I had one of those, ‘thank goodness that effort wasn’t totally wasted’, moments a couple of weeks ago when doing some revision work with literature students to do with podcasting.
Teaching the poetry of Gwen Harwood earlier this year I was very keen to include as much audio as possible; after all poetry really lives when it’s spoken I feel.
So, I organized for each of the poems to have a definitive ‘reading’ by a student who knew the poem well. Hearing the poem is critical so I recorded each student reading in Audacity and saved them out as .mp3s which I put on the class wiki. I also recorded a series of mini-lectures on each poem, about five minutes each just talking through the poem like I would in class. So, each poem had a wiki page with a reading, a mini-lecture and the student contributions and notes.
I didn’t think much about it, although to be truthful I was a bit disappointed that students didn’t see to see the value in the audio. So, in the very last lesson of the year I was pleased and surprised that a student from another class told me that she’d been listening to the audio and that it had been the most powerful thing for her own learning. That made it worthwhile somehow.
And justified me buying a new Yeti microphone in the recent Apple sale and putting it under the Christmas tree for a present to myself.
So, next year, more audio supplements to the teaching, more attempts to bring these works to life and maybe even a return to some of those rambling Ed-tech style podcasts I did a couple of years ago!
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