Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Session 5

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


and the most recent comments from this Summer are 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 'simplistic 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 in S5 & S6.

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: (http://www.plugoo.com/, or http://www.meebome.com/learnmore.html )

John D. (a past participant) mentions his success here.

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 (October 14th), so please post it under Session 4's entry when you are completed.

Good luck and podcast away!

PS-You may find a back-up copy of S5 here.

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by davefontaine1


KAS Librarian said...

Just a quick initial thought--I am a huge fan of podcasts, but so far I have only been a listener. Being overseas means working a little harder for entertainment sometimes, and I do all my work with NPR in the background now that I have discovered their podcasts. Just like home.

But now I see iTunesU. How amazing! Thomas Friedman's The World if Flat 3.0 is downloading now.

I guess one thing I have realized during this class is that the focus is on everyone's learning, both ours and the students'. I could call it modeling lifelong learning and such, but for me it is just fun. Perhaps that is what the best learning is, and a good reminder of how I hope the students feel.

J Wilson said...

Comments Session #5
The prospect of podcasting is very exciting. The hard part is thinking of where to use it in the curriculum and what is worthy of being published on the web. Audio recording is not the hard part, and even video recording is done regularly now. What is our target audience and how will we present these new broadcasts? Some people feel that blogs are a lot of show and tell and not really advancing learning. Terry Freedman interviewed Paul Knight who mentioned that “some people blog to show off,…,many people blog their new baby, dog or favourite pet, …but when you add film it gives your blog a new depth”.
I have so many possible scenarios in my head; I don’t know where to start. Last year I worked with a class to videotape the students’ book reviews. After we showed them to the class, the parents wanted to see them too. Since the teacher was nervous about putting them on the web, I burned a CD which could be signed out and taken home. The response was so positive that this year the teacher said she would like to publish them on the Internet. So I am planning on video-taping and creating video podcasts for this year’s reviews. We are not ready to start this yet.
I am particularly interested in the concept of school “radio shows”, a term that both Dai Thomas and Will Richardson used when talking about students podcasting. I am not sure yet how we would create a situation where it could evolve into a regularly broadcast show. I am trying to figure out how my computer class could produce meaningful podcasts, rather than just posting an audio recording for the sake of calling it a podcast. I have found with our class blog that unless there is a grade associated with the student comments, many of the responses are one-liners and contain chat icons, etc rather than thoughtful and worthwhile sentences. Maybe if there was a genuine audience they would feel compelled to produce content that would demonstrate good communication skills and organization. I am going to make a list of possible school events or tours that they might be able to virtually perform that would be of interest to our school population. That is my "I wonder question" for this week.
Although the idea of the screen capture format was not new to me, I did not know that Microsoft offered a free software program that would allow me to create my own screencast for free! On page 122 of his book, Will Richardson outlines how to download Windows Media Encoder and use it. That is something I would like to try.
There are so many new things to try, it takes time to initiate an idea, plan the components and then put it all together. At this point I want to try something on a small scale and hopefully involve teachers and students in something that will be successful, so that they will want to try more the next time.

dgcap said...

Comments Session #5
I was really excited to hear that Podcasting was going to be the focus for this section. It is another tool in our new age tool box that we can use to help reach out to both students and parents.

I have listened to many podcasts though Itunes before (go apple!) and now, using garageband (an apple app.) I plan on creating podcasts with my students. My initial thought, which I'll be trying in a few weeks, is to have students "read" their writing pieces into the computer, which I'll then turn into a podcast and post on our class website. This will 1) get students to work on their reading fluency, 2) motivate them to care more about what they write, and 3) connect parents to our classroom (never before have they gotten to hear what their children read, unless it was at an author's night). My goal is to do this with most, if not all of their final writing pieces.

I also intend on doing video podcasting of my students doing a "news report" of what they learned during our science units. Students will be required to write a script, and then give a 3-5 minute newscast of what they learned in science this unit. I'll video tape the news casts and then post them on our class website as well. I worried about posting them on the web too Wilson, however I solved my problems by sending home permission slips that the parents had to sign. I also made my site accessible only by password (so it's a little more secure).

The idea having students listen to podcasts and having a school radio show are entertaining. But currently in my position, (at the elementary level) many students, because of their age and level of responsibility do not have their own mp3 players where they could be required to download an educational podcast. What I'll have to do is find podcasts from different podcast directories and download them onto our class computer so that students can listen to them in small groups.

There are certainly an endless list of possibly opportunities to use/make podcasts in the classroom. I look forward to finding new ways to use this new tool in my classroom and motivating students to use it!

Anonymous said...

Pam Hurt
On Podcasts...

Like kas librarian...I’d like to leave a quick comment…

Last spring, I was on the road, half listening to NPR as I tried to crunch my “must-dos” into a hectic day. When the commentators’ conversation turned to recollections and responses to Holden in Salinger's CATCHER IN THE RYE, though, I knew I NEEDED this ‘audio’ for my classes, as we were in the midst of reading and analyzing this novel. Some students really “got it,” but others had little patience with the book’s protagonist, regarding him as too self-absorbed, someone who needed just to move on (this, before they’d completed the work).

This audio clip provided alternative views & commentaries by other adults, as well as young people, reacting to Holden as a young man embroiled in the problems of his time, place, and age. The speakers responded with sympathy, but the adults also noted how they could now appreciate the book’s remarkable humor.

I located the podcast on NPR online & downloaded it to our class blog…which is linked to my FHS Chats blog. I must admit that this was my first real experience of incorporating a podcast into my classroom learning, but I found that the combination of podcast & blog worked extremely well. It’s something I will explore further…especially with the wealth of sources that have been introduced this session.

T Weinberg said...

Session #5 comments
During this week’s readings I was most intrigued by some of the remarks in Ewan McIntosh’s piece in Terry Freedman’s Coming of Age. Some of our Language arts teachers are interested in using online portfolios for student writing, and one of the options being considered is a blog. McIntosh wrote “the concept of a blog as a portfolio of work is bizarre for me: it’s setting your work up to be reinterpreted when, with the finished products of a portfolio, you want to present, for better or for worse, a final version of your thoughts”. However, I think that with student work it is not a bad thing for the student to comment on why they included a piece of writing, or for the teacher or other students to offer constructive criticism or another point of view.

McIntosh also wrote about Wisdom versus Knowledge, which is an issue that I constantly struggle with as a library media specialist. Sometimes it is hard to convince a teacher of the need for students to learn to critically evaluate the information they obtain, as opposed to just getting the answers and turning it into a presentable end product. To that end I liked the idea mentioned in one of our resources of teaching students to search for useful podcasts, rather than just assigning them to listen to ones that the teacher has found.

I tried out several websites to locate podcasts, and preferred Podcast Alley by a wide margin due to the helpful descriptions. Unfortunately I don’t really enjoy listening to podcasts because I can’t skim ahead to the parts I am most interested in – I much prefer reading for information. I think podcasting can be quite engaging for most students, but it is worthwhile to remember that there may be a few students who are visual learners such as myself and don’t absorb audio material as well. Putting aside my personal preferences, many of the podcasting ideas mentioned this week seemed workable, particularly those for learning other languages. I also stumbled upon some worthwhile rubrics for podcasts in the course of this week’s explorations. Even in the few podcasts that I listened to it seemed that the quality of the recording and of the content varied quite a bit, to the extent that I wished someone else had applied a rubric and rated them so that I could locate the better ones more quickly. But I suppose I should demonstrate some of my own information literacy skills in locating those myself.

I empathize with Jane Wilson’s search for meaningful podcasting projects so that we don’t end up just providing a platform for students to listen to themselves instead of actually learning. I also liked Dgcap’s ideas for using podcasting, and thought he had some great reasons for using podcasting to have students read their own writing.

Lastly, I spent some time looking at the piece on wikis, although it seemed out of place this week. I have used them a little and am looking forward to exploring them further and beginning some new wiki projects this year.

PDLibrarian said...

Enjoyed the videos and the reading on podcasting, and have been trying to think of ways to use it in the K-5 setting. One thought is that many of our classes do research on animals for an annual 'Robotics Park" event. It would be very cool to do a video podcast, or even just an audio podcast that we could put on a "Robotics Park Blog" for the event. We could give all participating classes and area, and feature the children talking about their subject (animal). One totally different idea, (but I have a few questions about this one...) I could approach our Reading teachers who are working with kids whose reading is below grade level. Perhaps if there were a specific item that the kids had to read and be responsible for, we could have someone read that item and post it as an audio - podcast so that the child could read along while listening to the content -much like they would a recorded book. There may be copyright issue here- it may be considered a violation of copyright law for us to make our own tape?? I'm hoping that "educational use" would help us out here, but wonder if any colleagues can comment on this...

I was swayed by the Richardson piece about wiki's- I had already cautioned my students not to rely totally on the information found in Wikipedia, but his view is so optimistic that I feel more positive about it as a source of information. Still, I think it a good idea to have them use it as a place to start research, that then branches out to other sources.

Also, an update on my Deliverable #2, the "Battle of the Books Wiki" for our district:


I am currently in a discussion with our district tech director about how to make it safe. This is leading to a discussion about our teaching an elementary version of "ISafe" (a program used to teach kids about being safe on the internet-we use it in our middle schools)as we begin to ask them to use Web 2.0 tools- a great direction for us to go in and a good discussion to have.

pstevens said...

I know that helping my teachers integrate digital audio files into their classroom instruction is just the beginning, but it allows the students to listen to their own and their peers’ voices as they share their own perspectives. In Pam Hurt’s example, podcasts have allowed her students to listen to a professional perspective, not just read it. Hearing another’s voice is powerful; Jane Nichol’s Adventures in Podcasting podcast describes the research that supports our students’ need to understand oral literacies. Her research supported what I often encounter in my own classroom. As an English teacher, I recognize that many students lack an inner voice that includes dynamic inflections and eloquence of speech. When they read aloud or speak in front of their peers, they berate themselves for not being “good” public speakers, but they have little experience listening to and analyzing “good” examples. The more often our students listen to people who speak well and express their perspectives in a way that makes other want to listen to them, the better speakers (and students) they become.
I was visiting a class just today, in which the students were researching a topic on their laptops for a psychology project. I saw a student who was supposed to be working with his partner but wasn’t very engaged. I suggested to him that he find some podcasts that would relate to their topic. It was a simple suggestion, but the response to his Google search brought hundreds of options for their topic. He quickly began sorting through those that he thought his classmates might want to hear. Research need not only be print.
GCast.com allows users to create a free podcast hosting account. Two teachers are now using the site to provide a place that their students can publish their audio files; the next step would be to allow the students to publish their playlists with the RSS feed. This is a really exciting option for our students.
When I listened to some of the Boilercasts from Purdue, I immediately thought of one teacher who already asked me if he would be able to record each class and post it for his students. We do not have whole class recording systems, but certainly we can arrange a less-expensive way to do the same thing! I also recognize the potential challenges that may arise with such recordings; some students may try to sabotage the recordings in any number of ways. But it is a start to a new way to thinking about education.
There were so many great resources in this session; they were quite timely, too, as I was learning some of the ins and outs of using Audacity in our classrooms! Thanks!