Our First Podcast!

Bravo to 7th grade science teacher Rebeccah Haines and her Osprey Team Science podcasters! They have successfully created 2 podcasts: an egghunt announcement and thoughts by one student on what she learned in her frog dissection. I am awed by the some of the first fruits of our NCAECT group.  I can’t take credit for any of this either (which thrills me).  I only found out about it as I scrolled through my Google Reader and caught her post.  Way to go guys!

Mrs. Haines used Gcast to generate these podcasts. It’s simple and easy and includes free hosting for the recordings. Here is some more info straight from Gcast:

  • Record messages by phone (never touch a computer!)
  • Upload MP3 files from your computer
  • Add “podsafe” songs from GarageBand.com
  • Mix all the above with our online playlist manager
  • Our Playlist Manager helps you organize and mix audio from a range of sources. It’s easy for beginners yet flexible enough for advanced users.Every audio file you add to your account, whether a phone recording, a GarageBand.com song, or an MP3 from your own computer, starts out in your Master Playlist. From there you can copy it to other playlists and you can publish individual audio files or entire playlists to your podcast channel.When you publish a playlist, our system automatically mixes the audio files into one continuous MP3 file for your podcast.
  • Introducing the easiest way to record a podcast. Just call 1-888-65-GCAST, enter your ID and PIN code, and start recording!After you record, you’ll have two options:
    • Save & publish: your recording will be automatically added to your podcast channel.
    • Save without publishing: your recording will appear as a new audio file in your Master Playlist, where you can move, mix, and publish it later.

Start a phone-based audio journal of your life. Record your new baby’s voice. Podcast jokes, tips, deep
thoughts, or whatever. Record a “voice intro” before a song. If you’re a musician, leave phone messages for
your fans to share stories from the road or new lyrics from the studio. Your imagination is the limit!

  • The Gcast player can be embedded into any web page, giving your listeners instant gratification. Fans can also check out past episodes and subscribe to your podcast channel.
  • Besides your own website, you can encourage other people to embed your podcast into their websites. All you need to do is to copy and paste a few lines of HTML. The player can be configured to play automatically,or wait for users to press play.

Wow! Easier than Audacity which I began learning about yesterday. Thanks to free resources like Gcast, the shackles of proprietary and complex software are falling away. Let the learning begin!

UPDATE:  I finished my first podcast yesterday.  I decided to do an enhanced podcast of the 5th grade visit to our school.  Each day this week, a different group of 5th graders visited our school.  They were paired up with a 6th grade buddy and shadowed them all day long.  I took photos and made a Photo Story of them.  I created the first and last slides in PowerPoint and exported them as GIFs.  The music is free from podsafeaudio.com.  The interview was recorded straight into Audacity, edited, and then exported as an MP3.  Put it all together and I made my first podcast!  I’m not 100% thrilled with it because I am obviously too loud.  I guess I could have split the tracks so my volume could be adjusted more but the tone of my voice is very high and overpowering.  I have a lot to learn but I don’t think it’s too bad for a 1st run!

NCAECT 2007–The Rumblings of Change

The conference was wonderful but even better is the excitement our teachers are bringing back to school.  I love hearing them talk about podcasting, digital storytelling, wikis, and blogs.  It’s the language of the future and I am ready to lead the charge along with these teachers to bring change to our school.   Our battle cry, “NO MORE WORKSHEETS!”

Hopefully we will present at an upcoming faculty meeting but I hope that they will lead by example on their grade levels and their teams.  Thanks to our fearless leader, Mrs. Kreuser, change is rumbling in the distance.  Unlike some storms, this one doesn’t have to be unpleasant or unwelcome.  I do believe that once the storm passes, the sweet smell of a new way of thinking and teaching will refresh us and take us into the future where students are well-prepared as 21st Century learners.

I look around and see that there is so much to be done.  I am encouraged by my principal to look at where we’ve come from and to rejoice in the good that’s happening.  I appreciate that about her.   She is right–there is a lot of good happening here.  Our labs are full 95% of the time.   Teachers are becoming more and more comfortable with technology and it’s not just because of me.  We have some superstar teachers who are fearless in their technology integration and who are willing to share their courage with others.

I heard a lot at the conference about how no one seems to have answers on what it will take to bring change.  The answers are here.  They are in us.  They are in every spark of an idea that comes to fruition in problem-solving products by students.  Every time a teacher shares his/her idea with another teacher and that teacher in turn takes steps to bring that idea to pass in the classroom.  The answers are in every administrator who stands in budget meetings telling the story of technology usage and needs in our schools in the face of a skeptical audience.  The answers are in every storyteller and teacher in the blogosphere who pass on their knowledge to one more person.   We are the ones who will bring change and we must keep doing what we’re doing.  We must continue to be vocal, telling our lawmakers the story.  If we continue, we will also grow louder and we will be heard.  I have to believe that.

NCAECT 2007–First Impressions

I started this morning with a wonderful keynote from Will Richardson. Here are some quotes that really stood out to me:

  • Is content king in our classrooms? Is learning taking a backseat? Why are we teaching state capitols?
  • Kids need editorial skills to be able to process the content they encounter on the web. They must be good researchers so they’ll know when to question what they see/hear.
  • There are teachers out there (adult and youth). We must connect and be willing to listen to one another, be willing to engage in conversations.
  • Our students work should have wings!! They don’t care what happens to those piles of worksheets once they’ve done them because they seem them as meaningless when they have a global audience online. When we let them publish, they see the true purpose of the assignment and their work has wings. True learning will occur!

I feel like I could sit at David Warlick’s and Will Richardson’s feet for years. I must say that I feel like I am on par with losing my digital accent though. There were only a couple of tools Will presented in his first session this morning that I wasn’t familiar with. I am so excited for my teachers who are here. They are learning so much and I think their minds are reeling.