Description: The purpose of this study was to see how students used podcasts in an eighth-grade American history unit and the value they placed on them as an educational tool. The 6-week study was conducted in a suburban middle school in a district that is part of a large metropolitan area in Texas. Participants included 29 students and 2 eighth-grade teachers. The research questions were the following: (1) How do students use podcasts in an eighth-grade American history class? (2) How do students perceive the impact of the podcasts on their overall learning of the subject material? and (3) Do the podcasts motivate the students to study? Quantitative data were collected through a Likert-scaled student survey and logs kept by students. Qualitative data were collected through an open-ended portion of the student survey, student focus group discussion, and a faculty interview. The treatment tools were audio podcasts in the form of vocabulary-quiz reviews, historical vignettes, lectures, and a unit test review—all on the topic of the American Revolution. The data indicated that the students primarily used their computers at home to listen to the podcasts as they prepared for quizzes and/or the unit test. The students believed that the podcasts had a positive impact upon their grade, were a positive educational tool, and helped them to better understand the material at hand. The students also wanted to see an expansion of podcast usage in other subjects. The students claimed that it motivated them to study and the participating teachers agreed that it motivated the students to study in a non-traditional manner. Data illustrated a need for further research regarding podcasting’s impact on grades and performance at the K-12 level, student podcast construction, podcast delivery modes, and podcast use with special education and ELL students.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Davis, Patrick D.