Podcasting Made Easy

I’m halfway through putting together a series of audio pieces on the poet Gwen Harwood for my Year 12 Literature class; it will be a mix of students reading the poems, to students and teachers discussing the poems: Harwood; the album! I enjoy listening to podcasts, and have tried making them in the past, with limited success.

Maybe I’m a frustrated broadcaster at heart. Okay, I am a frustrated broadcaster. Maybe I just want to justify buying one of those cool retro Snowball Microphones. Okay, that too! But there’s something powerful and intimate and compelling about audio done well, and it matches beautifully with poetry.

This slideshare from Andi Kenuam shows how to get started. There’s more at Free Technology for Teachers

Andrew Douch on redefining classroom

I was at a network meeting this week where Andrew Douch presented on ‘Redefining classroom’.

Andrew is an innovative classroom teacher who has been the recipient of several big awards, including 2008 Microsoft Australia Innovative Teacher of the Year.

A Biology teacher in a regional High School, Andrew traced his personal journey with learning technologies, with a particular focus on podcasting. He began with a class website, added a discussion board the next year, got into podcasting his course (he now gets around 30,000 downloads per episode) and finally into using SMS, Voicemail, Skype, mobile phones and Ning.

I could almost feel the reservations in the school leaders in the audience around me (‘hmm, but what if…’ and ‘there’s no way that I could get that going with my teachers’ etc…). Douch is a charismatic character and obviously loved by his students but he freely admits he’s also been given great freedom in his role as an ‘innovator’.

However, the mood changed when he put up his Biology results as seen in VCE scores: almost all his students above the ‘expected’ grade and a clear and consistent improvement in overall achievement through each year of his implementation of these technologies. As Claxton was saying the other day, ‘it’s not either or’.

Andrew also told us about the number of students beyond his own classroom that regularly listen to his podcast, ask questions about the course or interact in online discussions. He raised an idea that I’ve heard before; that in the not too distant future students will increasingly ‘shop around’ for expert teachers and will want to attend their classes virtually. It raises implications for teaching and for schools, and redefines the classroom.

I haven’t really played around with NING an will take a look, but I did come away inspired to look again the possibilities of audio and podcasting, something I’ve let go in the last year or so.

Andrew talked about using the applications and tools that students wanted to use, were already using and applications you didn’t need to nag them to get into.  After testing hundreds of web 2.0 applications he also told us about his own personal checklist of what a tool should do: will it be time neutral or save time?, will it do something new or better?, is it a space-pen or a pencil (in other words why build an expensive video conferencing suite when you an use Skype on a laptop?), will it getter results?, is it a desire path for students?

Andrew Douch blogs HERE

Resources: virtual and real

I spent some time tonight doing a presentation at Coburg Senior High to a group of English teachers on a Virtual Resource Centre I’ve been working on with my co-author of The EnglishBoook. The EnglishBook is a senior English resource book aimed at students undertaking their final year in the VCE, published by Cengage Learning. The Virutal Resource Centre is an attempt to bring some of the tools and interactivity of the web 2.0 world: a blog, a page del.ico.us links, video and podcasts to extend the traditional text book. It’s been interesting to have those conversations with an established academic publisher and good to see them moving towards an understanding of the power of these tools.

It’s always a little threatening to present to your peers I find, and English teachers are a tough audience. However, it seemed to go well.

One bonus of the evening was getting chance to look at the remodelled Coburg Senior High, one of the newest state schools built on open planning and access to technology. I was lucky enough to get a personal guided tour by the Principal Don Collins (below) where he talked about some of his vision for the place, which is exciting. It’s a very different looking school, open plan, lots of macs and bean-bags and a library of targetted fiction and no reference collection; that’s online.

So, there I was talking to a group of English teachers from a range of schools about a virtual resource we’d been building, while we were hosted in a brand new physical resource that was also acutely aware of the virtual world. It’s all connected, but I’m too tired now to explain how!

Wozcast 16

My latest podcast, Wozcast 16 is now online. It’s a discussion of the ICTEV Conference in a bit more detail including James Farmer’s keynote address on the intoxicating power of content, the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and some new tools I’ve been using, especially for mapping.

There’s more detailed notes and download information at the Wozcast page.


Steve Whitaker used to produce a great little podcast called WEB2. It seems to have morphed into GenTech. I haven’t had a chance to check it out yet but the topics in the show notes are very interesting including using basic tools for great results, getting started with edublogs, open source software for learning and more!

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EdTechWeekly #21

I’m usually a couple of weeks behind with getting to listen to these, but I’m always impressed with them when I do. EdTechTalk run a series of educational podcasts but the EdTechWeekly one is my favourite. The focus is educational and there’s lots of links and new sites to check out, all included on a very complete transcript page with links. Topics in #21 range from new concept mapping online software to talk of the ethical and safety issues to do with social networking that we’ve been discussing at my school.

Check out #21 HERE

EdTechTalk are also the best example of del.icio.us in action that I’ve seen. All links from the show are tagged and searchable at their del.icio.us site HERE

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Wozcast 15 (update)

I probably should have realised when I saw the new ugly purple ads that podomatic maybe wasn’t travelling well, so after a few days having trouble getting podomatic to play properly, I’ve decided to resort back to ye olde manual podcast handling; uploading it to some web space I’ve got, and uploading the xml file manually. Great to get my hands dirty with the code!

SO….please re-subscribe to the new old feed (from aanet) or manually download the .mp3 file from the link at the bottom of this post.

XML Subscribe to wozcasts!!

Go to Itunes. Click on podcasts. Go to ADVANCED, choose SUBSCRIBE TO PODCASTS and paste the text below into the box.


OR, download the latest wozcast direct from the link below.

Latest: Wozcast 15

Essential software

I updated the page on essential software today and even put together a wozcast on what I thought the important tools and utilities were for a new computer. Unfortunately, Podomatic is playing up. Not only has it now got big ugly ads, but it sort of doesn’t work! I’ll try to upload the podcast and put a link here. Meanwhile the page is updated and is HERE

wozcast 14

It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s short! It’s Wozcast 14.

I just uploaded my most recent podcast. Just less than half an hour on: Day 3 of the VITTA (Victorian Information Technology Teachers Association) Conference at Flemington Racecourse on Nov 22, 2006, including talk about SENSIS, SENSEI, safe searching, online learning platform ‘Study Wiz’, the Heathmont College ipodagogy project, more on The Learning Federation digital objects (2.5GB and growing) and the poor state of fraud-band speeds in Australia.

And Launchy! My new favourite thing.

For some reason, Audacity (it couldn’t be me!) cut off the last two minutes of this podcast. I just say thanks for listening and play the ol’ rocket ship song, so I haven’t re-done it.

Click to play! Wozcast 14

Or go to the Wozcasts podomatic page for past and current episodes.