Monday, September 8, 2008

Podcasting in education

Well, I managed to get through my first full day professional development offering (me as presenter) unscathed. Despite forgetting a critical piece of equipment and having to rush home (return trip of 40 minutes) to get it, I really enjoyed the day. It has reinforced to me though that there are a worrying number of teachers out there that have little knowledge or ability with technology - even basic technology. This has reaffirmed that our targeting of PD at this level is warranted.

An unexpected outcome from the day was the interest in my Asus EeePC. Many people were both interested in what it was, some more significantly in how I used it in my teaching. I've posted here previously on the EeePCs usefulness, and as I develop greater competence with it more will come.

My section on the day was podcasting, and essentially the basics of music creation and voice recording. There was a little time for editing and mixing. Many ideas of mine for podcasting in education were related to the group, and they offered as many interesting ideas and uses also. During my presentation, two ideas came to me that I had to try.

When discussing RSS and its ease of use, I related my posting of lesson content which parents and students could set up a feed for at home and be readily updated on lesson materials. As the group was discussing how this could relate to students I thought, why can't the students contribute to the creation of lesson materials. I use an online whiteboard so I can save the work completed, why not have a second one open that the students can contribute to. I could use the end of the lesson to record student interviews where they summarise the lesson and material. I need to think more about involving the students. I'll let you know how it goes.

Then, when showing the groups equipment that can be used, I pointed out that most students carried a voice recorder in the form of a phone. My brain then ticked back to my year 8 class where I was asking them to script and record an interview using either my EeePC or a Sony Voice Recorder I had purchased. At this (inconvenient) point I thought "Why not get them to use their phones at home, then bluetooth it to me?" So I did.

First of all, why bluetooth? Simple, they don't need my phone number to do this. Also it can be done from their phone to my desktop computer.

The most interesting occurrences were;
1. The number of drafts I received increased.
2. All submissions were punctual.

This was a first for me with this class. Some students even recorded a video, one girl interviewing her stuffed toys! I thought I was tapping into their digital lives, but this has taught me I need to let go of my traditions even more and allow them space to experiment. Now I'm off to change that boring workbook assessment item they are to complete next.

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