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Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week 3: Podcasting (Respond by Friday, July 6th)

My good friend the Ninja introduced us to podcasting (if you were absent that day check out the video on the Wiki) and we got a chance to play with Audacity a bit to learn how you could record your own podcast but the question of how we actually use podcasts as teachers might still be lingering for some of you. The research on podcasting in k-12 education is pretty thin due to the fact that it is still a fairly new idea and technology. More and more universities are using podcasting as a way to archive lectures and make them available to students but this isn't really the way I think of using podcasts with k-12 students. I have looked around for articles to share on podcasting but really haven't found anything I want to use just yet. It's easy enough to get a basic definition of what a podcast is and it seems like it makes more sense to me that we spend some time listening to actual podcasts and exploring how teachers and students are making use of this technology. Here is a "vodcast" (a podcast with video, which is a lot like a regular video but you can subscribe to it) on how one group of elementary students creates podcasts in their school. I think the teacher got a little ambitious with the purchase of an audio mixer, special microphones and other optional equipment but I really enjoyed learning about the writing process students go through when they plan their individual podcasts or corners as they call them. You might think these kids seem overly excited about writing and the video only shows them hard at work and on task, but I do wonder if the fact that they get to create a podcast with their writing isn't somehow a motivational factor for them. How might you be able to harness this enthusiasm and use it to teach different types of writing styles and skills through podcasting? If you want to see how the teacher from this class uses podcasts you can check out his blog at and have a listen. To get a better sense of the ways podcasts are being used please look around online for a podcast either created for or by students in your respective grade and/or content area. Share the link to the podcast you find and tell us what you like about it. I would love it if you took the time to add it to our Wiki as well.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Week 2: Blogging in Education (Respond by Friday, June 29th)

I really don't like changing tools midstream like this but I have had too many frustrating experiences with Edublogs over the past few months and this latest interruption of service was the final straw so welcome to my newest Ed Tech blog!

I have included a reading on blogs that you can access by clicking here. You can either read the article online or download a PDF version of it to print. I think this article does a great job of providing a broad overview of blogs and their uses in education. There are a couple things I would like you to respond to after you read through it.

  1. As you think about blogging in your own school what do you see as the biggest challenges or barriers to using blogs with your students? What could you do to overcome those barriers?
  2. Assessment is discussed in the article and I think it can be difficult in some ways to apply our traditional view of assessment on student participation in a blog. Forget about assigning actual grades for a moment and think about what you could learn about an individual student from observing his/her posting and commenting in a blog. How might these observations inform your teaching?
  3. The article provides different examples of blogs in use in education. Take a moment to look at some of those examples online and then search for an example of your own that you think is worth sharing with the group. You can do this by doing a keyword search in Google and then just including the url to the blog you found in your reply. Tell us what you liked about how the blog was being used and why you think it would be beneficial for students.