Why I love podcasts and podcasting

April 22, 2009 at 10:14 am | Posted in Collaboration, Links, Podcasting, Podcasts, Professional Development, Resources, Web2.0 | 2 Comments
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I’ve just returned from a stimulating walk/run to and around Retiro Park. It’s a beautiful spring day, paths not too crowded and as I took in some physical exercise I was working my mind as well listening to podcasts on my iPod. I love this and have been doing it for years, on the way to school, around the track at Dover High School, on the gym treadmill, along the beach and now around Retiro Park. It’s a great combination- simultaneous mind and body exercise.podcasting

But I didn’t start with the exercise. I started with a Podcasting workshop three years ago using Audacity. It was easy to do and fun and I was psyched to use it immediately in my grade 3 classroom. So I searched online for examples of podcasting in other classrooms for inspirational ideas. I found Bob Sprankle’s Room208 podcast– one of the best uses of podcasting I’ve ever found. Bob also kept a blog sharing how he podcasts and other related educational insights. Around that time he also started the Seedlings podcasts with Cheryl Oakes and Alice Barr, two other Maine educators. I recommend going into the archives and listen to all the Bit by Bit and Seedlings podcasts.

Anyway, while walking today I was listening to the WholeChildEducation.org podcasts. I’ll have to save many of the brilliant ideas I heard for other posts, but the main points that stood out today are:

•    “Learning is the constant, time is the variable”- in other words we need to focus on best practices for student learning, not on schedules. We also need to move to authentic, integrated learning.

•    Education, schools and caring for our children can best be improved by engaging the community- parents, businesses, teens, and citizens. Everyone needs to get on board. (I also heard this point emphasized by Ewan McIntosh at a workshop in London recently.)

I found the WholeChild podcasts from @Keytech on Twitter who posted this, “EBOOK Engaging the Whole Child: Reflections on Best Practices in Learning, Teaching, and Leadership FREE at http://blog.genyes.com/

But back to podcasts and personal learning. Professionally, I was a lurker for a long time, listening and soaking up ideas and experiences. When I gradually began engaging with others by commenting on blogs and contributing through this blog and on Twitter last summer I moved from a listener/reader to an engaged member of my personal learning network.

As a teacher, after that first workshop I immediately began a podcast with my students. The best thing that came from using podcasting in the classroom was my reluctant writers began asking to stay in at recess to finish writing a story or article that they wanted to record and upload to our site. Writing and speaking became integrated regularly into all subjects and I was holding writing mini-lessons during content area activities.

As a listener, I subscribe to several podcasts so that when new recordings are uploaded, they are automatically downloaded to my iTunes library and then synced to my iPod.

There are many podcasts I listen to, but these are my top favorites:

Room208 Bob Sprankle’s class podcasts
Seedlings and Bit by Bit
SOS Podcast, OnDeck Podcast
K12 online Conf workshops (NECC for example- in fact, anytime a conference records and shares workshops/keynotes, it’s free PD)
EdTech Talk
November Learning
Ted Talks
Notes from Spain, A Year in Europe (both are currently not updating, but all worth a listen)
NPR: This American Life, This I Believe, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
iTunes Univ
Audio Books purchased and downloaded from iTunes Store (I recently listened to Bram Stoker’s Dracula during a winter trip around central Europe)

Please recommend/share your favorite podcasts!



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  1. I am addicted as well!

    Here is my latest that deals with educational leadership graduate programs led by Scott McLeod talking with three other professors from around the US: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/uceacastle/2009/04/20/4-Guys-Talking-Episode-4

    As for current events and great discussions, Tom Ashbrook’s On Point is wonderful: http://www.onpointradio.org/

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for your suggestions- I’ll definitely add those to my library!

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