Getting Creative with Writing Part 4: Podcasting

Writing can take many forms, especially in today's world of rapidly advancing technology and artistic expression. We asked English teacher Peter Kelly to share some different writing projects with us, the fourth of which is below. Get inspired by reading the rest of the series

If we are to create truly confident individuals, we must cultivate development in talking and listening skills. One way to instil confidence in young people and emphasise the role of spoken word as a text is to set podcast tasks, either to supplement or replace traditionally written pieces.

The options for this form of text are as wide as your imagination and could really take any shape from a news broadcast to a comedy sketch or a poetry slam (check out my other blog on staging a Word War in the classroom).

My S1 class recorded round-table discussions on a number of topics, my favourite being a debate over whether Skyfall was the best Bond movie. One member of the group chaired the discussion, asking higher order questions and controlling the conversation to ensure all members spoke. This was recorded unscripted, although pupils took notes (Question Time-style) while others spoke to ensure they were consistently relating their points to the arguments of others. Before long, the fact that this debate was being recorded was forgotten and a high-quality discursive text was being created in a format that could be assessed and shared online, where it would also be enjoyed by their parents.

The performance level noticeably increases when the (virtual) tape starts rolling and it can be genuinely thrilling to listen back to the great turns of phrase which appear off-the-cuff.

Another approach is to create an imaginative response to text to be shared as part of a class study of a novel or short story. I set my S3 class the task of writing dramatic monologues to reflect the feelings of the two intriguing characters in Haruki Murakami’s The Second Bakery Attack. These podcasts were a helpful revision tool as pupils could download and listen to them while they wrote their critical essay responses, deepening their analytical ideas and intensifying their engagement with the characters. 

Smartphone technology means that recording podcasts could not be easier – an iPhone has everything you need – and these can be uploaded straight onto a free platform such as Mixcloud or Soundcloud.

If you fancy making something more professional for very little money, you can purchase excellent USB mics such as the Blue Snowball for around £50, which can be plugged straight into a computer or even into an iPad with the addition of a Camera Connection Kit.

The performance level noticeably increases when the (virtual) tape starts rolling and it can be genuinely thrilling to listen back to the great turns of phrase which appear off-the-cuff. This form of text creation also levels the playing field for pupils with learning difficulties as it replaces barriers with bridges to successful communication.

We also have lots of other great blogs on creative writing to inspire you. 

Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly is a secondary English teacher based in South Lanarkshire, currently working on secondment as a Development Officer. Stay tuned for the next blog in his Getting Creative with Writing series!