The most interesting thing about yesterday’s MassCue Technology Leadership Symposium at least to me, was that two educators came up to me at different times of the day and said the same thing almost verbatim:
I have never seen a technology that has turned my students on more than podcasting.
Seriously…almost verbatim, and kind of out of the blue since I was talking about RSS (though I was hawking my book…I have no shame.) And to both of them I asked why they thought that was. The answer was basically the ease of it, the audience, the ability to hear themselves piping through the speakers wherever they were. And these teachers were downright giddy with the excitement of it all. Very cool.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t “get” podcasting at first, and to be honest, I’m not sure I do still. But that doesn’t much matter, does it? Kids get it, especially elementary kids. And even though it may not be the best tool for conversation (though a blog built around a podcast can help in that) it is a great tool for teaching writing, among other things. That’s the other thing I hear a lot. These kids are really motivated to write and think and prepare these podcasts because they know they are going to be published, that others will hear them. And it’s different strokes with these tools, isn’t it? You don’t like text (like I do) try audio, and if that doesn’t engage you, try video or screencasting or whatever. And there is more to come, don’t forget. We’re only just starting.
Isn’t it cool, however, that in some small measure, the little kids are leading the way???
Tom Hoffman says
I’m surprised by this too, although I believe it. One implication is that we’ve had a longstanding tendency to overshoot in trying to get video in classrooms, that even with iMovie, iDVD, Quicktime streaming servers it creates too much of a technical burden in relation to the benefits, and the relative ease of audio editing and publishing is a much better cost/benefit point. I think a lot of video projects simply run out of steam after they are shot, or edited, and never get effectively published.
Chris Champion says
Will, I’ve started podcasting with my students this year in my classroom. After a rocky technological start (you really DO need a decent headset), I’ve really found that students respond quite well to this. Here’s some of my rules for success:
* Make the podcasting assignment to be done INSTEAD of some other assignment. For my class, I replaced the regular biweekly article review with a biweekly article podcast. Each student finds an article online that pertains to our class, and does a 30-second review in Audacity.
* Communicate the audience statistics with students. NOTHING makes students work harder than authentic work. I have some students who normally do the bare minimum now working carefully to complete their podcast. I report my feedburner stats to students weekly if not more often.
* If you can, find a few students who are willing to do the “production” end. It will make regular podcasts easier on you, the teacher.
* Play the podcasts back to students. They hate to admit it, but they like hearing themselves speak, even if they sound funny.
Feel free to pass on my Podcasting lesson plans and assignment for students at this website:
http://www.cpavts.org/podcast (teachers scroll down)
Beth Knittle says
I attended your presentation at the MassCUE conference, which I enjoyed very much, thank you. When I returned home I found my 6th grade daughter recording her science notes in Garageband. She figures she can listen to her notes on her iPod, she thinks it will be an easy way to study. I figure she listened in class, wrote the notes, now is reading/saying them and then will listen to them. The more ways you access and interact with the material the more likely it will stick with you. I’m not interfering. Kids seem to take it naturally. Some teachers I work with look at me like I am crazy when I mention such a thing. She was motivated by the technology to get out her notes and find a way that works for her, no teacher or parent involvment I am all for that.