Podcasts in the Classroom – Yay or Nay?

June 24, 2014 — 2 Comments

I love the concept of flipped learning.  I am so hopeful that I will be able to implement this in my classroom at some point.  But as cool as I think the idea of flipped learning is, I have a lot of concerns related to the digital divide.  What if I am in a school where financial situations prevent access for many children?  What if my school doesn’t have the resources available to allow for this on a full-class scale?

These questions have been pressing on my mind for some time, but I have a little more hope now that flipped learning can be a reality for my future classroom.  This is all thanks to a podcast interview with Todd Nesloney on the Flipped Learning Channel on EdReach.us.  (I only listened – I did not watch the video version.)

Mr. Nesloney successfully implemented flipped learning in his 5th grade math classroom (my preferred grade) at a school in Texas.  What is great about Nesloney’s classroom as an example is that there is a significant socioeconomic impact on access to technology.  75% of his students did not have access to the internet outside of school.  60% of his students received free or reduced lunch.  Because this is a population I am truly interested in working with, these factors spoke to me.

Nesloney had some fantastic and creative ways to overcome some of the issues associated with the digital divide that occurs as the result of economic factors.  He noticed that while many kids did not have wireless access, they did have access to a computer, so he burned copies of his videos onto DVDs for those students identified as not having wireless access. The most intriguing solution he had was providing access to the videos on multiple platforms.  He used YouTube, partly because kids are always on YouTube, but also to allow other educators access to his videos.  He also posted videos on Sophia Learning.  This is a great resource because it allowed him not only post the videos, but also any related documents for the kids to access as they viewed their video.

Nesloney believes in consequences, even when there are potentially valid reasons behind not having viewed assigned videos.  His theory is that in real life a kid will have consequences for missing work, and school is should be different, and you are never really too young to learn this tough lesson.  His main classroom rule is “No Excuses”.  Aptly, one of Nesloney’s solutions to the issue of access not only made sure that kids had access to his videos, but it supported these ideas of responsibility. This fascinating solution was his use of iTunesU.  Nesloney posted his lesson videos here under the premise that because many of his students had iTouch devices, they could use the wi-fi at school to download the video, and then still watch it at home.  In my opinion, this is an amazing and pragmatic solution.  The creativity and practicality behind it are inspiring and I hope I can achieve this.

I enjoyed my podcast, and I took a lot away from it, including bookmarking Todd’s website.  I look forward to reading his blog.  BUT….I am not 100% convinced I will use podcasts in my classroom.  I think the notion is great.  It allows for extra time spent on practical applications in the classroom, but I am not sure the audio only version would be the best solution for elementary education.  Maybe the enhanced version, that adds video or PowerPoint slides, but not likely only audio.

2 responses to Podcasts in the Classroom – Yay or Nay?


    I like your post, Alicia–

    I did not view this video in its entirety, but one thing you noted in your post, was that “Mr. [N.] believes in consequences. .. ” these kind of statements always makes me a bit nervous. This may be an okay philosophy in terms of long term projects, or repeated behavior problems but I think kids in 5th grade are under enough stress to succeed. I live in a neighborhood where the power goes out for three days at a time at least once a year. The last thing I need is my 5th grader coming home feeing pressure to watch a video, and we can’t access the Internet because of the power outage. (The power outages affects our local library as well,so he’d better not be telling me to go there for my Internet access). Teachers need to support kids in their learning and not shut them down due to blips on the radar screen.



    I agree – the potential for issues related to inability to access is huge. But he provides them with opportunities to view the videos in that classroom time before school actually starts, as well as after school. His implementation of consequences and managing the viewing is really not unrealistic at all.


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