Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Harrington School of Communication a

May 15, 2012

The Harrington School of Communication and Media is hiring for a young scholar-practitioner in #Latino or #Caribbean #community #media — apply now!

Save the date: We’re screening and disc

March 26, 2012

Save the date: We’re screening and discussing “Miss Representation” March 28 in Kirk Center Aud #URI #RI #medialiteracy

Anyone in #RI up for learning more about

February 8, 2012

Anyone in #RI up for learning more about #copyright and #fairuse for #digital #learning? We’re scheduling a spring webinar for you to learn more. Call 401-874-4925 to learn more #edtech #medialiteracy

For ESL Students, Audio Books Make Reading a Pleasure

May 6, 2007

Teacher: Vania Gulston

Students: Grade 12 History, ages 17 – 18

Audio Content: Momma’s Baby Daddy’s Maybe by Jamise L. Dames

Location: Fairhill Community High School, Philadelphia, PA


Vania Gulston, a high school history teacher, wanted to offer her students something exceptional during their silent reading time. She turned to Audible, and students got to experiment with iPod shuffles to listen to a fast-paced urban novel filled with secrets, facades, lust, sadness, shame and love.

Use of Technology/ Classroom Lesson

Vania Gulston teaches high school at a charter school with primarily African-American and Latino students. One of her classes is Sustained Silent Reading, where students are encouraged to read quietly for half an hour. She wanted to find a novel to interest her students in reading, and a friend told her that some African American urban dramas were engaging to her daughter. She turned to Audible’s African American fiction section to find a high-interest book for her students. She downloaded Momma’s Baby Daddy’s Maybe by Jamise L. Dames and bought a hard copy of the book to photocopy sections for her students to read along.

Due to technical difficulties, Ms. Gulston was not able to hear an audio sample before downloading the book. When she bought the hard copy, she was surprised to find that the book contained some adult content and she was concerned that it was inappropriate for the classroom. She found a chapter in the book that was suitable and copied it for her students to read along as they listened. Another surprise awaited her in the classroom; the chapter headings in the audio book did not correspond with the chapter headings in the hard copy of the book.

The students were enthralled with the iPod shuffles they were handed, and asked many questions about how the iPod worked, how many songs fit on it, and what else they could do with it. They pushed buttons and searched through the chapters on the device, but could not find the correct entry point into the story that matched with the text they were given. Some students gave up and read their own books, while others listened intently to the audio book. But because Ms. Gulston was not sure which part of the book they were listening to and felt that certain parts of the book should not be part of a classroom experience, she asked them to put the iPods down and stop listening. In spite of the confusion, the students were enthusiastic about the possibilities of the iPod as a learning device and about listening to books in general. One student, Jairo Reyes, said, “For Spanish-speaking people like me, this makes it a lot easier to read English.” Another student, Luis Quevas, was eager to learn more about how to access audio books. “This totally makes sense for students,” he said. “Listening to it catches you up, more than reading or listening to a teacher read. The narrator was really good and dramatic.” A couple of the students were even imagining an audio device where the text would appear on the screen to read along! “It’s great because you can go at your own pace,” Quevas said.


Ms. Gulston was unable to listen to an audio sample in advance, and thus discovered the nature of the material only after having downloaded it. She felt that a coding or rating system would help teachers like her differentiate between materials that were age and subject appropriate. “I would also like there to be a greater selection for Latino and African American teens,” she said, as some of the available young adult material would not appeal to her students.

In spite of the problems Ms. Gulston faced with the content, she still saw the potential in using audio books in the classroom. “Usually I have to keep looking up and telling the kids to read,” she said. “When they were listening to the audio book, I could tell they were really into it, and I wouldn’t have to watch them as closely.” She was also excited about her students’ responses. “They were very mature about it,” she said, “and some of my students really understood the potential of learning from the iPod. One student said the narrator made it easy to listen to the story and understand words. And if they didn’t get the meaning the first time, they could rewind and listen again.”

Teacher Quote

“I think the students can get a lot out of using the audio book, and I was really impressed with their responses to it.”

Student Quotes

“For Spanish-speaking people like me, this makes it a lot easier to read English.”

“Listening to http://books catches you up, more than reading or listening to a teacher read… It’s great because you can go at your own pace.”

Article about the benefits of listening on literacy

May 3, 2007

A Scripts Howard article is making the rounds this week with some good info on listening and literacy.  Some highlights:

Has your child listened to a good book lately?

Listening to books — on CD, cassette or downloaded into an MP3 player — not only is fun but also can help kids develop vocabulary and improve their reading fluency, because they can listen to more difficult books than they can read in printed form.

Listening to books is particularly helpful for children whose native language isn’t English or who have reading challenges. And it’s also a great way to spark the interest of reluctant readers, reading experts say.


Audio Books: It’s Elementary!

March 7, 2007

Elementary teachers specialize in creating learning environments that are chock full of language and literacy activities. But many elementary school teachers don’t make much use of technology. When we asked elementary teachers to experiment with audio books, they were enthusiastic and creative. Some were longtime fans of audio books, and others were new to the medium. Their students loved the chance to listen as a large group in the classroom or use personal devices for listening at their own pace. In the next few blogs, I’ll share some of the creative lesson plans that teachers developed using audio books as a tool to promote literacy development.

–Renee Hobbs

How Teachers Use Audio Books in the Classroom: The Research Process

March 6, 2007

We learned so much by giving teachers the opportunity to experiment with audio books as a learning tool! Like all research, this project generated new insights, new possibilities and new questions for exploration. Here’s the process we used for a preliminary investigation of this topic. Some of our key findings reveal that audio books engage students and support their language development and content knowledge. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share details about some of the creative approaches that teachers in our study used with their elementary and secondary students— and then tell you about how college teachers used audio books im their courses, too.

Purpose. Knowing that one in three people are auditory learners,Temple researchers wanted to discover more about the educational potential of audio books and how they may help increase literacy and listening comprehension. The research team was also interested in teachers’ motivation to use audio content and wanted to learn about what types of lesson plans were most beneficial when using audio content as a learning tool. This report summarizes the methods used to develop the case studies, presents the results, and reviews the general findings and lessons learned.

Recruiting Participants. In order to recruit teachers to participate in the study, we widely emailed teachers from the Philadelphia metropolitan area. We held an introductory meeting to potential participants on January 31, 2006. Audible offered participating educators three free credits good for any audio content on, and each of their participating students would receive one credit, entitling them to one audio book. Audible also gave participating educators the option to use 15 iPod Shuffles, which would allow students to listen to media independently.

Sample Demographics. A total of 16 teachers volunteered to participate in the pilot study, 13 women and 3 men. Eight were K-6 educators, three taught students in Grades 7-12, and five taught in higher education settings. Teachers were employed in both private and public schools, in urban and suburban districts.

Procedure. Participating teachers signed a consent form, drafted by Audible, confirming their participation and outlining the goals of the study. The consent form was a formal declaration made by the teacher agreeing to the terms of the study which included: an acknowledgement that the information provided could be edited by Temple and Audible at their discretion, and that the teacher consented to the use of their name, likeness, and biographical data in connection with the study and any associated publicity and promotion. Each participant was assigned to a Temple research assistant who would support their experience in the case study. Researchers were available to guide the teachers as needed. In some cases this support was modest as teachers were able to work independently to complete the activity. In other cases, research assistants provided assistance in selecting content, resolving technological obstacles, and developing accompanying learning activities. Participants completed a pre- and post-test reflection survey, answering questions about their professional experiences and background, their expectations for the study, the obstacles they faced, and their perception of the success of the activity on student learning. In addition to completing the pre- and post-listening surveys, each teacher participated in an individual interview with researchers. In general, teachers were candid about their experiences and described the activities they implemented in great detail. In a number of cases, researchers were also able to observe classroom activity to observe a lesson plan in action. Teachers chose a wide variety of content, including short stories, chapter books, non-fiction books, essays, lectures, and radio magazine segments. Listening activities were conducted either one time or over a series of days. Ultimately, the teachers had complete control over what they implemented in the classroom. In selecting the audio book content and designing and implementing the lesson plan, teachers invested differential amounts of time and energy into the project. Some teachers made thoughtful selections of audio content and spent weeks preparing their lessons, while other teachers devoted considerably less attention to these tasks. These case studies reflect some of the talent and diversity of teachers in the context of their busy lives.

Overall Results. Based on the case studies, we make the following observations:

Students Are Learning while Listening. Teachers described many examples of students involved as active learners, able to demonstrate their ability to comprehend, make inferences, and engage in critical thinking in responding to audio content. In the elementary grades through to university levels, teachers described students’ enjoyment of and delight with the experience of listening to audio. Most teachers could point to direct evidence from student performance that demonstrated the effectiveness of the learning experience.

A Wide Range of Students are Engaged in Learning. Many teachers commented on how the audio listening experience engaged students who might normally not be active class participants. Teachers recognized the value of audio content for students with special needs. A number of students expressed spontaneous pleasure and gratitude for the opportunity to use audio books as a tool for learning.

A Focus on Language Helps Literacy Development. Teachers described many instances of using audio content to help students focus on specific qualities of language, including vocabulary study, symbolism, homophones, idioms, metaphors, dialect and the use of vernacular speech.

Audio Content Supports Learning Objectives. Teachers selected a range of different types of audio content, including fiction, non-fiction, lectures, and radio magazine segments, and most described their perception of the content as highly relevant to their instructional goals and aims.

Teachers Struggle with Mastering Technology. A number of teachers (particularly elementary teachers) experienced challenges in using the Audible software and iPod shuffle technology in the classroom. Some of these problems were due to restrictions on downloading at the network level in individual school buildings; other problems resulted from teachers’ lack of familiarity with technology.

Teachers Learn from Experimenting with the Educational Potential of Audio. While participating in the case study research, teachers discovered some strategies that help make learning with audio effective. These techniques included the use of pause and discussion to promote active listening and the use of questions to encourage predictions and inference-making.

–Renee Hobbs, Temple University