Sunday, June 15, 2008

921-Session 5

Due to the' time constraints' of our Summer session (10 weeks instead of the usual 13) we will be picking up the pace. I'll be posting both S5 and S6 this week. In order to avoid overwhelming you I'll post S5 now and S6 in a day or two. Check back here regularly.

If you'd like to read past participants' comments you may find them here:

Some people find that reading these ahead of the session gives them some well-needed perspective.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with Podcasting, so let me put it in simple terms. You have the choice of going the simple route or the more complex route. The simple route entails finding, listening, and integrating podcasts that have been created by others into your lessons. The complex route entails creating them yourself and/or with your students. Keep these distinctions in mind to avoid drowning yourself.

Someone mentioned that they wanted to know if it was possible to set up an "Instant Messaging" box on their blog. The answer is, "yes!" I haven't tried it myself, but I know that you can use any number of services, like: (, or )

If someone has some success, then please let the rest of us hear about it.

This session brings us to a new category, "PODCASTING." I have found that teachers' experiences and exposure to podcasts vary widely, so I built in some 'Differentiated Instruction' into this session. For those of you new to the term you will be enlightened, and if you want more detail there will be hyperlinks from most slides that will give you that extra support you may need or want. Here is a video to give you a brief overview if you're a 'newbie.'

For those of you with more experience, I have integrated into the session the opportunity to bring yourself to the next stage in your 'podcasting evolution.' You will find video tutorials, and dozens of resources, that will help you rise to the next level of 'podcasting sophistication,' so you may create your own if you are so inclined. Here is a more 'research-based' video for those of you interested in that aspect. It's a little long, but the best parts are during the last 4-5 minutes:

For others, you may not have any desire to learn or use podcasts at this point in your career, so if that is the case you may skim through this section and focus upon your Deliverable #2. It is due by next Tuesday (June 24th), so please post it under Session 4's entry when you are completed.

Good luck and podcast away!



jack'sblog said...

We just had a meeting at our school pertaining to cracking down on students who bring electronic equipment such as cell phones and IPods into the classroom because those devices distract students from good, old-fashioned, time-tested learning activities. I can envision podcasting being fun if students can create radio broadcasts, but there is a lot of potential for abuse; therefore, it would require extra vigilance, precautions, etc. to enable the activity to function optimally. Furthermore, I'd be willing to bet that our district administration would frown on the practice.

Mrs. Kiernan said...

One of our teachers just won an EDS grant specifically for IPods and podcasting to increase literacy and fluency. Of course implementation hasn't started yet. I think the goal is to keep the IPods in the classroom, for classroom use only. This is a huge financial undertaking for a school but if you can find more grants like the EDS Grant you may be able to fund them for your classroom. Also, the students are only in 4th grade so I'm assuming there is less room for abuse compared to high school.

Joanne D. said...

I am personally a huge fan of podcasting. Once I discovered this technology I immediately began subscribing to several podcasts and have them automatically added to my ipod.

Even though this isn't really using web 2.o for educational purposes, I did stumble upon a few great podcasts that I will be using in my classes. The New Yorker has a fiction podcast weekly that records an author reading a short story from another writer and commenting analytically to the story. I have saved several of these for my junior English classes. Also I found a podcast called Grammar Girl that records several different aspects of usage and grammar--my sophomores will love this technology compared to the moldy grammar books!

Beyond this I have thought about how to use podcasting that is created by me and by my students, but I am still a novice and need more experience before I can create anything original. I have considered creating a reading podcast for a book (Fools Crow) that my students struggle with both because of the reading level and content. If copyright permission was granted, I could podcast each chapter with comments and analysis. But this is too big of an IF for me right now. I am checking into it for next year.

I do think it would be fun for students to model the New Yorker podcast and share their favorite short story and comments--but copyright complicates this yet again!

Jeannine said...

Podcasting sounds motivating for middle or high school students but I question the ability to use it with elementary students. Lisa, I would love to hear how the teacher in your school plans to use the IPods and podcasting with her fourth grade students. We have many city grants that support education and this sounds like a great opportunity to expose the students to podcasting while builing their fluency. As I've mentioned before, more than 50% of our students come from low-income housing. Computers, IPods and even books are not something most of our students have in their homes.

Mr. Dudley... said...

Pertaining to the IM question -- I just successfully added an IM feature to my blog. I used the meebo service. You have to create a user account (free) at meebo's website. The process was very user-friendly (if you're comfortable with adding widgets to your blog). It basically generates a chunk of HTML which you paste into your blog layout.

Of course, I then immediately deleted the meebo widget from my own blog -- I'm not comfortable with IM being a part of my blog. I just wanted to see how difficult it would be to add it...

CHSEinfo said...

Ami Sinclair
9th-12th Grade

Session 5

Podcasting is very new to me. I have heard the term before and had an idea about what it was all about. I had no idea the extent of how it was being used.

Watching the UTube video –Podcasting in Education proved just how often students use their cell phones and MP3 players. They are not supposed to use them at my school but they always find a way to use it. If they are able to use them for education purposes I think that would be a great motivator for them. The only down side is how do you know if what they are listening to is educational?

When I was listening to some of the podcasts I felt a little bored by them and I think that some of the students would feel the same way. I like the idea of having the students do the work to find the podcasts. This way they would find the ones that are most enjoyable to them.

I attempted to add podcasts onto my blogger account so that I would have them for future references and for it to do the work. There were a few podcasts that I found that I thought would be very helpful for the students. is the site that I found to be the most useful. Some of the sites I found were Great-Speeches-in-History-Podcast and The Princeton Review Vocabulary Minute.

I like the whole idea of using podcasts as a means of oral communication. This would be a great way for the students to prepare for their senior presentations. They would be able to hear what they sound like so they could improve their presentations. I can also see how beneficial podcasting can be for students who are absent from school for a long period of time. If they are able to listen to a lecture they will not fall so far behind. Another thing that I really like is that students very often multitask. Being able to listen to a lesson and do something else at the same time would be helpful for many of my students.

For now I am going to stick to finding podcasts that already exist that I can use in the classroom. I could not even imagine trying to do my own podcast when I have spent so much time trying to figure out how to just listen to existing one and figuring out how to use those.

Mrs. Matarese said...

Session 5

Prior to this session, I had no experience with podcasting, so I appreciate that Dave provided so many links. What an abundance of technical information! I can see elementary students loving and benefiting from educational podcasts. When I think of my students sitting at the listening center during the guided reading block wearing bulky earphones, it seems so old fashioned! (However, I do believe there is still a place for the “traditional” listening center.) From building fluency to improving vocabulary, there are obviously many classroom uses for podcasting and it’s a terrific way to differentiate instruction. Now, it is up to me to actually incorporate this into my lessons…baby steps. It is exciting to hear that Lisa’s school won a grant for this technology.

Erin Wright said...

Erin Wright
Reading Specialist
Coventry, RI

Session 5: Podcasting

This week was very informative to me. I had heard of podcasting, but wasn’t really sure exactly what it was or how I could incorporate it into the classroom. Now I have so many ideas, I don’t know where to begin.

Richardson’s book gave me a great start to getting a handle on the world of podcasting. I realized that since I have ITunes, that this would be a good place to go and explore. I found podcasts on Reading and Poetry that were interesting to me. It gave me an idea: students could create a podcast of their own voice reading their own poetry and this could all go up on our classroom blog.

I wonder:
Might students who are shy about getting up and speaking in front of their peers be any more receptive to the idea of putting themselves out there in the form of a podcaster?

Another great bit of info I picked up from the book this week was the site From this site I found a great “Remedial Academy” lesson on writing skills and even signed up for a account so I could subscribe to this teacher’s podcasts. I learned how to subscribe to it from ITunes, too, so maybe this was a bit redundant, but it was interesting.

I wonder:
Are both Podbean and ITunes both “pod-catchers” and “aggregators” (I think ITUNES is, which makes me wonder how Podbean is different)?

During the Power Point slideshow I explored the Apple Learning Interchange and found an excellent video-podcast on emotional intelligence. The video aspect was great, but I enjoyed the site more because I felt it was more comprehensive, more user-friendly in terms of narrowing down search criteria, and generally had more useful stuff. 

Hope you all enjoyed this session as much as I did. I am definitely going to use podcasts in my classrooms in the future. The fact that kids might be encouraged to use IPods for school use is mind blowing. I can see motivational levels going up. I think learning these new technologies will go a long way in helping my students become active learners.


Erin Wright said...

Joanne, I like your idea about podcasts of chapters. If and when you get any copywrite info., I'd be interested.

Jack, you are right about the admin. I don't know if they would go for it either.

Mr. Dudley, thanks for sharing your Meebo experience. I tried the Plugoo one because I thought it looked easier, then spent the next hour or two downloading AIM and trying to get the widget on my blog. I thought I finally figured the whole mess out, but now Plugoo is having trouble "loading my profile" and wants me to email them for further assistance. Ughh. Maybe I will start all over again with the Meebo. (Widget, Plugoo, Meebo...such weird words. I love it!) ;)


Cheryl Simmons said...

Cheryl Simmons

I'm somewhat new to pod casting. Last year, I inherited an old video ipod and subscribed to a few of my favorite pod casts. Now I just watch them from my computer, rarely using them on the ipod. Other than teaching kids and parents to download audio books from itunes or public domain libraries, I haven't done much with using an ipod in my practice. I've never made a podcast, but now with the links and samples, it is something I might try. It is a great tool for students who need to see things more than once. Also, with some of my students who are working on transitional skills and independent living skills a short video demonstration would be extremely helpful for repetition.

I had no idea that all the places you could search, for educational podcasts. One of my big challenges with some of my students who have multiple needs and may be using a specific and unique communication device is getting them to see other students who may be utilizing a similar device. We know that students learn from each other and sometimes are the biggest motivators for integration of skills. Often, it is difficult to provide role models for these students especially in the area of integrating a specific technology tool. It is great learning tool to have them watch success stories of other students using their devices. (I included one on my blog). I think I may start a collection of these videos.

Mr. Dudley... said...


Meebo didn't require me to download any application (like AIM). I just had to create a login at their website. Sorry to hear Plugoo was such a hassle!


Mrs. Kiernan said...


I'm not quite sure how the teacher in my building is planning on using podcasting yet. What I have gathered is she will have the students practice reading their writing and then posting it. From what I understand it seems more like an audioblog??? Once school starts up I'll try to get you more info... you may have to email me to remind me!!


Brooke said...

I have to say that I tried to do some podcasting earlier this year but found it much more difficult than I thought it would be. I have a pc and no server space at school to house the audio files. Audacity was complicated to download because you had to add an additional file to it. I also found it tricky to find a reliable place to house the files online. I tried evoca but was unable to add it to a podcast in a form where it could be downloaded. I also tried another service (I can't remember off the top of my head now what it was)but I had all kinds of problems uploading my files. I am wondering if anyone has tried it with sucess? I had recorded students reviewing books and thought it would be fun to have children be able to hear their peers' recommendations.

Ms. DiTusa said...

WOW! Podcasting – too much for me at the moment but very thought-provoking!

First, I’d like to comment on the article from The Seattle Times about iPods as an educational tool:

“At some schools, the rules are clear: Kids can listen to downloaded music on portable players, but once they're inside, iPods and other learning distractions must be stowed in backpacks or lockers and kept there.

At Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington, Va., Camilla Gagliolo took another approach. Rather than fighting the fad, she is capitalizing on it by giving students iPods and re-imagining them as a learning tool.

‘It just makes so much sense. They are so drawn to this technology. They are so excited by it. They're comfortable with it,’ said Gagliolo, the school's technology coordinator.

‘This is the kind of technology they use for their daily lives. If schools want to reach today's learners, they can't ignore it,’ said Don Knezek, chief executive of the International Society for Technology in Education, based in Washington, D.C., and Eugene, Ore.

In this class, when I first started seeing the use of iPods, cell phones, etc. as part of the learning process, my first concern was the same as was stated above – our school does not allow these items to be used in school. There are students texting during class, taking pictures with their cell phones, listening to iPods during instruction, just to name a few problems, so the use of these items is restricted. We may be sending mixed messages when we tell the students that they cannot use them all the time, just in certain situations. On the other hand, if the school’s policy changes in order to allow their use, then the teachers have to be even more diligent in policing how and when students are using them. At this time, though, I don’t think that our school’s policy is going to change, so I will have to explore ways of incorporating some of this technology without it becoming an issue with parents, teachers, and administrators.

I do, however, agree with the statement from Don Knezek about how we cannot ignore the technology because students use it constantly in the outside world; it has already become second-nature to today’s youth, even though it is still virtually brand new to those of us who grew up without computers being every where we turned. When teachers were learning about a wonderful new program called PowerPoint and were ooohhhing and aaaahhhing over the visually-pleasing way of presenting material (while at the same time panicking about being able to learn how to use it), well, the kids had already been making presentations at home, just for fun. So, teachers embraced PowerPoint, worked with it as a teaching tool, utilized it as a presentation option for student work, learned more from the kids than they learned from us, became comfortable with it, and, I hate to say it, overused it to the point where students are now bored by it. We need to make the most of other options, whether we use blogging, vlogging, podcasting, videocasting, and whatever comes into existence in the next week.

Some teachers, particularly those who have been teaching for many years, feel a bit uncomfortable and even somewhat resentful that they have to resort to bells and whistles in order to engage our students…but we do. That’s the world now, and we have to roll with the changes, no matter how intimidating the concept of change is. Just watch MTV for a few minutes (let’s not discuss the content…we won’t even go there right now) and see how the technology is being applied. As you watch certain videos, you can view kids dancing along with it; they create their own podcasts of the dance routines (or videologs – sorry if I’m confusing the two). There is also a new show that is tailored to viewer feedback; their comments appear on the screen along with their podcast, blog, vlog, or picture. Some contact information is there as well, by the way. These examples are just some ways in which our students are using technology naturally, easily, effortlessly in everyday life. They are far ahead of the educational process in this sense.

And now for the more optimistic aspects…soap box aside for now…

In the aforementioned article, a student commented about how he and his classmates read aloud parts of books to show why they like them. I absolutely love this idea because kids, particularly reluctant readers, are constantly asking for something “good” to read. Though I can make suggestions, they would rather hear from their peers because what a 30something-year-old female teacher finds interesting is drastically unlike what an I-hate-reading-and-you-can’t-make-me-like-it 13-year-old boy enjoys. One unit that we explore with the use of literature circles is about survival. At the beginning of the unit, the literacy teacher does book talks, and I have students read aloud the first page of several of the novels in order to pique interest. The students then record the titles of novels that interest them. The best part of this process is that even though they select one novel for the unit, they still read others after the unit ends since they learned a bit about them and heard the first page. I am interested in doing podcasts about books they have read so that their classmates have a resource when they are looking for a “good” book.

I also like how podcasting gives students their own voice. It makes them feel empowered; they take ownership in what they are doing, whether they are reporting about a fieldtrip, delivering a radio broadcast, critiquing a novel, or sharing cultural experiences. Podcasting invites active rather than passive learning, which is especially important for kinesthetic learners and ideal for middle school students. Also, in terms of delivering instruction, teachers can utilize the wide variety of available podcasts in order to connect students to real-world experiences and applications; they can add dimension to what is being taught so that classroom instruction does not exist in a vacuum. Too often, kids ask about why they have to learn about something or how they will ever use what they are learning. If they see a podcast delivered by a presidential candidate as we are learning about public speaking skills, then they can connect theory and practice by critically viewing the speech. If they are learning about sentence fluency, then they can hear the effect of sentence variety in a podcast. If they view a podcast by an author whose work we are reading and have the opportunity to make one in response, then they can experience the writing on a deeper level because of the author’s perspective. The use of podcasts brings the outside world into the classroom, connects students to experts in certain fields and to opinions and views other than their own and those of their teachers, and exposes them to the expansive resources that are readily available to them.