Saturday, October 01, 2005

Reflection: Using Podcasts in the Classroom

Here is something I learned and wanted to share it with my readers that may be are working with podcasts like I am in the classroom. I am interested in converting student audio files from AAC to mp3. I know audiophiles will think I am crazy, because AAC has better sound quality than mp3, and smaller file size, but I am looking for a simple portable way for my students to be able to create their own podcasts when they leave my class. I am looking at an online service that is in alpha testing that might fit the bill. I have agreed not to talk about the alpha testing in my blog, so for now, let’s just say if the cost of this service is not too high, it has great potential. My ultimate educational goal in teaching my students to podcast is much more complex and challenging than my instructional goals.

From an instructional point of view, my kids could be using our dusty cassette recorders to record podcasts. Which might not be a bad idea. I overheard one of my best students tell his classmate that he was going to go to Walmart when he went home from his group home and buy him a microphone to use on his mom's computer to record his own podcasts. Well, that spoke volumes. He is now self-motivated to learn, to explore new avenues of expression. Through experiencing podcasting in our classroom, he is now excited about the potential of his knowledge and to me, in my humble opinion is what education is really all about. He is now the expert. Before we started podcasting, this student had never experienced success in the classroom. I am not at liberty to tell how awful this child's educational history is on paper. Let's just put it this way, if he were my child, I would not be able to hold my head up in public. However, he is now a leader in my classroom. It is like magic. Technology and consistent positive feedback from his peers about it speaking voice, and the since of accomplishment is really what has produced the changes I have witnessed. I have to keep it in prospective because, in talking to his social studies teacher, I have discovered he is not doing well in her class. So, my next goal is to convince his social studies teacher to let him create podcasts about what he is learning in her class as well! BAMM—LET”S STEP IT UP A NOTCH!!!! in the words or the chef Emeril Legasse.

This idea of empowering students to create their own voice in what they are thinking and ultimately learning goes along with helping them become life long learners. If they are auditory learners, the spoken word is invaluable to them. Podcasting helps them find that voice and no matter where they end up in life, being able to communicate is going to be a tremendous skill for them to have.

No comments: