Thoughts on different technologies to use in the classroom...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Podcasting Issues

When I planned my podcasting project for my 7th grade students, I envisioned a 2-day project. Students had already spent some time exploring cell organelles and their functions, drawing plant and animal cells, and we went over comparing objects to everyday items. I gave them a template to use for their script, which they were free to edit if they chose, and thought that one day would be enough time for the students to write about the cell organelle they chose (randomly). There were issues with some student groups' computers, and other groups had difficulty typing into the template. A few groups did not save their script to the desktop or their document folder, so we had difficulty finding them. I did not realize their experience with templates was so limited, and I needed to give more guidance than expected with their typing, editing, and saving skills. In the future, I might just use paper scripts for the first project, just to limit the number of new skills associated with the project. The scripts were turned in to my teacher hand-in folder so that I could review them before the students recorded their projects.
The second (and third, and in a few cases fourth) day the students were to record their podcast, using the script that was opened on their computer. I demonstrated the recording techniques using a projector, gave the students written directions in electronic form, and created a podcast of directions for the students to follow. Many students were able to record their podcast in one or two tries, save it, and turn it in to the teacher hand-in folder in one class. A few were extremely critical of their voices, and deleted every attempt. Others recorded using the piano (not sure how) and had to redo. A few had trouble locating their saved file (using GarageBand, I found they automatically save to Music, GarageBand in the finder.) In the end, nearly every student did create a podcast that was then combined into a class podcast that included all of the cell organelles in one.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


After attending several sessions about podcasting in the classroom, I gathered the courage to try it. As far as I know, I am the first in my school to have students create podcasts. I created a lesson using GarageBand to create podcasts. Each student pair was given one cell organelle and a sample script. The students had to tell what the cell part's function was in the life of the cell, and then relate it to an everyday object. The students also needed to give a reason why that cell organelle related to the object. Both my students and I were excited to begin this project.
I learned so much! First, just having the students type into a script template was difficult for some. I wasn't sure if it was the template or the content that was the problem. To help them record, I created a podcast of my own that instructed them on how to record, and wrote the directions as well. I posted both in my teacher hand out folder for them to use as they needed.
What started as a 2 day assignment ended after 4 days. Technical glitches slowed us down!
The students recorded in GarageBand, exported it to a file, and then submitted the file to me in the teacher hand-in folder on the server. I then sorted them all by class and opened each one, edited out the "blank time" and copied each finished podcast into one for the entire class. To publish them, I was able to export my new longer file to the desktop, and then upload each file to the documents section of my TeacherWeb page. The last step, to add a link from my handouts folder, was the easiest part. Listening to them on the web was exciting for all of us!
Next post- sample files and technical problem tips!