Using Podcasts to Develop a Global Perspective
put in a position to discuss multiple
views on an important global issue.
Serious global issues, such as terrorism, economic develop- ment, disease, famine, and
nuclear proliferation, face our planet.
Educators are responsible for not only
making students aware of global challenges but also teaching them about
the cultural diversity of our world. It is
essential that students learn to understand, respect, and even collaborate
with culturally diverse global populations if they are to find solutions to
At a science, technology, engineering, and math high school in Columbus, Ohio, we are using digital technologies such as podcasting to engage
students in learning about other
cultures. Podcasting not only allows
students the opportunity to interact
with digital technologies, it also allows
students to apply what they know and
reach a wider, even global audience.
Having an authentic audience via the
Internet motivates students and encourages them to appreciate culturally
president and environmental activist;
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president
of Iran; Rajendra Pachaur, chairman
of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change; Rex Tillerson, CEO
of Exxon Mobil; and Denis Avery, a
scientist and author who disputes the
claim that humans have caused global
warming. The students recorded their
findings in a research journal.
Researching Issues and Actors
In developing their podcasts, our
students were assigned the task of
moderating and recording a debate on
a global issue using a Meet the Press
format, in which personalities holding
different views exchange their ideas.
The first step was to research a global
issue from different perspectives.
For instance, one group chose to
research climate change and soon
discovered that different nations,
politicians, and even scientists have
varying views about this issue. Students researched the state policies of
China, Germany, Iran, and the United
States, as well as the individual perspectives of Al Gore, former U.S. vice
Using the Software
Students created effective and well-aligned scripts and then began recording debates. They rehearsed their
scripts first and recorded short sections at a time to minimize mistakes.
Students used Garage Band, an Apple
program, to record their scripts, but
Audacity is freely available for both
Mac and PC users.
After students completed their
scripts, they used the software in
postproduction to edit out mistakes
and incorporate enhancing features,
such as background music. They got
experience adjusting volume levels
and rearranging audio clips, and
even included commercial breaks.
For instance, the group that recorded
the script on climate change added
radio commercials for ecofriendly automobiles and light bulbs. When the
recording was finished, the audio was
converted into an MP3 file.
By Brad M. Maguth and Jeff Elliott
Writing a Script: The Need to Forecast
Podcasting involves a lot of planning,
researching, writing, and editing even
before students use the podcasting
software, so the use of these digital
technologies proved to be challenging and meaningful for them. After
the research phase, students predicted
how global experts and actors would
respond to the debate questions before
they tackled writing the script.
Students worked together to come
up with questions and predicted responses from the invited panelists.
For instance, the group working with
the global issue of climate change assigned students to play the roles of Hu
Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China; Ban-Ki-Moon,
secretary-general of the United Nations; Gore; Ahmadinejad; Tillerson;
and Avery. The actors drew on their
research to develop a response in line
with the views of their assigned personalities. In doing so, students were
Reach New Audiences
Showcasing students’ work on the
Internet was the final phase of the activity. They realized their work would
resonate outside of the walls of our
classroom. This was evident when one
of our 10th grade students turned to
one of his peers and said, “We need