Muddling through the blogosphere

August 14, 2007
by blogwalker

It’s Elementary – Podcasting to Bridge the Divide

I logged on to last night’s It’s Elementary just in time to hear guest Wes Fryer talk about some of the research base behind podcasting (for those needing a justification):, i.e., children learn from retelling. From there, it was a continual stream of great discussion and great links. But the last gem came, I think, from Alice, who shared that she converts her class podcasts in Audacity to WAV files and then has her school secretary use their Robo Dial system to send them out to parents via their phones. Amazing! It’s this kind of innovative thinking and dedication to reaching out to all students that will help bridge the digital divide.

ISTE recently posted their findings from the 2007 Summit on Digital Equity: A National Consideration of Digital Equity. We have a ways to go, particularly getting over the four main challenges:

  1. Technology is not valued as an instructional tool
  2. Educators are receiving inadequate technology professional development
  3. A significant number of students with limited access to technology outside of the school remains
  4. Obtaining funding for technology continues to be difficult

Kudos to Alice for seeking solutions to #3. No Internet access needed to listen to a podcast sent home via the phone 🙂

The report also states that “Learning is not about intellectual capability at all, it is about intellectual processeing. Different kids from different cultural groups learn in different ways, just as we as individuals learn in different ways.”……. Still thinking about the Sac Bee’s Tackling Life – part 2 came in today.

March 28, 2007
by blogwalker

Writing to Be Heard (e.g., Podcasting)

I don’t know why it was not obvious to me that writing to be heard is different from writing to be read. Miguel Guhlin‘s recent post Podcasting as Writing was a huge “ah-ha” for me. I’ve already tagged and printed out the article he references by Nancy Updike. I was barely past Nancy’s statement “I had to stop writing the way I thought I should, and start writing closer to the way I think and speak; the words had to fit me, so that I could read them out loud,” when I reached for the highlighting pen and starting underlining not just the parts about “better writing through radio” but also the parts that make clear to me why I was having a hard time recording my own writing.

Writing to be heard is its own genre with its own set of rules. In a nutshell, I realize that outside of emails, I don’t write the way I speak. Hence, when the microphone is on, I stumble through my written script.

I like Miguel’s summary:

  • Think of podcasting as story-writing.
  • Hook ’em fast and hard.
  • Frontload the drama.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the questions floating through your head during an interview.
  • Write simply

From Miguel’s and Nancy’s excellent tips, I headed over to NPR. As a commuter, I spend at least 2 hours a day in the car. A highlight of my commute is being able to catch an NPR This I Believe audio essay. Of the many I have listened to, each one draws me in, with one story as compelling as the next. The first story to pop up on the NPR site today was Living What You Do Every Day. Yep, it follows the suggestions (rules) listed above, including one Miguel did not include: “Try writing a host intro before starting to write the opening of the story.  That will help you sort out what should go in the story’s set-up, versus how the story itself should start.”

After listening to a few more from the This I Believe collection (and with a vow to listen to one-per day from now on), I’m adding a few more suggestions to the list:

  • Short sentences are good.
  • Don’t use a 25 cent word when a 5 cent one will work
  • Contractions are ok to use
  • Active verbs are easier to understand than passive
  • Highlight and mark up your script so you know which words/phrases you were intending to emphasize

Next on my do-write list: a PowerPoint on Podcasting as Genre:-)
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March 2, 2007
by blogwalker

Electric Pen Chosen as Tech Learning Site of the Week

Kevin Hodgson‘s Electric Pen classroom weblog site provides teachers with a window into Web 2.0 possibilities at the elementary level. It is also Tech Learning‘s site of the week. What a well-deserved recognition! Kevin is my friend, mentor, and also a fellow NWP Tech Liaison. I’ve had the good fortune to join him in the Youth Radio project, a project he developed to connect students across the nation, and now across the world, in blogging and podcasting about thoughts, stories, and issues in their own communities.

Kevin mentors and inspires teachers as well as students. His SciFi novel in Six Words wiki, for example, was my first experience with collaborative writing in a wiki. Whatever learning adventure he is sponsoring, I know it will be worth the learning curve – which he manages to keep to a comfortable minimum.

Kevin’s projects serve as examples on the “New Bloom,” an updated version of Bloom’s Taxonomy, which points towards technology-enhanced activities as the means for taking students beyond “Remember” (the old “Knowledge).

Yeah Kevin!
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January 21, 2007
by blogwalker

Demystifying the Flash Player Thingie

I love being a part of the YouthRadio community. This project is wonderful professional development piece for me. Our fearless leader Kevin just explained to our teacher group how to embed a flash file so listeners do not exit the site when listening to one of the student podcasts. Let me see if I can embed the latest podcast from Jim Faires’ students.

Butler Students Look Forward to the NewYear and Beyond

January 14, 2007
by blogwalker

Classroom Blogging – Need a Rationale?

I’ve added a new site to my Bloglines reader: EdTech Live. SteveHargadon has created a bank of podcasts about the power of Web 2.0. I’m listening right now to his December interview with Will Richardson. I’ve shared many times Will’s video with teachers during my Weblogs in the Classroom workshop, but through Steve’s interview I am hearing how Will came on board with blogging – starting with the insights of Pat Delaney, my NWP colleague and mentor – who also brought me into the blogosphere. The word I keep hearing is transformative. Through Web 2.0 I believe the potential is there, but we are just at the tip of the iceberg. Quote from Will: “Once you read, then you have things to blog about.”

January 13, 2007
by blogwalker

Podcasting for the Absolute Beginner

I am very glad I had the opportunity to hear Carol Anne McGuire’s inspiring presentation – Podcasting for the Absolute Beginner – at last week’s MacWorld conference in SF. Thanks to Wes Fryer, her presentation is now online. Carol Anne is an Apple Distinguished Teacher, a well-deserved award for the outstanding work she is doing with visually impaired students.

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