This blog series is written by Julia Domenicucci, an editor at Macmillan Learning, in conjunction with Mignon Fogarty, better known as Grammar Girl.
Producing a podcast is just one way to explain a topic, make an argument, explore an idea, or convey any number of other ideas and subjects. This blog post explores an option for taking a podcast and turning it into another medium of the student’s choice: an essay, a photograph, a song, a video, etc. The remixing options are endless!
Podcasts are well-established, but their popularity seems to increase every day—and for good reason! They are engaging and creative, and they cover every topic imaginable. They are also great for the classroom: you can use them to maintain student engagement, accommodate different learning styles, and introduce multimodality.
LaunchPad and Achieve products include collections of assignable, ad-free Grammar Girl podcasts, which you can use to support your lessons. You can assign one (or all!) of these suggested podcasts for students to listen to before class. Each podcast also comes with a complete transcript, which is perfect for students who aren’t audio learners or otherwise prefer to read the content. To learn more about digital products and purchasing options, please visit Macmillan's English catalog or speak with your sales representative.
If you are using LaunchPad, refer to the unit “Grammar Girl Podcasts” for instructions on assigning podcasts. You can also find the same information on the support page "Assign Grammar Girl Podcasts."
Pre-Class Work: Ask your students to choose a podcast, or assign specific podcasts to your students. (Don’t forget, if you’re using an English Achieve copyright year 2021 or later, you are able to use a folder of suggested Grammar Girl podcasts in your course; please see “Using Suggested Grammar Girl Podcasts in Achieve for English Products” for more information!)
You may wish to use a longer podcast for this activity. Some longer podcasts include:
The Proto-Indo-European Language
Gender-Neutral Pronouns: Singular They
What Does It Mean to "Have the Receipts"?
American and Other Demonyms
When Is It OK to Be Redundant?
In Class: As a class, discuss the podcasts you’ve assigned or that students have chosen. Consider the following:
What is the audience?
Does the podcast make an argument or convey information?
Does it use any examples or stories to convey information?
Are any sources cited?
Then, each student should take 5-10 minutes to brainstorm how the podcast could be remixed into another format to express the same goal. How could this podcast be turned into: A lecture slide deck? A photograph? A poem? A text-based essay? A song or poem? A sculpture?
Ask students to consider if a different audience would impact the medium chosen to convey the information from the podcast.
Put students into small groups to discuss their brainstorms and develop any new ideas for 10 minutes. Then, ask students to choose an audience and a medium they would like to remix the chosen or assigned podcast into.
If you would like students to remix into the same medium, try a lecture slide deck or a poem.
Assignment: Ask students to implement their remix plan. Taking their audience and brainstorming, students should then remix the podcast content into a new form.
Ask students to directly submit their files (via email, a file upload feature, or any other method that works for you) or ask them to upload to Google Drive, create a shareable link, & share that link with you.
Reflection: Ask students to write 3-4 paragraphs discussing 1) why they made the remix choices they did, including their intended audience, and if their original plans changed over time, 2) what challenges they ran into, 3) what they would have liked to try but couldn’t due to time, technology, cost, or other restraints, 4) what they are most happy about in their final project.