Our first podcasts are ready to make their debut! What's a podcast, you ask? It's an audio file that you can listen to on the internet and/or download to an mp3 player and listen to on the go. It can be anything from a 10 second audio sound-byte to an hour-long radio show.
So, here's what we did...together with Ms. Barnes class, groups of four students wrote a script about a topic we learned about in social studies class. Then they recorded themselves reading the script. I handled the technical stuff this time (they'll learn more about editing, mixing, adding music, uploading, and subscribing before their time with me is done) and voila! The first four podcasts are now available for you to listen to right here on the blog.
There's a podcast player for our podcast "channel" (creatively titled Radio Free UPrep) on the right side of the page. If you click the word "POSTS" it'll give you a list of our most recent episodes. Simply select the one you want and it'll start to play automatically.
This little player is a new toy provided by Gcast.com . I've never used it before, so there may be bugs to work out.
There are a total of eight podcasts. I'll upload the next four soon. This week, students worked on even more of them so there's more on the way!
The nice thing about podcasts is that they're kind of like blogs in that you can subscribe to them. This can be done through iTunes or through a homepages such as iGoogle or My Yahoo or My MSN. Or you can receive automatic email updates each time a podcast is added. Just click the words "GET PODCAST" on the Gcast player and you'll be taken to step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Of course, I'll also be mentioning them in the blog every time we add a new one. Or, if you want to download them directly to listen to on a portable player or to preserve for posterity, you can do so on the class homepage starting Monday.
The only remaining question to answer, I think, is "Why Podcast?" I think it's a great way for students to showcase what they've learned. It allows them to express what they've learned in a creative way. And it's fun. The kids are so engaged when we work on these. They really get into it and that's how I know it will help them comprehend and retain the material. On top of that, it's a technology that's becoming widespread both in society and education. Radio stations, news organizations and more publish podcasts. College professors upload their lectures or study guides as podcasts to help their students. It's not a fad, it's here to stay.
If you'd like to learn more about podcasts or need help listening to ours, let me know. I'd be glad to help.