Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Does Ted count as a Podcast?

Outside of teaching, I've only really gotten into listening to podcasts in the last year or so. My colleague tipped me of to This American Life which I've started listening to on the way to work. Along with Graham NortonSlashfilm and Second Captains, I'm pretty much sorted for sitting in traffic listening. 

So its only now, about ten years after everyone else, that I've started to think about using them. The problem with the ones I listen to myself is that they are too long to use in class. Today, I spent a good chunk of the day looking around for podcasts that were shorter. The six minute English podcasts from the BBC are really good, cover a lot of topics and include transcripts. But I can't use them too often for fear that the students get a bit bored with the structure of the talks. 

This led me to think about Ted. I posted before about using Ted.com as a homework activity that would then fit into the following class. I tended to use these talks as homework because most of the classrooms I teach into don't have a projector installed. Wouldn't it be nice if you could just take the audio from a Ted talk and use that in class? You've probably been doing this for ages but this was a revelation to me. Sure enough, on many of the talks, you can download the audio as an MP3. (I've only just noticed how the speaker in the talk was literally pointing out how blindingly obvious this was.)

Here is a lesson I did to use with this talk by Kelly McGonigal on the topic of stress. The first part is vocabulary based and encourages students to play around with the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Then there is a bit of a reading around the topic of stress with some discussion. This then leads to the Ted talk, again with another vocabulary exercise. It is a fairly vocab heavy lesson but I've been feeling lexical lately. 

I hope you find it useful and if you have any comments or suggestions, I'd really appreciate it. Also, if you happen to know of any good podcasts, please let me know. 

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