We spent a good portion of the day looking at, creating, and publishing podcasts. Podcasting is something I have done extensively with my students, so I already feel comfortable with this topic. But I learned a thing or two and that is what's important.
So, let's talk about podcasting a little bit more. Why podcast? What are the possibilities here? What are the benefits?
I think the answer to the first question is simple...why not? If you can get kids to think about a topic, to research a topic, and to "report" on a topic in a whole new way, then why not? They love new technologies because technology is an integral part of their everyday life. Teachers need to capitalize on this more. We, as educators, need to bring our teaching to a different level - one that is entirely different from the way we learned. After all, if we "continue to do what we've always done, we'll continue to get what we've always got." Since kids are using mp3 players everyday, let's show them how they can use them to increase their learning. If they are no longer using pencil and paper to communicate with their friends, why should they have to use pencil and paper to communicate ideas with their teachers? We have to change our way of thinking about teaching because students are thinking about learning differently. Like it or not...change is here. We can either change with it, or die trying to stop it.
So, what are the possibilities with podcasting? The possibilities are endless. Podcasting can bring the simple, mundane things to life. Take poetry for example. I can recite my rendition of the poem "Roses are Red"and it's just a poem. But by putting it in an enhanced podcast with my recorded voice and photos I've actually taken, I claim new ownership for the poem. It becomes unique. It becomes special. It becomes mine! And suddenly I've breathed new life into something that once was old and worn out.
Podcasting gives students an alternative to writing. Ever listen to a student telling a friend a funny story about something that happened to them? Ever have them then write the same story down on paper (or in a word processor)? I guarantee the two would be entirely different. Something happens when we speak that isn't there when we write. Now don't get me wrong...I'm not trying to do away with writing entirely. I love to write and think students need to do more of it! But offering podcasting as an alternative to writing may be what some students need to succeed. Hmm, isn't this a form of differentiated learning?
Podcasting gives students a voice...an avenue for expression that just isn't there on a flat piece of paper. But why limit this to students? Podcasting give me a voice. I can use podcasting to help me teach.
The more I think about podcasting and the more podcasts I listen to, the more I'm convinced that the only limitation to podcasting is one's imagination.
So that leads me to the last question. What are the benefits? Wow! Like the possibilities...the benefits are endless! With a podcast I can learn at my own pace, on my own time frame. And I don't have to keep my learning to myself. I can publish my podcast for others to enjoy (or not enjoy - it's all a matter of opinion). Podcasting opens up a whole new world of learning for me and my students. Each possibility brings unique benefits.
Now...I encourage you to get out there and try it. And as the old adage goes..."Try it...you'll like it!"