50 ways to leave your students...buzzing

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Tips for raising the level of buzz in the classroom

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Audio and video has traditionally been used in distance education to support text –based resources. Podcasting is an extension of this and in the true definition means to broadcast information (subscribe via RSS so you get alerts about updates) rather than have to go to the media and download it.


Podcasting is the distribution of media files, such as audio and videos, over the Internet using a type of web feed. Listeners subscribe to the podcast web feed for automated download to mobile devices and personal computers. The benefit of a podcast web feed over a standard web feed is that once the user subscribes the feed their podcast reader will automatically download any new media that is offered by the distributor.

Uses for podcasting

  • Teachers record lectures and distribute the audio for listening to on portable digital audio players.
  • Students subscribe to a range of lectures they might otherwise not have been able to attend
  • Students record their own audio and make it available in a podcast for their peers and/or teacher's assessment
  • Students create a podcast for the subject they are studying

Sites with podcasts

How to create a podcast

There are four steps to create and distribute a podcast:

  1. Create and edit the audio - e.g. Audacity, Podomatic;
  2. Upload the audio to the web and enable subscribing - e.g. Our Media, or Blip.tv, Podomatic;
  3. Announce the audio and enable subscribing - e.g. Blogger.com, Wordpress, Podomatic;
  4. Subscribe for automatic download of the audio to a portable device or personal computer - e.g. Google reader, iGoogle, iTunes, Podomatic.

Quick and simple

A quick and simple way to get started it to use one of the podcasting sites such as Podomatic. You can record audio, store it and distribute it from this site.

Note: If you add an RSS feed to Blogger you can use a free service such as Feedburner to distribute your podcasts.

Podcasting resources

Recordings from the first workshop

The recording is in three parts:


  • Use examples from famous people - their "problems" or "successes".
  • Get them to draw on their own experiences.
  • Have at least one clear take home message for the lesson.
  • Hand the students the whiteboard pen and sit at the back of the class.
  • Always give a context.
  • Give them the why as well as the what.
  • Tap into creativity.
  • Record the session: Make sure the session is recorded in some way so students can review the material or activity after wards or catch up if they were unable to attend. For example, you can use:
    • Audio, video, notes posted on a Discussion Board or blog, voice over on a presentation etc.
  • Post the recording in an accessible place. For example, on a
    • course blog or wiki, Learning Management System (e.g. Blackboard or Moodle), Internet site, e.g. SlideShare, YouTube, Blip.tv, MyPlick, CDROM or DVD and lodge it at the library.
  • Collate web-based material: Use a social bookmarking site such as delicious.com to collect websites. Tag them with a label which the students can use to both find and add material. For example: teachOP is used to collate resources for this subject.
    • Explore how to use delicious for social bookmarking.
    • Partnering allows people to share their experiences and report back on other people's learning


• The power of a question: Pose a really good question that the students can ponder! Give them time to reflect on their answer and then ask them why?


  • Group activities where they work together to solve a problem, edit a piece of writing etc..
  • Brainstorm prior knowledge on the board as a group.
  • Get them to write down the brainstorm ideas from the whiteboard - good if teaching writing.
  • Round robin - teams race against each other for awards, e.g. bed making, catheter emptying.
  • Quiz teams - eight rounds (3 minutes per round) approximately five questions - includes multichoice, drug calculations, TV trivia (ER, Greys Anatomy). Have an overall team winner, spot prizes for great answers. Non-threatening, team skills, knowledge and challenge.
  • Problem solving exercises - give a group of 3-5 students some materials and set them a task that requires them to work together as a team and solve a complex problem (provide a range of material to help them do this) E.g. give each group an egg, the challenge is to throw it off the second story without it breaking.


  • Offer a choice of format for assessment.
  • Encourage learners to design assessment in collaboration with a facilitator.
  • Consider portfolio assessment (formative) so they have to address all of the material not just 51% to pass).


Celebrity Treasure Island - Hunt for a Prize

  • Imagine you are on Celebrity Treasure Island. You have a chance to win a prize and it has something to do with a celebrity of your choice.
  • You are about to get your heart's desire (swap houses with the celebrity, spend a week working alongside a political activist, earn their weekly salary....
  • You have to choose ONE way you can be given the instructions and clues to find the prize. You want to get there as quickly as possible. You ask for a(n):
  • diagrammatic map;
  • set of written instructions - step-by-step;
  • guide to take you there (the most expensive option);
  • group of people to help;
  • real person to explain;
  • video to watch;
  • audio recording;
  • solve a riddle.