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Teachers can integrate these economics-themed podcasts into their courses in two ways:

“Immersion style”

Teachers can require students (and themselves!) to listen to two Planet Money podcasts per week, comprising, for example, a total of twenty-eight current podcasts over a fourteen week semester.  This allows on continuous integration of ‘real-world’ economics into the classroom, bringing in current events and interesting applications of economics to a variety of issues.  This requires a bit more dedication from the teacher as you need to listen and engage, and be sure to make space in the classroom for discussions of the podcasts.  And it requires some flexibility in connecting concepts that you may not be discussing that week.  But, you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t willing to make the effort to make your class engaging!

 “Strategic sampling”

Teachers can require students to listen to specifically assigned podcasts selected from the archive here. This can be a way to ease into the use of economics-themed podcasts. It is also a way to ensure that the podcast listening is tightly aligned with what you’re discussing in class. Using the archive, you can integrate these podcasts right into the syllabus from day one of your class.  This is a nice option for those who want to sample this technique to see if it works for them, or who have already incorporated so many great teaching techniques there isn’t time for everything!

Sample Assignments

Planet Money Podcast Memos

This assignment can be adapted to courses where regular listening to the latest podcasts is required each week, or to those where strategic podcasts are chosen from the library here.

Memo Requirements: The purpose of this one-page memo is for students to communicate how the podcast (or podcasts) they’ve listened to relate to microeconomics / macroeconomics (or whatever course you’re teaching).

Each memo should identify at least two specific concepts and explain how they are used in (or relate to) one or more podcasts.

 Current Events Economic Analysis Group Project

Students are divided into small groups (ex. Three students).   Each group will take on the role of the Planet Money team to prepare a ‘live broadcast’ and present to the class a Planet Money-style economic analysis of an issue of your choice.

Topics could include:

· A current events issue – something in the news that you think has an economics angle we should know about;

· An aspect of daily life that has an economics angle that we might not have thought of, or that we can learn from considering more deeply;

· A follow up of a question posed in a Planet Money podcast, or inspired by our discussion of the podcasts.

Together your team will research and prepare a presentation of the economic aspects of the topic you choose. Be careful to choose an issue with economic relevance to ______ (micro, macro, international economics, etc.).Each presentation will need to incorporate the traditional key elements of the Planet Money podcast, including a Planet Money indicator! Groups are required to use some visual aid or engaging handout as part of your presentation, this can be Powerpoint, Prezzi, or some other technique of their choice. Students will be able to earn bonus points for creative / dynamic presentations.

Planet Money Executive Summary Presentation

Students are required to present an executive summary of a weekly podcast from Planet Money to the class. Each student signs up for a presentation day on the second day of class. The presentation is an executive summary targeted to someone with an interest in economics.  Each presentation must end with a question to prompt discussion by the class.  The quality of class discussion is part of the presentation grade.

Students  are required to email their presentation content, along with their discussion prompt AND two possible quiz or extra credit questions which can be used to test their fellow classmates’ listening and/or understanding of the podcast  by 8am the morning of the day they will present.  This allows the teacher to incorporate those quiz/extra credit questions into a quiz to be given that day, or a ‘pop-quiz’ style class engagement grade component, or  extra credit question at the start of class

Online Discussion Boards

Students are required to participate in weekly online-discussion boards, where they use their critical economic thinking skills to analyze and discuss podcast content. Students are required to make two posts per week (one by day 2 of the week; the second by day 5 of the week).  The second post should require students to review, build-upon and respond to the posts of their peers while adding additional economic thinking. Research shows that the most effective discussion boards require effective moderation that leads students to make connections to key concepts, interact with peers, and move toward higher levels of application and learning. The posts on this page include both initial prompts to start discussion and ‘follow-up prompts’ that instructors can use as a starting point for more effective moderation across the week’s discussion.

Additional Ideas:

Memos could also be assigned as online journal blogposts for students to share

 Students could actually make their final presentations into real ‘podcasts’ to be reviewed by peers, using software such as VoiceThread.

Please send any other ideas that fellow teachers might find useful to me here

Posted June 27, 2012 by audioecon

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