Stanley
Buffalo Hunt on the Southwestern Prairies
Podcast by: Mackenzie F (m4v)
High School Art History
Podcast by: Cassie M (m4v)
Want to learn more about podcasting with your students?
Hands-on podcasting experiences are offered during the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institutes at American Art. Attend a week-long institute in the nation's capital and join colleagues from across the country for an exciting exploration of the connections among art, technology, and your curricula.
To find out more about how Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute alumni integrate podcasting into their curricula, read this article by Florida high school teacher Phyllis Merrill.
"I had my students use podcasting to record and play back their essays so they could listen for errors in their writing. As they listened, I watched them correct their word usage, sentence structure, and organization of ideas. My students agreed that by hearing their compositions, they could take notice of errors in need of correction and identify areas in need of strengthening. They all look forward to repeating this experience as we proceed through the year." -Phyllis Merrill, high school English teacher and Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute alumna