Culture in Context with Adobe Premiere Rush

Students create a podcast about culture

About This Strategy

What is culture? How do different traditions, customs, beliefs, practices, and patterns both reflect and shape our social world? In this activity, you will first think about the role that a particular cultural feature has played in your life. Then, you will write a series of discussion questions and use them to interview family, friends, classmates, or peers. Finally, you will use your interview recordings and Adobe Audition to produce a podcast sharing your conversations.

Because Adobe Audition makes producing professional-sounding podcasts simple and fun, it is an effective way to share your thinking with others.

Supporting Tools and Resources

  • Student Sample
  • Adobe Audition
  • Adobe Spark Video
  • Editable Resource Bundle
  • PDF Resource Bundle

Outline for Teachers

300 minutes

Discuss. 

Students discuss and define culture and select a cultural aspect to focus on for this project. Potential ideas include: social practices, values, attitudes, preferences, beliefs, etc. (20 minutes)

Brainstorm. 

Students brainstorm a list of possible angles on their topic, refine and finalize their questions, and identify subjects for their interview. (85 minutes)

Interview. 

Students interview three to five people, recording their interviews using a smartphone, computer, or external audio device. (90 minutes)

Create. 

Students reflect on their interview and sketch a rough outline for their podcast. Then, they use Adobe Audition to edit and produce their podcast. Students can listen to an example here, and read/watch tutorials here and here.  (125 minutes)

Share. 

Students share and publish their podcast. 

Steps for Students

What is culture? How do different traditions, customs, beliefs, practices, and patterns both reflect and shape our social world? In this activity, you will first think about the role that a particular cultural feature has played in your life. Then, you will write a series of discussion questions and use them to interview family, friends, classmates, or peers. Finally, you will use your interview recordings and Adobe Audition to produce a podcast sharing your conversations.

Because Adobe Audition makes producing professional-sounding podcasts simple and fun, it is an effective way to share your thinking with others.

Steps:

1. On paper or in a word processor - but without using the internet or a dictionary - define the word “culture.” You may produce more than one definition, but each should be in complete sentences. (10 minutes)

2. In groups of 3-4, share your definitions. (10 minutes)

  • Which do you think are strongest? 

  • What aspects of your definition do you like, and which might you borrow from others? 

As a group, come up with a definition that you agree is both balanced and capacious; then, working together, list as many aspects of culture as you can think of, including social practices, values, attitudes, preferences, beliefs, etc.

3. On your own, review the list your group created, select one that interests you, and take a few minutes to reflect on your own relationship with (and perspective on) it, jotting some notes as you go. At this stage, it is not important to write out fully-formed ideas. (30 minutes)

Once you have written down a handful of your own thoughts, begin writing questions you might ask others to - politely and respectfully - probe their understanding of this cultural feature. Your goal, in this case, should be to write questions that balance being open-ended with specificity, ideally scaffolding thoughtful and detail-filled answers from others. 

Here is an example list of questions on the subject of food and culture:

  • What foods do you eat most frequently? How are they prepared, and where do you eat them? Do you know where the ingredients come from? What do you know about the people who farm, cook, or serve your food?

  • Which foods are your favorite? Are there styles of cooking you are particularly drawn to, or which you particularly dislike? 

  • What times of day do you like to eat? Do you have consistent eating habits, or are there foods you eat every day? Which foods do you eat only rarely?

  • What kinds of food did you and/or your family grow up eating? Do you eat the same way now, or have your eating habits changed? Which foods seem “familiar” or “home-y” to you, and which seem “special,” “foreign,” or “unusual”? How do you think others see these foods?

  • What do you think of as “your” food? Is it different from or similar to what your peers might think of as “their” food? 

  • Do you have a favorite restaurant or grocery store? How often do you order delivery, takeout, or fast food? Have you ever worked in food service?

  • How important is food to you? How often do you think about it? Do you put a lot of care into what and how you eat, or are you more opportunistic? 

  • Have you always had enough food to eat? Can you remember times where your access to food was limited, either as a result of circumstances or by choice? Have you had to alter your diet for a specific purpose (eg. sports, allergy-related, etc.)?

As you brainstorm, feel free to focus on the aspects most appealing to you and set aside subjects which feel either less interesting or too personal to share. 

For more ideas, review this list of questions from StoryCorps.

4. Using your notes from the previous step, select a handful of questions (at least three, not more than seven) questions you’d like to ask your interview subjects, paying attention to any through lines or points of intellectual salience that jump out to you. (30 minutes)

  • Which questions are most interesting to you? 

  • Which would be most provocative? 

  • Which seem to touch broader social, political, or economic concerns? 

  • Which might produce very similar or highly divergent answers?

Once you have made your selections, re-draft them, trying out different phrasings. 

While drafting, keep in mind that good questions balance specificity with being open-ended. This can be difficult to achieve, so take time to think carefully about how people might respond to your questions and write multiple versions. Moreover, keep in mind that as an interviewer, your job is not to coax specific answers out of your subjects, but to provide them the opportunity to share their own opinions and think out loud with you. 

For example, consider several versions of a question about fast food:

  • Too specific: “Isn’t the Big Mac great?” This leading question has only a yes-or-no answer, and doesn’t leave your subject much room to give their own thoughts. 

  • Too vague: “What do you think of McDonald’s?” Conversely, this question is little more than a topic and a question mark; it doesn’t frame any possible discussion topics. (What if your subject has never eaten at McDonald’s?)

  • Some possibilities:

    • “How often do you eat fast food, and why?” 

    • “Do you think Americans eat too much fast food?”

    • “What’s the simplest meal you eat each week?” 

    • “What’s the best hamburger you’ve ever eaten?”

Once you’ve finalized your questions, gather them in a document for easy access.

5. Identify your interview subjects and strategy: (25 minutes)

  • Find three to five people - classmates, friends, family members, acquaintances, or other peers - willing to speak with you. Make sure that each person you speak to understands that you will be recording them and sharing the recording with others (it may be helpful to get this in writing!).

  • As you select participants, consider how your choices frame your topic. Interviewing five members of your immediate family might shed some specific light on your own upbringing, while speaking with a handful of classmates might tell you more about the demographics of your school. In what ways are your participants similar or different, and how might that affect the perspectives you’ll hear? Would it be more interesting to hear about individual variance among a relatively similar group of people, or to listen to a more diverse group of voices share wildly differing perspectives?

  • Before the interviews, decide how much you are planning to speak. Will it be a back-and-forth discussion? Will you ask follow-up questions? Will you share your own perspective? If they say something you know is incorrect, or which you find offensive, will you step in?

6. Conduct your interviews, using either a smartphone, a computer, or a digital audio recorder to record your conversations. (Try not to record too much audio, as this can make it difficult to make decisions about which parts to use - about twenty minutes per person should be more than enough.) For help recording audio with Adobe Audition, check out this tutorial or follow these steps. (60 minutes)

7. After recording your interviews, reflect back on your conversations and think about how you would like to structure your podcast. You might place each interview subject back-to-back, or interlace them according to each question, or work more associatively. Do you plan to narrate your project, or simply let your subjects speak for themselves? Will you add music or other sounds, and if so, from where? (15 minutes)

When you’ve decided on your approach, sketch out a rough plan for the order and sequence of your podcast. (Keeping in mind that the more complex your plan is, the longer it will take to edit.) 

8. First, review the rubric. Then open Adobe Audition, import your audio files, and begin editing your podcast. For help with editing and structuring a podcast, review tutorials here. For a sample podcast, check out this example. (120 minutes)

9. Export your podcast and share as directed by your instructor.

Rubric for Successful Analysis

Consult the attached rubric to evaluate students' podcasts.