Podcasts and digital stories are two different areas but are similar in what each can accomplish. Podcasts do not have any type of visual effect but you can hear what a person has to say. Digital stories do have pictures but are not exactly a video that plays while the person is talking.
A critique I would have to using these is this seems like an outdated concept compared to using video. There are multiple sites where you can go online and shoot a video and upload it. If you do not necessarily need to be seen then a podcast or a digital story would be a good idea. Pertaining to the classroom, I think that a podcast or a digital story is a way to display what the student has learned. For example, in a history class they could speak about a war and the major events that happened. This could be an alternative to a research paper which could be a very interesting idea.
A downside to using a podcast or a digital story in class, if chosen, is the students could find a podcast or digital story that is inappropriate or vulgar. I did not see any digital stories that were inappropriate but I did click on some podcasts such as the onion which had a lot of vulgarity. If there is a way that these podcasts can be filtered for vulgar content then I would like to have these in my class.
In my classroom I do not think that I would utilize podcasts or a digital story. I think that learning to be a public speaker is something that you will need in your life as a skill. Students would be speaking but they would have a video of themselves talking to show how they can elaborate on their speech. This was something I wish I would have had more practice with in high school because I struggled with public speaking.
One thing I did like but kind of surprised me was that the digital stories could be very motivational. The podcasts did not excite me as much as the digital stories did, probably because my dad used to listen to National Public Radio when I was a kid and I was always very bored. I am sure that a book could be very exciting as something such as an audio book, but I am more old school and a visual type of learner.
One digital story that stuck out to me was the motivation of a runner to get running. Her husband lost a lot of weight, which motivated her. This is one digital story that is definitely worth the attention!
I am usually pretty informed into politics also, so Real Time With Bill Maher is a good one to listen for podcasts if you are into that sort of thing!