Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Podcasting in K-12 Schools...uh huh.

In an article on Ed Week 12/7/05 , it suggests that podcasting is coming to a school near you! It supports podcasts as being able to help kids improve their vocabulary, writing, editing, public speaking and presentation skills. I can see that. If a super-organized teacher is having students research and write a script, or prepare interview questions, and record them on thrir iPods I can certainly expect it to lead to high levels of motivation and improved skills. It is also cool because you can send the hyperlink of your podcast to people you care about and they can enjoy your work also. Cool. I am all about excited students engaging in constructivist style lessons who are getting into the Csikszentmihalyi "flow" of things. Really. I am.

Here are a couple of rubs. Have you ever actually tried to produce a podcast? Also, have you ever tried to upload large amounts of content to a school web site via a computer on your school network? You real teachers out there see where I'm going. 1) This is going to involve a lot more than a dedicated teacher and excited group of kids. It will require unprecedented access to the school network. (at least relative to the districts I am familiar with) 2) It is also going to require lots of time that is not typically available to egg carton scheduled schools. The past time I produced a podcast (which for those of you who continue to think I am a luddite because i like FULL and honest conversations about using technology in aschools...I actually did) it took MANY steps to produce. First you have to have something to say that matters, next you record your .WAV file onto your iTalk which is attached to your iPod, then you set your iTunes software properly (44 KHz/16 Bit) in order to appropriately download the feed to your computer, I then had to send it out to Garage Band in order to get it into an MP3 format before it could actually be used as a podcast. This was not easy and I predict it will be EONS until real teachers use this form of publishing in its current form. <>

Let me end by saying that I think podcasting is cool. I intend to get involved in it. I subscribe to several and particularly like the work of David Warlick in this area. The point of this post is (which I expected the point of the whole "edtechnot thing" to be) is that it aint' gonna be easy for a while and you need to consider the ups and downs of this ed tech. Don't let Uber-early-adopters make you feel bad on this one. When it gets easier though.....I say go for it, while keeping in mind all of the privacy issues associated with posting kids thoughts and ideas on the Web.

Jim :-)

No comments: