March 18, 2009

Trying to Make Podcasting Relevant

I have not jumped on board with podcasting in my personal interest in technology. How old school that I just read blogs! I think the biggest reason is because I can read a lot faster than I can listen, so I save podcasts for airplane rides.

About a year ago I sat in on an infernally long professional development training on creating podcasts on our Macs. You'd think I'd be ecstatic to learn something new on a PD day, but it was trainer was boring and slow, and I was not thrilled at the idea of my students spending so much time creating a podcast when they could just get up in the front of the class and speak to all of us LIVE!

I hate to be so negative about podcasting, but can anyone see my points for not jumping onto the bandwagon?

The last few weeks I've been taking a 1 credit PDE course, of course I'm taking it to move over on the pay scale next year, and now I have to make a podcast that I'll use with my classes or create an example of one I want students to create as a project. I could just make something up, but I really do like to make good use of my time by creating things I might actually use.

Rather than thinking of a stinking simple assignment, I'm thinking of something bigger.

My students read every night. Most of my students don't hate it too much, and I have quite a few whose books I have to take away from them in class so they'll do their work. Last summer, I started a Shelfari group for our students, but it didn't take off that well. I think it would have in the fall, but when everyone came back to school, it started coming up as a blocked site. What we are really lacking is a great way to share books. I don't have a recommend wall in my class like I should. They share word of mouth--and that works pretty well, too.

Wouldn't it be cool for us to have a weekly podcast of recommended books? These podcasts need not be more than a few minutes each. Just tell us why we'd like the book. Over time, we could have quite a collection of book talks that students could refer to when trying to choose a book. I'm pretty sure we could host it on the school site, so all students could enjoy it!

For the logistics...I think for now, I'll require all the students to create one. We'll get over 100 episodes pretty quickly. For next year, it would be a something that each student is assigned to do once during the year. That would be manageable.

What do you think?

Does anyone use podcasting on a regular basis--or for classroom projects?

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