Today, we highlight an innovative podcasting lesson from Erik Eve’s (a Listenwise Teacher Advocate) 8th-grade social studies class in Lindenhurst, NY, featuring their explorations of historic Washington D.C sites and reflections on their field trip experience.

For this project, Erik used podcasting as a medium to inspire student engagement and deepen learning, with the only requirement being that his students record audio about one of the D.C sites they visited. This blog post showcases an example of how students, equipped with a smartphone-free voice recorder app, can deepen and document their learning experiences using the power of audio.

Setting up the Podcast Lesson

Erik’s field trip podcasting instructions were open-ended and allowed for a lot of student choice regarding who they worked with and what site they wanted to feature in their podcast. Students were given guiding questions to suggest a structure for the recording of factual information about the historic sites they were visiting, and for s their impressions of the experience. Students could reflect individually and/or interview other students about their reactions.

Listen to Erik Eve reflect on how his students responded to the assignment with excitement about collaborating and about exercising their creativity.  

Here are some sample guiding questions for the audio reflections & interviews:

Informational framing questions:

What is the historic site?  

When and why was it built?

What can visitors to the site expect to experience and/or learn?

Interview question ideas:

What is your impression of the site?

What’s one interesting thing you learned from your visit?

What would you recommend that other visitors make sure to notice?

Listen to Student Podcasts

Listen to hear some samples of students’ podcasts about the different Washington DC sites they visited, including Arlington Cemetery, Mt. Vernon, the Lincoln Memorial, Ford’s Theater, the U.S. Capitol, and the Vietnam Memorial:

Arlington Cemetery & Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

George Washington’s House in Mt Vernon

Ford’s Theater

The Peterson House – Where Abraham Lincoln Passed Away

The U.S. Capitol Building

Student Reflections & Podcasting Tips

Not only did the class podcast during the trip, but Erik went a step further and had his students grade themselves afterward and reflect on the podcasting project and process and the trip as a whole. Listen to some of these reflections below.

Brooke reflects on her learning experience and offers some future tips, one of which is to make the podcast while you are at the site:

Vanessa says she loved podcasting, and it helped her deepen her learning while on the field trip:

Lauren loved the collaborative aspect of podcasting and shared how it helped her to be  more attentive on the field trip:

Jessica enjoyed listening to the class podcasts after the field trip to hear the different perspectives of her classmates on the same trip experience:

Thank you to Erik and his students for sharing with us!

Looking for more podcasting ideas? Download our Teacher’s Guide to Podcasting. To listen to another one of Erik’s podcasting lessons (his first-ever classroom podcasting project) listen to episode 2 of the Student Podcast PODCAST.