As an alternative to essay writing and to increase media literacy, I am a fan of the programme Audacity. I have used this successfully in a number of lessons but I particularly like using it as an assessment tool.
1. I ask the students to download the programme Audacity, there is a Mac version and a Windows version that doesn't require installation.
2. I have the class write a script, usually I assign the topic to the class.
3. The class hand in the script, once approved they record the information as a sound recording.
4. The next phase is editing, where the kids take out the background sounds, add back tracks, audio sound affects to make the track come alive.
5. I then have the class upload the file onto Soundcloud and embed it into an Eportfolio which I then grade by leaving the grade and comments on the porfolio page.
This has potential in all topics, teachers can assign different topics to different student and create an entire class 'series' which can be used later as a revision tool.
See the video below on how to build a podcast with Audacity.