Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Classroom Podcasting in the New Year

This past September, I purchased a new iPod Video. Thousands of them have been bought, and so far it is working fine. My Belkin microphone word fine. I do not like the way it sounds when it is set on stereo. My favorite audio recording device for classroom podcasts is not my iPod and Belkin mic. I prefer recording directly into GarageBand with a USB headphone with mic. My students rehearse their podcast using the built in mic on our classroom iBooks. To prepare for their segment by reading, researching, discussing, and writing about their assignment. If we are introducing a chapter in science, instead of outlining the chapter, or reading it out loud, students are assigned short answer questions and are asked to correctly answer on the tape. I know, you are thinking, but this is nothing more than using technology for as a worksheet.

This criticism is true. However, this is a strategy I have been using with that are reluctant readers. I discovered that when given the proper topic, they can develop questions, and conduct very professional interviews. One that worked for me surfaced last year. Our district developed a student dress code. After the students listened to the newly board approved rules, I turned on the recorder in GarageBand and backed away and just observed. They interviewed each other and discussed their feelings about the new dress code. I was blown away. They did not write a word down, it was all live. After they listened to it, they commented that they wished they had remembered to say "this and that". The teachable moment: I reminded them that a good interviewer makes a list of questions before conducting their interviews. If I had made them write ten questions before they started recording, they would have wined and complained and probably never completed the podcast. So, my constant struggle with having students create podcasts has been pre-writing and rough-draft stuff. My students want immediate gratification. They are all about "playing" with computers, and do not like "doing work." I have used the podcast templates from Willow Radio. I was not able to find the link to their page. Must have been moved.

Try it, you will like it. Bottomline, podcasts are not easy, but the kids like them if they think that someone is listening.

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