Podcast Vocabulary!

Today I will begin a two part series on ways to enhance studying through various free and practical online resources.

As most of us learn throughout our educational studies, no two students learn in the same fashion. Therefore, we are constantly summoned to differentiate our instruction. It is has become the most important component of any lesson plan in education today. Some of our students learn better visually; some have superb auditory functionality. So why not combine the two and utilize it in your classroom.

Here’s one way to do differentiate your instruction and incorporate a practical use of technology.


You begin your new vocabulary unit on Monday, with a looming quiz on Friday. You spend some time going over the list of twenty words and definitions in class, allotting time for definitions, context clues and usage. For homework you ask students to make flash cards for Friday’s quiz.

Same Scenario; Different Process

You begin your new vocabulary unit on Friday after the quiz, with a looming quiz the following Friday. Your students align with their assigned weekly vocabulary partner. They discuss the word together and develop a script. The students obtain a laptop from the COW (Computers on Wheels) and a microphone and begin recording. Students utilize the free Audacity program and create a 30 second public service announcement or commercial for the word they are assigned. Their script must include:

  1. The correct pronunciation of the word.
  2. The part of speech
  3. The definition of the word consistent with the part of speech
  4. Correct usage of the word in your commercial or PSA.

An example script may look like this for the word “Glean

Joe: This spring, students take to coffee shops around college campuses to glean information from their semester notes. Yes folks you’ll want to stay home, it’s college exam season.

Mary: That’s correct Joe, college students around the country are racing to gather information, bit by bit in order to pass their final exams. Citizens of these communities are being asked by officials to stay at home while over caffeinated college students run ramped.

Joe: Thanks Mary, for that riveting information! Now on to sports.

That is just one example of what your students could write, record and distribute to your class. It brings vocabulary to life and allows students to understand and use the word beyond memorizing the definition. Audacity files can be saved to your wiki or class moodle and it would even allow students to upload to their iPod.

This lesson is not to take the place of studying vocabulary, but it should enhance the process and for some, help understand the words better. You can also assign your students to simply record the word, definitions and part of speech to serve as a supplemental audio study guide for vocabulary.

With the audacity program, teachers and students in all disciplines can enhance the audible capabilities in the classroom. This program can be used as a study guide tool in various disciplines.

I look forward to hearing how you have used audacity or similar programs in your classroom!