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110. CASE STUDY: Podcast as Summative Assessment

by Lindsay Lyons
April 11th 2023
In today's solo episode, Lindsay is sharing a case study she did with students in 2 sessions to have the podcast serve... More
Educational justice coach, Lindsay Lyons, and here on the time for teacher podcast, we learn how to inspire educational innovation for racial and gender justice design curricula grounded in student voice and build capacity for shared leadership. I'm a former teacher leader turned instructional coach. I'm striving to live a life full of learning, running, baking, traveling, and parenting because we can be rockstar educators and be full human beings if you're a principal assistant superintendent, curriculum director, instructional coach or teacher who enjoys nerdy out about co creating curriculum with students. I made this show for you. Here we go. Hey, everybody and welcome to episode 110. In this episode, we are doing a case study where we're thinking about podcasts as summit of assessments and for the case, I'm actually using a conference that I use. I had 2 60 minute sessions with different groups of students and treated it almost as if it were a class where we were actually doing a podcast in that class period, just the 60 minutes. So I'm gonna walk you through what that was and then I'm gonna give you some tips for what this would look like.

As a leader, thinking about inspiring your teachers to do this as a sub of assessment, to give students some more choice and voice in terms of what they are talking about, how they're conveying their message to a wider audience beyond the teacher, beyond the classroom walls. Here we go. OK. So let's start with the why, why would you do a podcast as a summit of assessment? So project based learning research, student voice research, let's kind of hit both of those pieces PB L classrooms have higher student engagement. They have higher senses of student motivation to learn student independence and attendance is better compared to traditional classrooms that are not using a PB L but more of a lecture and then test for S A a kind of approach. Students using PB L understand the content on a deeper level and they retain the content longer, which also means that they perform better on high stakes tests. So not about teaching them to test personally. But if this is a reality in our lives, we don't have to sacrifice the test scores, we just teach PB L and then everything is better, right? So that is I think a part of the why this approach is really great.

Another element of this is student voice with student voice. Research has found students who engage in leadership activities or student voice activities where they get to use their voices in a meaningful way in a way that expands the possibilities right in and puts them in the kind of driver seat of change enables them to be a change agent. That kind of leadership activity. Students have demonstrated improved peer and adult relationships, which is critical when students are feeling very low senses of belonging, completely lowered post pandemic or during the pandemic as well. Um but it was low even before that positive self regard, feelings of competence, student engagement, academic performance, all of these things are increasing when we offer students more authentic voice, an opportunity to change what should be changed. And so when we're thinking about this podcast as Summit of Assessment, we're thinking about again, that civics mindedness that activist project, how can we enable students to take what they learned in the unit and put it into a project that actually makes a difference that calls for change in their communities, whether hyper locally, right in their classrooms, in their schools, in their neighborhoods or even more broadly in their cities in their states and nationally globally.

So thinking about these pieces also, I I wanted to bring in Feldman and Cade. I need to learn how to say this person's name. I'm so sorry. Uh They talk about cascading vita vitality, which is where students are able to inspire and really support others to see themselves as leaders if they are experiencing structural political or social marginalization. So students who typically don't see themselves or people in their group in the school or in the larger community as being able to lead in this way. If a member from their community, their identity, someone they connect to is in a position where they are having this leadership role, enacting change, seeing results, seeing adults listen to them and take action as a result of what they are calling for that vitality that the student leader experiences actually cascades to the rest of the community and people who identify with that student who is in the leadership role. So it actually expands even beyond the students who might be in the class where you're doing podcast assum of assessment, but to that student's friend group or even just people who identify with that student and may not even be connected to that student.

So really, really cool research based possibilities here in terms of improvement in the overall student experience and learning um in, in your school or district. So I wanna talk about now like, what does this actually look like? So if you are listening at the leader and you're thinking, wow, this would be cool. I'm not sure that teachers would go for this or maybe my teachers would be really excited about this but may not be sure how viable it is or what kind of shift that they would need to make in their class based on, you know, what they, how they do things now, that kind of thing. I think multiple things that you can do to or multiple ways that you can help them see the possibilities whether that is a teacher who might be like, uh I don't know about this and for the teacher who's like, yeah, but I don't know how right. Those are two different groups. Typically you can achieve kind of both of those goals or meet the teachers where they're at in both of those scenarios. If you were to do this as a staff P D, this is going to be one of the most helpful staff P DS aside from maybe like AAA protocol that you could use every week.

But giving teachers the opportunity to experience something as a learner like as kind of the student hat is put on their head, they are engaging as a learner. So they're experiencing the possibility of what their students could feel if they were able to enact something like this as a project. I think that would be awesome. And this is great agnostic. You might need to scaffold a little bit more for younger students, but this is also subject agnostic or content, agnostic, meaning anyone can do this, right? The art teacher can do this, the pe teacher can do this, the E L A teacher can do this, the math teacher can do this, right? Everyone can do this. And so if you did a whole staff meeting, this would be really awesome because it is leverage and usable in all content areas no matter what you teach. Also a huge piece of this too, I think is to involve pair professionals if you're not already in your staff meetings, enabling them to see the the viability or the possibilities with this kind of tool and equipping them with the skills of how to actually create with this tool. Just as you are with the teachers, really ensure is that this project is going to be even more successful for the students who rely on those paraprofessionals for support and honestly, paraprofessionals support the entire class community, not just the student that they are attached to.

Um typically, right, in my experience, that's been the case. So let's really leverage paraprofessionals, wisdom and expertise and just amazingness, right, for what we can do in our classrooms, especially when we're taking on this new challenge and we might be a little nervous about it. So do a staff P D where you do this. Now, what could this look like if you have a 60 minute staff P D? Well, I will share with you a little bit about what I did in my 60 minute workshop session with students and adults. Also, I'm going to link the slide deck that I used for that session as the freebie for this episode. So make sure that you grab that. That's going to be at Lindsay Beth Lions dot com slash blog slash 110. That's for episode 1 10, Lindsay, Beth lions dot com slash blog slash 110. All right. Here's how I would do this. I would offer the prompt for your teachers. What needs to change, to make the world or your community more just like what should be changed? What's the change you want to see in your community or they can choose to answer one or both questions or what perspectives, experiences, topics?

Does your community need to hear? Right. So what are some underrepresented topics, perspectives, voices like what does the world need to hear? So, basically helping them to think about, if you had a podcast or you were tasked with making a podcast episode, what would it be about? What would your topic be? Whose voice would you elevate? Would it be your own story you wanna share? Would it be someone else in your community? Would it be someone outside of your community that you want your community to hear from or hear about? So, thinking about that and then thinking about what is the format that would take, would you do an interview style podcast? Would you just kind of think to yourself and, and do like a reflection? Would you have a little bit of funny banter where you have a colleague come in and you guys are doing a reflection on current events or on what happened in your community this week? Something like that. And then I ideally given the short time frame, if you only have 60 minutes for the session. I would have people break up. You could do it by department teams, grade teams. You could also do it just by topic area and interest. That's what I did for the conference session and have people within each group define a role that they want to take on.

So some people absolutely hate being on camera. Luckily this is not video. I used to do documentaries with my students and that was an added kind of barrier for voice when someone didn't want to be on camera, this kind of lessens out a little bit, but some people still don't like listening to their voice and that can be hard. So not every, every student or in this case, not every teacher needs to actually be in front of the mic needs to actually record their voice. Sometimes what you'll find is people will get more comfortable with the idea once you start recording and then they'll want to jump in. Totally cool. But from the get go, you don't have to say everyone has to participate in that way. So what I would do is have every group member choose a role that they want to have. So this may be that if you have participants edits, you may say you're gonna kind of frame out the episode and you're gonna edit it all together, you're gonna kind of be even if you're the one taking on the editing and kind of pulling it up together or you don't even do editing with the teachers just think about like what it would look like to edit. OK. This is gonna be our opening, this is gonna be the middle section. We're gonna pull in this kind of quote unquote, bro.

I don't know if it's called, bro. I don't know if that's just documentaries or if this podcast as well, but you know, the background noise, it's kind of creating the vibe or someone's going to create the, the music. So maybe someone is responsible for doing the intro outro music, um someone might be the interviewer, so they want to ask the questions, they don't want to answer the questions, someone might be the narrator. So if you take a particular format where you're telling a story, you might insert different interviews with people. Um and someone is kind of connecting those dots or bringing us along the journey, you might have someone who is the researcher. So you learn something from an interview where you have someone kind of talking about a current event. So if someone's gonna bring in the factual information they found online and cite it do all the things that could be another role. So have the group choose their format and the role and of course, the topic which you kind of came up with or they came up with when they were answering those prompts, what needs to change and what perspectives, experiences or topics need to be elevated. So you have your topic, you have your format, each person has a role and then you just let them go say use your phone, use the audio notes app or you can even use video and then we'll just take the video part out whatever you want.

But you're gonna use your phone, a device you likely already have each person has in their hands. So we're not gonna use any fancy equipment. Go record, take 15, 20 minutes, scope it all out record what you want. It could be a three minute clip totally fine for this, this conference that he did. And you'll hear this actually, by the time this airs, you will be able to go back and listen if you missed it previously to the student's actual podcast that they came up with and they created in that actual 60 minute session. So some of the clips you'll see some groups recorded three minutes of content and other groups recorded like 20 minutes, I think one was 20 minutes long. So there is a range that you might have. Then you were going to bring everyone together at the end and ask them to reflect on what the process was like. So with teachers, you might ask them, what was the experience like to do this same question you would probably ask students but then also put on that teacher, how, how might you do this with students? What potential challenges that you face. How might you address those? What's really cool about this? And you're excited for your students to experience. Is there an upcoming unit where you could actually do this?

What lesson would you introduce this concept? Those kinds of process questions are helpful too. So what I love about the very end of this is that not only are you asking them to reflect, you're asking them to play a little bit of a clip. So if you have a Mac, they record it on an iphone, you can use something like airdrop really fast. So as you're presenting, you just kind of play a piece of the clip as it comes up as they drop it to you, you could also set up a Google drive folder and no matter where they recorded it or what type of computer you have, they're kind of like dropping it in there. So have those both as options. That's what you did in the conference seemed to work very well. That is how I would run the staff meeting. And then at the end of course, maybe as an exit ticket or kind of part of that reflection, thinking about how might we embed this and have a few volunteers who, who are ready to go, ready to try this out in, you know, the next couple of weeks in the next unit, whatever and see, you know, if other people want to come into the class, see if that teacher is OK letting people come in so you can all learn together. It's not gonna be perfect. It's the first time that it was tried, but just try to learn together and have that spirit of like we are going to take an informed risk here.

Feels a little daring, feels a little daunting, but we know that this could be really exciting and powerful for students. Your students may end up disliking the podcast genre and you could easily pivot to some other form of something, right? Like a documentary, like a uh slam poet experience, right? You could switch up what the actual project is, but the process of poking teachers into the possibility of doing this with their students as a summit of assessment, maybe even helping them, you might do a part two to the staff workshop, thinking through what would it look like to assess this? How do your standards still get to be assessed during something like this? This is the cool stuff, right? This is the cool stuff that you're like. This is why I got into education. I am all in it for the student excitement, enjoyment, big learning opportunities. So this is how I would frame it. Now, when we think about the pieces for uh a teacher and how they might kind of break this down. How might you have a conversation with them and maybe a coaching conversation preparing for something like this. I would suggest using podcasts as like the texts, I often call them texts, could be written, text, could be videos, could be audio files, could be images, right?

Any text we use where we're taking information from that text is a text. So in your lessons, when you're introducing a text or new information, use podcasts as one of those ways students get information, then you are able to debrief the content as you're teaching it, right? What content did you get? What did you learn content wise from this podcast? And then you also have an ability to ask them either in the moment or reflecting maybe after a week or two, where you've listened to many podcasts. What are the different formats? What did you like about how that interviewer asks that question? What did you like about this person's hook? Right. How did they wrap up that episode? How might you take all of these ideas and put it into your podcast? So there's a lot of opportunity there just by using it as a text type, students are then familiar with a range of types of podcasts. If you choose from a range of types of podcasts that they can then pull on and draw from, to create their own. I also would offer a very simple, just as I described for your, your staff meeting, a very simple framing or guidance for recording.

Everyone choose a topic, a format and each individual take on a role, go record, right? So it's going to be that simple. Give them a very simple task with a very simple, you know, audio device. Do you have a computer that they're working with an ipad? Our students using their phones, if they're allowed to use their phones, give everyone an opportunity to use a device they're familiar with and is part of your classroom routine already. I wouldn't go ahead and start with introducing the podcast mic or anything like that. Then I would say if you're doing editing with them, give access to very simple editing tools. They might already be familiar with imovie. You might want to provide maybe a five minute tutorial of you going through it or something you find online, maybe have a student who is really excited about it. Take on that role, not all the students have to edit it, maybe they can come up conceptually with where things should go together, but then one person puts it together or you can ask, you can edit it and ask them, where does this piece go? Right. And just label part one part two, part three for me or something like that. Finally, as a teacher, and you can also do this with your staff too, but think about where you're going to publish this.

You might want to create a class podcast that actually gets published or you might want to find, for example, NPR'S podcast competition, an opportunity to submit the student podcast for publication, right. So some other place that it can be published and reach an audience beyond the teacher in the classroom. So those are all things that I would, would suggest. Another tip actually is if I were teaching in this way where so I didn't find out about podcast until after I left the classroom, I used to do documentaries which were much more of a heavy lift. But something that you can do with podcasts is you can have them instead of exit tickets or maybe in connection with exit tickets that they are maybe writing at the end of each class, have them record themselves, reading the exit ticket at the end of each class. Then by the end of three weeks, you have 15 little 32nd audio things where they're pulling a piece of evidence together, right? Or creating a claim based on evidence depending on the age, you know that they are, you could have them already have all that recording.

And so you don't actually have to record too much more of just the synthesis of things that they learned throughout. So you could also leverage it that way if you don't want to do a ton of recording at the end, or you're thinking students might miss specific lessons and you really want them to capture all of it. That's another tip. Now, additional resources for you, I told you I'm going to link the uh conference slide deck. So I'm gonna link that you can grab that at the blog post for this episode which is gonna be in the show notes. You can also get embedded in the slide deck, the winners, the past winners of N Pr and Code switches student podcast competition. Those episodes are linked in there and I actually recommend specific like 30 to 62nd segments of a couple of them to play. As examples of students have never listened to a podcast or in the case of your staff meeting, teachers aren't unfamiliar with the podcast or unfamiliar with the possibility of student podcasts. You can play a couple of quick clips at the start to kind of frame what is possible before they get into their own. There's also a really good student podcast on inequity in sports.

It's actually co-produced by W N IC I think. So it's like highly like professionally produced. The other ones are very cool, but they're, they just have a different vibe because they are totally student created and they're not like co-produced by a huge organization also episode one oh seven of this podcast. So Lindsay beth lions dot com slash blog slash one oh seven is where you can actually hear the student podcasts that were created during those 60 minute sessions of the conference. So if you want to see what's possible, just with 60 seconds never met or 60 minutes never met the students before, totally introduced the whole podcasting thing to them and have them record and come up with all this stuff within the 60 minutes. You can see what is possible by listening to that episode. All right. That's it for me today. Please let me know how this goes. Which teachers are, you know, putting it into their classes, their units, which are using it as summit of assessments. Let me know, I cannot wait to hear. Have a wonderful day, everyone and I will see you next week.

If you're leaving this episode, wanting more, you're going to love my life coaching intensive curriculum, boot camp. I help one department or grade team create feminist anti racist curricula that challenges affirms and inspires all students. We weave current events into course content and amplify student voices which skyrockets engagement and academic achievement. It energizes educators feeling burns out and it's just two days. Plus you can reuse the same process any time you create a new unit which saves time and money. If you can't wait to bring this to your staff, I'm inviting you to sign up for a 20 minute call with me. Grab a spot on my calendar at w w w dot Lindsay beth lions dot com slash contact. Until next time leaders continue to think big act brave and be your best self. This podcast is a proud member of the Teach Better Podcast Network. Better today, better tomorrow and the podcast to get you there, explore more podcasts at teach better dot com slash podcasts and we'll see you at the next episode.

110. CASE STUDY: Podcast as Summative Assessment
110. CASE STUDY: Podcast as Summative Assessment
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