Part of the underlying structure of the Common Core Standards is the intent to move students from the lower thinking skills to higher order thinking skills, or HOTS, at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy: analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Creating podcasts requires the use of all three of the HOTS. This process and the end result – the podcast itself – also fulfill one of the requirements of the Common Core Speaking and Listening skills. Here is the Grade 5 standard:
“SL.5.4. Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.”
To meet this standard, students must research and gather information, synthesize the information, and evaluate it. There are 49 billion pages of content available on the Internet today and thousands of new pages are created daily. By using the higher order thinking skills to research and create podcasts, students build competence in these critical 21st century skills.
As part of their effort to help their students develop higher order thinking skills using technology, Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, Virginia, purchased the Califone USB Jackbox (1216USB). The jackbox allows schools to tie together the different technologies such as computers, headphones and microphones that are required to create a podcast or video clips with voiceovers.
The first USB-compatible jackbox available on the market, the hardware not only helps students develop podcasts but also practice their language skills and discuss lessons with other students. In addition, the jackbox is the only unit that has microphone inputs. This means that up to 6 students at a time can be connected and work together.
Implementing the Common Core Standards does not mean that teachers must throw out the project-based lessons they have used in the past. It does mean that they will need to align those projects to the Common Core Standards.
Read the previous article in this series, “Transitioning to the Common Core Classroom“.