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Podcasting Project Lesson Plan

Daniel Altamirano Alonso ALAD Podcasting 4 EFL Teachers

1 Daniel Altamirano Alonso

Podcasting Project   Lesson  Plan     Description  of  the  project   Students in the Intermediate 6 class in Amadeus will produce a 3-series podcast as part of their final project for their Communication in Business class. After a group discussion, students decided that the topic of intercultural communication was both fascinating and relevant to their jobs. Amadeus is an IT company specialized in the tourism sector. With branches around the U.S. and Europe, Amadeus has a constant flux of information and person-to-person interactions with its customers and personnel. For this reason, my students often travel abroad to provide solutions and consultancy or attend simposia related to their field of work. Their constant interactions with people abroad have made them very conscious of the need of learning English and understanding the cultural similarities and differences of these people. They have noticed that if they are to be successful in accomplishing their work goals, they need to learn more about the ways of these people. Although they could read pertinent bibliography regarding the topic, it hardly assures us that they will find the time to look at the material. For this reason, the use of podcasts will provide them with an excellent opportunity to explore online resources, reflect on their own experiences and, in preparing material to share with others, foster a level of consciousness towards “the other.”

Objective Students will explore and expose some of the most relevant cultural differences between Americans and Mexicans by using three podcasts for their presentations.

The driving  question   What are the cultural differences between Americans and Mexicans?

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Procedure For this project, students will be grouped in threes. They will prepare three podcasts on the intercultural topic of differences between Americans and Mexicans. The first podcast will be audio only and students will discuss some of the most relevant things they have noticed in their experiences abroad. The second podcast will be a presentation based on the bibliography provided and using PowerPoint and Screencast-O-Matic to show their findings and conclusions. Finally, the third podcast will be a video where students will show some examples of differences between these two cultures. The particular requirements of each episode in the podcast are shown in the table below:


Maximum length





15 minutes



Students will use the format of a round table to present their points or individual participations as part of a radio show. Each student will have a maximum of 5 minutes to speak.


15 min



PowerPoint presentation using Screencast-O-Matic


15 min



Interview or documentary

Students can use Audacity to record their audio, PowerPoint and Screencast-O-Matic to make their presentations, but all of them will use PodOmatic to upload their podcasts.

Length of  project   This project spans over six weeks and will be carried out alongside the Business English course these students are taking. The detailed time alloted per activities is: 1 week for introduction of concepts, quiz and feedback 1 week for production and upload of first episode 2 weeks for production and upload of second episode 2 weeks for production and upload of third episode

Technical requirements   §

PC or laptop with Internet connection



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Activities Introduction  and  concept  feedback   Time:  1  week   1. Begin by brainstorming different nationalities and write them on the board. Then ask students to say what common stereotypes people have about some of these nationalities. Discuss the topic of stereotypes. Ask students to look up the word in their dictionaries. Ask students if stereotypes are true? Why do people make stereotypes about others? 2. Ask students to make groups of threes. Give each small group a copy of Hand-out 1 with an intercultural situation. Ask students to read it in their groups and discuss the question. Allow 10 minutes for this. 3. After their group discussion, elicit some answers and introduce the driving question: What are the cultural differences between Mexicans and Americans? 4. Tell students they will have a chance to explore, read and sensitize themselves to other culture by preparing a series of 3 podcast episodes to answer the driving question. Students will make groups of threes, either keeping the ones they are in or making new ones. 5. Tell students that they will need two things: become familiar with podcasts, their stages of production and associated technical requirements and research about the intercultural issue at hand. 6. Students will have a weekend to explore what podcasts are and the software they will need to prepare a podcast. They can use these sites: What is a podcast:

7. Introduce students to the concept of a rubric. Agree with them on the aspects that will be evaluated for each episode in their podcast and make sure all teams have a copy of the rubrics. 8. After students have researched about podcasts and their technical requirements, give them a quiz (Hand-out 2) to check quickly that everybody understands the concepts and abilities required to prepare their podcast episodes and that all doubts are solved before they start working on their own. 9. Provide students with the name of the Yahoo! Group or Google Group that they will use as a discussion forum to upload their comments about the other teams’ episodes. ALAD Podcasting 4 EFL Teachers

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Production of  first  episode   Time:  1  week   10. Explain to students that the first episode is audio only and they will have one week to prepare it and upload it to PodOmatic. Ask them to prepare a script. They can use this website for tips: In this episode students will discuss some of the experiences they have had with Americans on their trips to the U.S. on business and/or pleasure trips. Remind them of the technical requirements, the need to have a catchy slogan, music and interesting ideas to discuss. Encourage them to think out of the box. 11. Ask students to use Worksheets 1 and 2 to help them produce ideas for this first episode. 12. Once students have uploaded their podcasts, they should upload their links to the discussion forum so that the rest of the class can listen to them and provide feedback.

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Production of  second  episode   Time:  2  weeks  

13. Students will have two weeks to prepare and upload this episode. They will now read about the differences between Americans and Mexicans and prepare a brief presentation using Screencast-O-Matic. In order to support their ideas, students are encouraged to inform themselves by researching on Internet. Ask them to cite their sources in their PowerPoint presentations. They are free to use any sources they find appropriate, but not Wikipedia, El Vago or as they are not trusted websites and they may have unconfirmed information. They can use the following links:

Websites: Basic American Culture.pptx

Books:   Comunicación Intercultural. Bases para la comunicación efectiva en el mundo actual. McEntee Sullivan, Eileen McGraw Hill American Ways Gary Althen Intercultural Press 14. Ask them to assign readings to each member in the team and then work collaboratively to understand the ideas they have researched. Ask them to have a chat on Skype or any other chat service where they can discuss their findings. They will save their chat and send it to the teacher by e-mail. Ask them to make notes of the important information they conclude that will serve as the basis for the PowerPoint presentation. 15. Once they have uploaded their presentations, ask them once again to upload their links to the discussion forum. Their classmates will look at their presentations and will provide feedback.

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Production of  third  episode   Time:  2  weeks   16. Students will have two weeks for preparation and uploading. Tell students that they will produce a video where they will examples of different behaviors in Mexican and American culture. They can use images or videos of their own or some found on the Internet, but advise them to get all the proper permissions from the original sources. They should send a list of images and/or videos used and the permission granted on a Word document sent to the teacher. 17. Students will upload their links to the discussion forum so the rest of the class provides feedback on the contents. 18. For each episode and each team, the teacher will evaluate using the rubric agreed upon previously. 19. At the end of the project, students will have a wrap-up session to talk about the way they felt, things they learned both thematically and technically and things they still would like to know.

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Outside work   1. Although the online and printed resources may prove to be enough, invite students to surf the web and find out about any other website they find interesting regarding the topic and/or the software used to create their episodes. 2. Tell students they can use Skype to hold their conversations and record them. They can find a tutorial here:

Student hand-­‐outs  and  worksheets  (See  appendix)   1. Excerpt of cultural shock for class discussion 2. Quiz on podcasts and technical requirements 3. Did you know (Worksheet 1) 4. Making a fun interview (Worksheet 2)

Websites and  resources   Students will be uploading their three episodes on PodOmatic. Make sure they review the tutorials provided to get ideas on how to use the software.

Software to  use   Tutorials:   Audacity: PodOmatic:

Software websites   Audacity: LAME file Mac users: Windows users: PodOmatic: Screencast-O-Matic:

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Teacher’s Guide   This project aims at giving students a chance






intercultural communication between Americans




accomplish this goal, students need to have access to Internet and a solid disposition




Although many of them may be familiar with podcasts, producing them can be a complete different experience for them. It is advisable to allow them time to fully read the background information about podcasting and the technical requirements needed so that they have a solid technical foundation before they start producing materials. Make sure your calendar of activities considers at least a session of questions and answers to make sure everyone is clear about the resources. The quiz should provide an idea of what students need. Make sure you have opened a Yahoo! Group or a Google Group where students can register and then make comments about their classmates’ episodes. Since PodOmatic sometimes experiences technical difficulties in the comments feature, it is always safer to have a separate place where students can upload their comments. That way PodOmatic serves as a site to simply upload their podcasts and listen to them, or download them, and the Yahoo! or Google Group serves as a discussion forum. It is important to establish times, but be flexible. The task is challenging in that it requires using resources that students may not be familiar with: recording an audio podcast may take several tries before you think you have something of the type of quality needed. Uploading on PodOmatic may need an efficient Internet connection. Advise students to make tests before recording and to use the Pause button to make sure they are happy with their work. On the other hand, informing themselves about the topic takes a while to read and explain to others. Make sure you are available to help clarify doubts. It may be useful to provide an e-mail account where questions can be addressed or, if needed, a Whatsapp number so you can be reached during decent hours (you may be asked questions at 3 o’clock in the morning, otherwise!). Basically you can download Whatsapp on all smartphones and then login in through wi-fi. You can download it at Make sure feedback from students to other classmates is pertinent and polite. Criticism can be easily misinterpreted especially when done on Internet. You may need to pinpoint this fact and provide students with a code of etiquette they have to use when providing feedback. This website can be of great help:

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Rubric   The rubric will consider podcast theme, technical aspects and use of language.

Podcasting for EFL Teacher Name: Danny Altamirano Students’ Names: ___________________________________________________________ Team Number: ____________________






Successfully presents an introduction that captures the audience\'s attention.

The introduction is weak or easily The introduction There is indication of mistaken as part of makes it clear what an introduction the body of the the episode is about, although it lacks episode. There is but does not triggers strong impact. lack of interest curiosity. regarding the contents.

Voice quality is clear and consistently audible throughout the presentation.

Voice quality is clear and consistently audible throughout the majority (8595%) of the presentation.

Voice quality is clear and consistently Voice quality needs audible through more attention. some (70-84%)of the presentation.

Uses a conversational style the majority (8595%)of the time

Uses a conversational style Presentation style is most (70-84%)of the primarily monologue. time.

The pace (rhythm and voice punctuation) fits the storyline and helps the audience really \"get into\" the narrative.

Occasionally speaks too fast or too slowly for the story line. The audience may get distracted from the narrative.

Tries to use pacing (rhythm and voice punctuation), but it is often noticeable that the pacing does not fit the storyline.

No attempt to match the pace of the storytelling to the storyline. The monotony may distract the audience completely.

Use of Music

All of the music is appropriate to the contents and the volume is the right level.

Most (over half) of the music is appropriate, although the volume may distract at times.

Some of the music is appropriate, but there are many instances where the volume and/or lyrics distract attention from the speakers.

None of the music is appropriate. The volume and the lyrics cause many distractions making difficult to understand the contents.

Images (if applicable)

Images in the episode create a distinct tone that matches different parts of the presentation. The images may communicate symbolism and/or metaphors.

Images create a tone that matches some parts of the presentation. The images may communicate symbolism and/or metaphors.

An attempt was made to use images Little or no attempt to to create a tone but use images to create it needed more work. an appropriate tone. Image choice is logical.

Opening of Episode

Voice Consistency

Voice Uses a Conversational conversational style throughout. Style

Voice - Pacing

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Duration of Presentation



Use of Vocabulary

The episode is told with exactly the right amount of detail throughout. It does not seem too short nor does it seem too long.

The episode is typically good, though it seems to drag somewhat OR need slightly more detail in some sections.

The episode seems to need more editing. It is noticeably too long or too short in more than one section.

The episode needs extensive editing. It is too long or too short to be interesting.

Length of Length of Length of Presentation was presentation was 15 presentation was 10 presentation was less than 5 minutes minutes maximum. minutes. around 7-8 minutes. long OR less.

Grammar and usage were correct and contributed to clarity, style and speaker development.

Grammar and usage were typically correct and errors did not detract from the narrative.

Grammar and usage were typically correct but errors detracted from narrative.

Repeated errors in grammar and usage distracted greatly from the narrative.

Pronunciation was Pronunciation was clear throughout the clear most of time episode. during the episode.

There were several pronunciation mistakes that distracted the listener\'s attention.

Pronunciation hinders comprehension making it difficult to follow the train of thought in the episode.

The vocabulary used The vocabulary used was mostly was appropriate to appropriate to the the situation. situation.

There were several instances of wrongly used vocabulary in the episode.

The vocabulary used was limited and inappropriate most of the time.

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Hand-out 1 Excerpt of cultural shock Tariq Nassar is Egyptian. In his society, people place a high premium on family loyalty. Obligations to parents and siblings are an important part of daily life. Tariq has come to the United States to earn a master’s degree in civil engineering. Through the U.S. university he is attending, he has a “host family,” a local family that periodically invites him to their home for dinner or some other activity. The family’s name is Wilson. Mr. Wilson is a middleaged engineer. His wife works half-time in a lawyer’s office. Their two children, a daughter who is twenty-two and a son who is nineteen, are both university students, and one of them is attending a university in a distant state. Mr. Wilson’s father died two years ago. His mother, Tariq learns, lives in a nursing home. One Sunday after having dinner with the Wilsons, Tariq goes with them to visit Mr. Wilson’s mother. The nursing home is full of frail, elderly people, most of whom are sitting silently in lounge areas or lying in their rooms. A few are playing cards or dominoes in the “game room” or are watching television. Mr. Wilson’s mother is obviously old, but she can move around reasonably well and can carry on a normal conversation with anyone who talks a bit louder than usual. Mr. Wilson says he visits his mother once a week if at all possible. Sometimes he has to go out of town, so two weeks will pass between visits. His wife sometimes goes along on these visits; the children rarely do, since one lives far away and the other is usually busy studying.

§ Tariq is horrified. How can Mr. Wilson, who otherwise seems like a pleasant and generous person, stand to have his mother living in such a place? § Why doesn’t she live with Mr. Wilson? 1

§ How can Tariq interpret Mr. Wilson’s behavior? Discuss in your group and then share your ideas with the rest of the class.


Taken from Althen, Gary. (2003) American Ways. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.

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Hand-out 1 Quiz Name: _______________________________________________________________ 1. Write the following concepts in the diagram according to their level of generality. segment



2. Complete the following crossword puzzle.



1. this stage makes your podcast available

1. this stage involves among other things adding


music and sound effects

2. the actual text used in your podcast

3. a free online service that will host our podcasts

4. the stage where your content is produced

5. this website contains information about your

9. the planning stage of your podcast


10. the catchy phrase that makes your podcast

6. a multi-track recording software that we will use to


record our podcasts 7. an internet site where you can upload your podcast 8. a type of file format most commonly used in podcasting

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3. Mention three abilities (technical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, etc) that you will have to use to produce your podcast. a. _________________________________________________________ b. _________________________________________________________ c. _________________________________________________________ 4. What is the objective of our podcasting project? Explain it in your own words.

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Worksheet 1

Did You Know?2 Read websites related to the topic of our podcast series with interesting facts or think about an interesting experience you had on one of your trips abroad. Write down something you would want others to learn.

Interesting Fact: __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Turn your fact into a question: Did you know that ________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Tips: §

Practice saying your question out loud and check your pronunciation and intonation. Find a way to say it in an interesting way.



Monitor your pronunciation so that what you say is clear when you record it.

Idea taken from Radio WillowWeb at

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Worksheet 2

Planning an Interesting Interview3 Use this worksheet with your first episode in your project. You can use it to plan and think about interesting facts about your experience with foreign people on your travel abroad. Think of at least 5 interesting facts and write them down. They will help you organize ideas and prepare an interesting first episode. Once you have your facts, you can then plan with your teammates on a script for your first episode around the information you jotted down.

Interesting Fact #1 __________________________________________________________________________

Interesting Fact #2 __________________________________________________________________________

Interesting Fact #3 __________________________________________________________________________

Interesting Fact #4 __________________________________________________________________________

Interesting Fact #5 __________________________________________________________________________


Idea taken from Radio WillowWeb at

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Podcasting Project  

This is a 3-series podcast for upper-intermediate, advanced level English students on the topic of intercultural communication.

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