A New Twist on an Old Tool
Podcasts with images and text—
enhanced podcasts—are effective and fun projects for the
classroom. By using a simple tool such
as PowerPoint, students of all ages can
develop their own enhanced podcasts
or videos of images and text for cell
phone viewing. One of the benefits
is that it allows students to use visual
and verbal cues to demonstrate their
understanding of the knowledge they
by inserting their pictures into different
PowerPoint slides, narrating the story,
and adding music or sound effects.
Social Studies Projects
Probably the most popular use of a
podcast is having students develop
radio broadcasts in which they “go
back in time” and cover many different
topics of a time period (
arts/entertain-ment, politics, culture, innovation, top
news stories, and so on). An enhanced
podcast turns the radio broadcast into
a simple and quick television show,
with images, charts/graphs, and text
included. With an enhanced podcast,
students add images and graphs of data
from interviews of people who have
lived through certain events in history.
In an enhanced podcast for biology
class, students create graphical images of scientific cycles (such as the
nutrient cycle or metamorphosis) in
a slideshow program and then narrate their understanding of how the
cycle works. Similarly, in a chemistry
class students create slides graphically
depicting a chemical reaction while
describing it. In an elementary classroom, students participating in a science fair take images of their science
project and give a brief audio description of its significance.
Instead of a simple audio poetry slam,
where students read and record their
own original work, with enhanced
cal art and images
that help depict
meaning in their
of using a more
complex video edi-
tor, students create
their own simple
Imagine asking students in a math
class to describe what is happening
in a mathematical equation and being able to represent that description
visually. In an enhanced math podcast
for an elementary classroom, students
insert or create their graphs and charts
while narrating their analysis of the
meaning of the graph.
Foreign Language Projects
Imagine being able to create a digital
“travel” postcard podcast with audio and images of a foreign country,
thus enhancing the text with speaking about the country in the foreign
language. Another project is to create “flashcard” podcasts. Younger
students create counting or alphabet
flashcards with narration and images
or text of what is being narrated, while
older students create flashcards based
on vocabulary lists for different units.
Podcasts with PowerPoint
The “make movie” option in PowerPoint is currently only available on
Macintosh versions of the software.
Schools with Windows versions of Microsoft Office can put together slides in
PowerPoint, but cannot do an export
as a Quick Time movie. One solution
is to use a free online video editing
resource such as Voicethread (http://
allows anyone to edit and store images,
record narration online, and then immediately publish to a Web site or blog.
The steps below will help you develop your own enhanced podcast with
1. Open PowerPoint and select
2. Create your presentation.
3. Using your computer’s microphone (Macintosh computers
have built-in microphones, and
some PCs do as well), record your
narrative for each slide by going
to Slide Show—Record Narration.
When you are done, make sure
4. The sound icons should appear
on each slide in your presentation. The sound should be set to
automatically play when you preview the slide show.
5. Now make a movie with your
PowerPoint. Go to File—Make
Movie (Mac-only option).
6. When the save menu appears,
save the movie to your desktop.
7. The podcast is done. It is now a
Quick Time movie file, which you
can convert to an iPod format or
the 3pg format for cell phones.
Go to Zamzar (http://www.
zamzar.com), a free conversion
Continued on page 34.
By Liz Kolb