What is Audio Drama?Edit
Audio drama, or radio drama (see definition on Wikipedia) as it was once called, is seeing a resurgence in popularity thanks to computer technology and the internet. Today you will find many "fanfic" (fan fiction) productions continuing popular television series and films such as Star Trek, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Dr. Who, James Bond etc. with the story lines written, acted, directed and produced by adoring fans. In addition to fanfic, today's internet audio drama provides internauts with fresh new series and adventures distributed as often as once per week. Complete with all that is available through modern technology, the listener will find suspense, sound effects, superior scripts and acting.
Using Audio Drama to teach and learn EnglishEdit
Listening to audio dramas on regular basis will undoubtedly increase a student's level of listening comprehension. However as reading books activates the mind's visual imagination the written word so too does audio drama using the spoken word. This engages the pathways between the passive vocabulary and the aural comprehension areas of the brain by employing the imagination ensuring revision of previously acquired vocabulary. When new vocabulary is encountered the listener must rely on context to understand and continue following the story line. Imagination is the key here. Depending on the interest level of the listener, they become a party to the story that is being told, almost as if they were a character with in the drama. The imagination allows the listener to recreate the world or situation presented to them by the "author" and as such the listener must react within the situation, making the listener an active participant in the story. The listener's role might be different than the characters around them, but it is a role all the same. This can easily be illustrated as follows: Imagine the listener is listening to a Sherlock Holmes audio drama, as the main character Sherlock Holmes is searching for clues to solve the mystery; the listener is looking for clues of his own within the context of the imagined situation to discover the meaning of new words and phrases.
This being said, the listener must have an adequate passive vocabulary already in place in order to navigate with in the world created by the audio drama. Without an adequate passive vocabulary the listener will lack the support necessary to build the basic surroundings of the story. While audio dramas are not particularly targeted at students of English, the teacher can classify the level of the audio drama and match it with the ability of the student. Do not forget interest level. Motivation levels of the student play a large role and can in many cases compensate for lack of ability in the language. For example, if you have a student that his a huge James Bond fan, and you have judged a particularly audio drama to be above the aptitude of the student, reconsider his passion for James Bond. Challenges met with motivation are easily overcome.
Finding Audio DramasEdit
There are thousands of audio dramas available for free on the internet. Many can be found simply by doing a search on "audio drama", "audio theater", "radio drama", etc. Minimal requirements are necessary to play the audio dramas, in most cases nothing is needed, but you may need flash plug-ins or an mp3 player. Most audio dramas are available for free download to your computer for offline listening.
Many producers of audio drama produce several different series and a diverse array of genres. The following are internet production companies of audio dramas:
- Dream Realm Enterprises - Several series of comedy, science fiction and adventure.
- Darker Projects - The name describes it. Many series with a sinister twist, adventure, fanfic, and horror. (Now on hiatus, its domain is currently set to expire on February 18, 2012)
- Old Time Radio - A collection of the old radio shows your grandparents enjoyed.
- Imagination Lane - Many original series of drama and adventure. Very contemporary concepts and writing.
- Giant Gnome Productions - Selection of fanfic, new science fiction and horror.
- Decoder Ring Theater - Audio dramas in the tradition of old-time radio.
EnglishCaddy Radio provides many audio dramas regrouped by genre making it easy to find a series of high interest levels. EnglishCaddy Radio provides free on line listening using Podcast Pickle streaming mp3 players.
- Action and Adventure
- Mystery & Suspense
- Science Fiction
- Old Time Radio Shows