Making your own podcast

There are so many ways for your students to show what they know, here is 72 of them. Podcasts are a medium that allows students to combine digital literacy and Language Arts with just about any subject, topic, story or idea. You may want to encourage your students to use podcasting to show their learning or as a way to dive deeper into a topic but don’t know which direction to send them in. As we all know, google can be a source of information overload, so I have compiled some of my own research into a short how-to post. Check out my tech inquiry partner Nat for the basic of microphones and recording and Erin for how to prepare for an interview. – Nick Youngson – CC BY SA 3.0

Step 1: Choose a format and a focus topic

Here are a few of the most common podcast formats:

  • Interview podcasts: These are podcasts with a one or two hosts who interview people.
  • Scripted non-fiction: These shows are mostly serial podcasts that have a single theme for a full season.
  • News recap: A podcast that recaps the news in a specific industry.
  • Educational podcasts: These are scripted non-fiction shows that focus on teaching their audience. Examples: Stuff You Should Know, Hidden Brain, and TED radio hour.
  • Scripted fiction: These podcasts are most similar to radio dramas and are often scripted and highly produced. Examples: Bubble by Maximum Fun, Limetown, and Everything Is Alive.

Podcasts are a great opportunity to get students communicating and collaborating so encourage them to work in pairs or small group. Roles can be assigned to group members like “tech specialist’ or ‘script editor’ but it is important that each member contributes to the research portion of developing the podcast, the ‘what’ of the show.

Step 2: Choosing a topic

We all have a story to tell or find. Narrowing down a topic for your podcast can be difficult, New York Public Radio has a some great resources on coming up with a story.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when coming up with a story:

  • what are you passionate about?
  • what do you have a unique perspective on?
  • is there a social problem you’d like to address in a story?
  • what stories and interview subjects do you have access to? 
  • what sides of a story are often ignored?
  • is there something that might surprise?
  • what’s at stake? what do people have to win or lose?
  • what is a story that people don’t know about, but should?
  • what is something you are very curious about and want to know more about? (ideally this is true for any story you tackle)

Once you have an idea of what you want your story to be about ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Who would you interview? * think about someone you have access to
  2. What do you want to find out? Where can you look? Teacher, parent, friend, internet, books etc.
  3. What is your unique perspective on this?

Step 3: Develop an outline

Pixabay -CC BY 2.0

For your podcast to sound organized and professional it is important to figure out what your going to say and come up with an outline for your recording . The best way to prevent rambling and dead air is to write a podcast outline. You don’t have to write out your podcast word for word but taking the time to write out a short outline will lead to a dramatic improvement in the quality of your episode. Encourage your students to listen to other podcasts and take notes to get ideas.

Here’s a sample outline to consider, via

  • Show intro (who you are, what you’re going to talk about): 30-60 seconds
  • Intro music (repeat for each show so listeners identify the jingle with your show): 30-60 seconds
  • Topic 1: 3 minutes
  • Topic 2: 3 minutes
  • Interlude (music or break): 30 seconds
  • Topic 3: 3 minutes
  • Topic 4: 3 minutes
  • Closing remarks (thank audience, thank guests, talk about the next show): 2 minutes
  • Closing music (suggest same as Intro music jingle): 2 minutes

Part 4: Keeping it to the point

Writing a script and keeping it short is a great way to get to the main ideas of your topic. After writing a portion read it over and get someone else to read it, then ask if there is any parts that are unnecessary and can be cut out. Overloading your script can take away from the important information your trying to relay.

Part 5: Setting the scene (helping your audience visualize)

Providing context and visual aids allows your listeners to visualize what you are talking about. Unlike online videos, 99 percent of podcast content is invisible, this requires your listeners to use their imagination to visualize the information. You don’t have to describe every detail just be aware that your listeners may need a little help to understand what you are talking about. Using just a few descriptors can set the scene for your listeners imagination.

Here is a great list of descriptive words.

Use sounds and music! This is a radio show after all. Adding something as simple as a few seconds of song can really spiff up your show.

Part 6: Get creative, have fun and think about what your audience will want to listen to

For a great episode on the making of Brains On and some great resources check out this link

Sketchnote and Twine Workshops

Our EDCI 336 class had another workshop with Rich McCue on Tuesday. This time Rich taught us about sketchnoting and the non-linear storytelling platform Twine.

Sketchnote is a form of note taking that uses visuals as well as words. The idea behind sketchnoting is that images tap into a part of your brain that would otherwise be disengaged during purely word for word note taking. A study completed by the University of Waterloo found that people were better able to recall information when it was combined with a symbol (word) and an image. Taking notes on a laptop, when combined with fluent keyboarding skills allows note-takers to document a lecture word for word, while taking notes with a pen and paper requires the note-taker to summarize the information. When summarizing information an image can be used as a memory hook that better enables the concept to be assigned to our long term memories.

Rich had us complete an Introduction to Sketchnoting Activity, where we started with basic drawings of nouns before moving on to images that represents concepts. Follow the activity above for some basic sketchnoting skills to produce your own sketchnote like mine below.

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Google images can be used as inspiration. Sketchnoting is fun, engages the whole mind and helps with concentration.

The 2nd part of Tuesdays class was spent working with an interactive, non-linear storyboard platform called Twine.

Twine is free and posts directly to HTML so you can create and publish virtually anywhere. It uses the basics of programming to build interactive stories which are very similar to a choose your own adventure game. Twine allows you to add sound and images to make your text based game even cooler! If you are interested in learning to code or develop your own game Twine is a great place to start. Check out the YouTube video below for a short Twin how-to.

Click here for Rich McCue’s Introduction to Twine that he developed to be shared!

A Deeper Look into 6 Native Plants: Part 2

All information from Nancy J Turners Sannich Ethnobotany

Wild Strawberry

James St. John – Wild Strawberry CC BY 2.0

Perennial herbs, Wild Strawberry Fragaria chiloensis grow in loose patches, spreading by long thin runners.The coarse green leaves are 3 parted and have jagged edges. Wild Strawberries bloom in April and May, bearing white five petaled flowers. Mature berries are bright red and delicious. Wild Strawberries are found throughout WSANEC territory. Any open habitat (except for bogs) can support wild strawberries. They flourish in areas that are burned intermittently.

Traditional uses: Unsurprisingly wild strawberries were a favorite fruit of the WSANEC people, they would regularly burn and clear brush from patches to increase yield. These berries were rarely ever dried because they are too juicy so are eaten fresh, making it a yearly treat. Christopher Paul said there is an excellent tea made out of the dried leaves.

There is a mountain on the Malahat Ridge named ‘like a strawberry face’ and according to Tim Montler, if you point at the mountain, showing it disrespect. the weather will change to rain. Manson Pelkey said that if you want to signal to that mountain you nod your head towards the mountain if you don’t want it to rain. Violet Williams, Elsie Claxton and their families used to go over to Orcas Island and the Mount Vernon area in Washington to pick cultivated strawberries.


Leslie SeatonThimbleberries – CC BY 2.0

A deciduous shrub with large maple-like leaves that cluster in dense patches. Thimble berries are closely related to raspberries and blackberries but have no thorns. The bark of the older stems is light brown and shredded and young shoots are fuzzy. The leaves are soft and a little fuzzy with long stalks and blades usually 15 – 20 cm across. The white flowers flowers bloom in late spring. The short thimble-shaped berries ripen throughout July and August depending on elevation.

Thimbleberry is widespread and common, growing in sites, often at the edge of woods, roadsides and shorelines. It can be found moist to dry sites from sea level to higher elevations.

Traditional use: Christopher Paul said that the sweet juicy edible stalks were harvested, peeled and eaten raw in the spring. They must be harvested before they turn woody, if you could snap the stalk off with your fingers it is just right. Violet Williams remembers eating these sprouts when she was a girl. The berries were picked wherever they were found, eaten fresh or boiled and pressed into cakes for winter. An effective medicine for diarrhoea and stomach aches, the brown leaves could be chewed or a tea made of the leaves, according to Violet Williams, Dave Elliot and Chris Paul.

Stinging Nettle

BrewBrooks – Urtica Dioica – CC BY SA 2.0

A herbaceous perennial, Stinging Nettle grows stalks up to 2 meters from branching rhizomes. Covered in fine stinging hairs, the nettle can often take over expansive areas. The leaves grow in opposite pairs along the stiff stem and are a triangular heart shape. The edges of the leaves are coarsely saw-toothed. The small greenish flowers grow in clusters that droop from the upper leaf nodes. The seeds ripen in midsummer. Stinging Nettle grows in wet meadows and open forests, along stream banks, avalanche track and roadsides from sub-alpine to sea level. The lagoon as Tsawout means “bite of Stinging Nettle” because of the stinging nettle patches around its edges.

Traditional use: The most important use for this plant was the use of fibrous stems for making twine, fishing line, fish nets, duck nets and deer nets. In October the stems were cut lengthwise with a bone knife and dried for five or six days outside, then dried further over a fire. Once they were dry the stems were peeled and the fibers combed out. The fibers were then spun on a bare thigh or with a spindle from Bigleaf Maple wood. The threads were then twisted into two and four ply twine which was used for tying and net construction. Christopher Paul said that fish nets were often dyed using Red Alder to make them invisible to fish.

Dave Elliot points out that the leaves were rubbed on the skin as a counter irritant for aches, rheumatism and bruises. While painful, this treatment eventually relieves aches.

According to Violet the roots were used as an ingedient in a medicine for sore throats. They were also used with Scouring Rush and Maple leaves to make a tea; the leaves would have had to have fallen on the bushes and not touched the ground.

The WSANEC people boiled and ate the young stems and leaves like many people do spinach but this may be a recent use learned from colonizers.

Minecraft Edu

Tuesdays class changed the way I see the integration of technology in the classroom. Heidi James, a teacher from Colquitz Middle brought in a group of middle schoolers to teach our cohort how to play Minecraft. If you have spent any time around kids in the past 5 years you have probably heard of it. A widely popular game, Minecraft is an “open world game that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem solving”. Those nouns probably sound pretty familiar if you’re a BC educator, that’s because they are some of the core competencies in the new BC curriculum! Heidi uses Minecraft Edu, which is a classroom friendly version of Minecraft with features that allow the teacher to manage learners within the game, build challenges and choose or create students ‘worlds’. The Education edition also provides a 10 module training course and lesson plans. Heidi showed our class how game based learning is a student centered approach that incorporates prescribed learning outcomes with 21st century skills.

Mike Prosser – A map of my minecraft world -CC BY SA 2.0

Minecraft is an immersive game which means that it is technology that attempts to recreate attributes of the physical world within a virtual world. A 3D block landscape where participants create and alter the ‘world’ they are dropped into. Players collect and re-purpose the 3D blocks, building shelters and crafting tools like a pick axe, that allow your avatar to mine for granite or the coveted obsidian. As well as building and mining, players can explore, gather resources , build communities and even learn to code.

I have always thought of video games as an isolating past time but when played in a classroom setting the game has the potential to increase social interactions. Players need to work together in order to ‘survive’ and end up communicating to their team mates beside them, face- to face, developing strategies or telling them where the ladder to the next floor is.

Having the Colquitz team facilitate a Minecraft how-to was a great example of how we as future educators can empower our students, work with their interests and help them become digitally literate citizens of the 21st century. What an exciting time to be an educator.

Podcasts for Teachers

Podcasts are a great way to develop your teaching practice for free. I downloaded the free app Podcast Addict from Google Play so that I can listen on the bus or while doing the dishes. The thing I love most about Podcasts is the ability to learn something new while doing those everyday chores. Something tedious becomes entertaining. Listen and develop your understanding of the world while you clean, cook, travel or relax. As a pre-service teacher I glean as many new bits of educational insights as I can and podcasts have become my main medium for expanding that knowledge base. Podcasts are made to be listened to, so in this post I will share some great shows that you can add to your own podcast playlist. I will go into depth with 3 shows but you can find a list of other great podcasts to make you a better teacher here and here.

The 3 shows that I have chosen are Five Moore Minutes, Moving at the Speed of Creativity and Learning Transforms. Programs focused on inclusion, digital literacy and educational research.

Max Pixel – Podcast – CC BY SA 2.0

Five Moore Minutes

The first show I listened to Five Moore Minutes was suggested to me by Nat, one of the other members of my Tech Inquiry group. Hosted by Shelley Moore @tweetsomemoore, this podcast is brimming with practical ways to make your classroom an inclusive space. Based out of Vancouver, Shelley created a website and videos dedicated to promoting learning for ALL students. As she says “Inclusive Education: it’s not more work, it’s different work”. As a Special Education Teacher she understands that teachers don’t always have a lot of time on their hands to watch or listen to the full 30 minutes episode so each video is split into 5 minute chunks and then expanded on in her podcast which includes interviews. Inclusion resources, research, inspiration and professional development activities all in one place!

Here is the Five Moore Minutes project’s video introduction

I listened to her first episode The Evolution of Inclusion, the script for each episode is available on her website for those that prefer to read, true inclusion! Shelley traveled to Prince Rupert, a school district that is an exemplar for inclusive education. This episode talks about integration vs inclusion, the necessity of creativity and collaboration in making inclusion possible and the excitement surrounding the new BC curriculum and the potential it holds to finally move our schools towards full inclusion even at the high school level.

There is no course in our program focused on Special Education so tuning in to podcasts like Five Moore Minutes can help future teachers to develop a better understanding of what inclusion looks like and how to make our future classrooms and school a truly inclusive place. As a member of the LGBTQ community Shelley is an advocate for safe spaces in all school and asks listeners to email her at with any questions regarding not only inclusion but the SOGI 123 initiative.

Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Dr. Wesley Fryer has been producing and hosting the podcast Moving at the Speed of Creativity since 2005. This show has been broadcasting Edtech know-how since the beginning, with 463 episodes in 14 years, the podcast focuses on providing guidance for teachers as they navigate the blending of the physical and digital classroom. The podcast focuses on educational technology and digital literacy in the classroom, but sometime includes episodes on history, science and math. @wfryer also produces a podcast called Fuel for Educational Change Agents that provides “lightly edited” audio recordings of workshops, conference presentations and key note speakers related to educational technology topics.

I listened to episode 459: Highlights from Ohio Educational Tech Conference which took place in Columbus between February 12-14th 2018. Follow @OETC19 for this years conference. This episode consists of 3 interviews from the conference, the first with high school students that have created interactive games using Scratch and Makey Makey. The second with Arthur Bodenschatz and his “mobile storyteller”RV interviews. The last interview is Arthur interviewing Wesley, which gives the listener a deeper understanding of Fryer’s personal aspirations and philosophies around the making of Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

In this episode Wesley curates a list of edtech tools for improving writing presented by @ericcurts. Here are Wesley’s conference notes for episode 459 (CC BY 3.0):

  1. Subscribe to Moving at the Speed of Creativity Podcasts
  2. Follow Wes Fryer on Twitter: @wfryer
  3. The EdTech Situation Room Podcast (@edtechSR)
  4. Eric Curts on Twitter: @ericcurts
  5. Generate random student writing prompts with emojis!” (using a Google Sheet and script) by @ericcurts
  6. Google Drawings for Graphic Organizers by @ericcurts
  7. Rhyme Finder Google Add-On via @ericcurts
  8. Read & Write for Google Chrome (extension and free/paid service)
  9. Language Tool Add-on for Google Chrome via @ericcurts
  10. Highlight The Music – Google Docs add-on via @ericcurts
  11. Writeful (Thesaurus Google Extension) via @ericcurts
  12. Addressing student cheating in Google Apps by @ericcurts
  13. Hour webinar by @ericcurts“Fantastic Feedback Tools for Google Docs”
  14. Sample comment banks for writing feedback by @timbowers33 via @ericcurts
  15. Recommended touch-screen enabled Chrome laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 11 via @ericcurts
  16. Playback a Google Doc’s revision history with the free extension “Draftback” via @ericcurts
  17. Create basic/simple student writing / project rubrics with WriQ Google Add-On via @ericcurts
  18. Create more customized writing project rubrics “Orange Slice Teacher Rubric Add-on for Docs” via @ericcurts
  19. Todd Beard on Twitter: @teacherbeard
  20. Video: OETC 2018: The Casady School- Dr Wesley Fryer
  21. Video: The Mobile Storyteller of North Canton City Schools, Ohio

Learning Transforms

Learning Transforms is a podcast from the Faculty of Education and Association of Graduate Education students (AGES) here at Uvic that brings in experts from our community to talk about topics like Indigenous Resurgence and Inclusive Education. The association strives to create community within the Faculty of Education and share research information within Uvic and beyond. The show which began in 2018 is hosted by Cortney Baldwin and Ted Riecken. Ted, a researcher and professor for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction has been a podcaster since the medium first took off in 2004 when he began creating his podcast Islandpodcasting . Cortney is a graduate student in Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies and is doing her research on reconciliation. Together they create informative podcasts about local, current research here at Uvic.

I listened to the Building a Trauma Informed Community episode with guest host Dr. Tim Black for free on Soundcloud, a great way to listen to just about any podcast without a monthly fee (if you want to be able to download and listen to episodes offline then you can pay $9.99 a month). Tim is an expert on trauma education and Associate Professor and Department Chair for Uvic Faculty of Education Psychology and Leadership Studies.

This episode investigates the many different ways that people experience trauma and the different forms that PTSD can take. The takeaway from this episode for teachers is the importance of your response to an individual sharing their traumatic experiences with you. Black recommends responding with “I’m so sorry that that happened to you” and then just BE QUIET but attentive. Social responses, though well meaning may have a negative effect on how that person heals from the traumatic experiences. As educators , fostering a kind and supportive classroom helps to build safe places for all students. Give the episode a listen for more aspects of a trauma informed community.