Friday, May 30, 2008

Podcasts Empower Learners

The Education Podcast Network

National Public Radio

Grammar Girl

Wondering what podcasts are and how they can enhance learning.
The Education Podcast Network is a portal for podcasts created by students K-12. It is worth exploring to see what students in all grades and across the content areas are doing with podcasts in their schools. The National Public Radio site enables you to access quality podcasts to integrate into your teaching. As for Grammar Girl, it is the latest rage and a sure
catalyst for boosting grammar and word usage skills, in an entertaining, engaging way. This site is a favorite among teachers, as well as students. Can't remember when to use "affect" versus "effect," what a "comma splice" is, or just want to brush up on skills, Grammar Girl offers "quick and dirty" tips for remembering usage rules. Explore! Explore! Explore! All three sites are top-rated, visited by millions. Add the URLs to your Favorites/Bookmarks, and tell your colleagues to visit, too. After trying any one of the sites, consider how you might use podcasts in your teaching: How can you tape into their power, how can students use them to broaden their learning? Take a few moments to navigate one of the site, and share your responses.

Images from: caliopolis.classcaster.org and joedale.typepad.com

4 comments:

Jennifer G said...

I was able to listen to quite a few of the podcasts. One was very simplistic by a group of 1st graders. They seemed to be reading stories they had written. There was not an intro for this particular podcast so I'm not sure how it will be used. Another one I listened to was by a group of 4th graders. The idea was to track the findings from a pond near the school. There was only 1 entry from January so I'm guessing they did not keep up with making the entries. The podcasts seem to be a kick back to the old time radio shows. I wonder how hard it is to record the podcasts and what is involved in keeping it up and running.

Judy said...

Jenn, thanks for listening to the young children's podcasts. Keep in mind that for these young children reading a story aloud and broadcasting it over the Internet is empowering and motivates literacy skills. We are accustomed to considering the computer as a visual tool, and with the screen in front of us, it might be hard to imagine the power of a podcast, but one can be listened to while walking, in transit in other ways, etc., without a computer monitor even present. It is a bit like having just a set of headphones wired around your head, similar to how many listen to their favorite music. Podcasts are fairly easy to make. Of course if you want to listen to some sophisticated educational ones, NPR does wonderful ones. I can also direct you to some that a social studies teacher did and thereby became a world famous celebrity. (Check back on my blog to winter 2007 for reference to the teacher.) Much depends on the voice of the speaker and other auditory qualities that are added. Still, children enjoy doing them and like the thrill of getting responses from others. Judy

Jennifer G said...

When I have more time I would like to look at the other podcasts. I didn't realize you could respond to them. Do you mean respond through the podcast? Is it interactive? Or do you mean people can respond to the kids about making a podcast- in person?

Judy said...

Jenn, you can respond to a podcast if the podcaster leaves an email address, has a blog, or a wiki. It depends on how the podcast is set up and what it is launched off of. For instance, sites such as NPR will allow listeners to post comments. I can't speak in general about student podcasts. It would depend on how the teacher set up the project. For instance, if I had a podcast integrated into a part of my Blackboard site, you could comment on the podcast. It really depends on the circumstances. I believe webcams will become more popular than podcasts once the equipment to make them is more readily available. The technology to do a podcast is readily available. Webcams, though, integrate the visual component we are accustomed to on the Net. Thus, you have the best of two worlds: visual and auditory, not to forget to mention the possibility of also including movement. Webcams require multiple pieces of equipment, whereas most schools already have the technology to do podcasts, and students also have the technology in their homes; thus, podcasts started catching on several years ago in the school environment.

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