Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How-To...Podcast. Part 1

Okay, so initially this was a blog to help those who had attended a session of mine at a conference. Obviously, it is now also to voice my opinion on any and all things edutech-related. After reading a Twitter from one that I follow, it became apparent that I have been taking everyone's knowledge for granted. I mean, come ON. The name of this blog is BEYOND podcasting - not what-is-podcasting?

I was wrong. Dear reader, I am sorry. Let's start over, okay? Like we'd never met before. I won't take your knowledge for granted. I promise. Okay? Forgive me?

Great. Now that we're beyond that stage, let's talk about the first segment in my newest features, which I call "How-To". (I know, right? Original.) This is How-To Podcast - Part 1.

First of all, a podcast is simply an audio file that is broadcast to computers, mp3 devices, and iPods. Originally, it was meant as a broadcast for an iPod - hence PodCast. :) If there is a video component involved, then it becomes a video broadcast for an iPod - or a vodcast. Cool, huh?

Okay, now that you know a little about what it is, let's try to make one. First, if you are on a Mac, then you are good to go. You have your iTunes and your GarageBand all loaded, you lucky person you. For the rest of us poor, unfortunate PC people, we need to download. First, download iTunes here. Sign your life away, and let it do what it wants.

Second, you need a recording program. My favorite is Audacity. Download it here. Be careful. It asks you were to put a file named LAME. Put it somewhere (like your desktop) where you can find it right away. You WILL need this later. Trust me.

Third, you will need a good microphone. My suggestion is not to go crazy - yet. Get a headset (think Madonna - or a travel agent) with a built-in mic. This works very well for podcasting as well as Skype, UStream, etc. You will love it. The best are USB headsets, but a regular two-jack set is fine, too.

Fourth, for this particular podcast, download several podcasts on iTunes that interest you. These should all be free. Check out podcasts from universities on iTunes U (be careful - make sure they aren't charging) or just type "keyword podcast" into the search box to find podcasts on whatever you are interested in. For me, I type "French podcasts" into the box to find intro to French podcasts. You should have a few to choose from.

Okay, that does it for part one. Tune in soon to see the continuation of the Podcasting How-To.

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Podcasting, iTunes, Skype, UStream, Audacity, GarageBand, How-To

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Realizing the Vision II: Tools for Differentiation

I want to take a moment to plug a conference that my district is putting on next month. It is called Realizing the Vision II: Tools for Differentiation - or RV II. While the conference is only open to staff in our district (I think), I am working with another teacher to create ways for others to hear/see some of the PD that will go on here.

The conference will be held in Michigan on November 19-20. Will Richardson and Annette Lamb will be keynoting the event. MACUL will be bringing in presenters, and we have some local folk who will be presenting, too (myself included). It should be a very worthwhile experience.

So why am I telling you this if we are only opening the conference to our district? Because there are several different ways to follow the conference if you are not an FHPS staff member.

1.) Twitter. Follow the "official" conference feed here.
2.) Hitchikr. Follow the "official" conference hitchikr site here.
3.) Coming soon: the "official" conference web site here.

We hope you can Realize the Vision with our district!

Technorati Tags:
Technology, Education, Realizing the Vision

Monday, October 15, 2007

Your world - delivered - literally.

Personally, this week has been pretty hard for me. My father is dealing with some health issues, which means that I am dealing with some parenting-your-parents issues. To take my mind off of everything, I, of course, turned to the EduBlogoSphere for comfort and distraction.

And boy, did I find it.

UStream is the most amazing thing I've seen since the iPod Touch (which, is pretty long in tech-terms). It is a TV station that you can produce. I'm thinking of starting a show on technology with puppets. I don't know why, but it sounds amusing, doesn't it?

Anywho, I was twittering along one day, and got involved with UStream and Skype simultaneously, and found myself interviewing people that lived thousands of miles away from me, while chatting with people from all over. It was incredible.

Then I hear about Operator11 which is apparently the same thing. How crazy is this in terms of education? I could teach a class from the comfort of my Michigan home, and be teaching people literally all over the world.

Then I read a post by a self-assigned technospud about how discouraging some of us techies can be to newbie-tech teachers. She mentioned "baby steps" (Yay - What About Bob!). I completely agree. Sometimes I get so excited by what's new, that I forget that to many blogging is still "new". Every dream that we have starts with small baby steps until it can be realized.

My dream is to have technology embedded into everything that I teach. It is my job to take those baby steps and that - no matter how many grants I get turned down for, no matter how many obstacles I may encounter - I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. So - what's your dream?

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Education, Random, UStream, Operator11

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

To be or not to be....relevant

For those of you who may not know, I am an avid presenter. I absolutely love getting up in front of other educators and showing them another method to reach their students. This year, however, I have missed several major proposal deadlines - some because I am a procrastinator, and some because I'm not terribly sure what to say.

Many people who attend my presentations tell me that they really needed something a bit more basic. I think that we who are in these EdTech rings tend to think that we need to speak on the "new" stuff because the "old" stuff - like podcasting, blogging, etc - is known already.

I'm speaking at a conference in my own district this year, and I plan to present on three topics - podcasting (duh), blogging 101 and how to do PD on your own time with an aggregator. None of this is earth-shattering - all of these are "old" technologies, and yet I know that I will have people who have never heard of these things.

So my question is - how can we really be relevant? I didn't submit to present at NECC this year (though I really, REALLY wanted to) because I honestly don't know how I could present something relevant. To some, Blogging 101 might be about the perfect pace. To others, that is completely old hat.

David Warlick asked yesterday what questions should be asked of school board members. I would ask - how can teachers be relevant to students without the use of modern technologies? In their lives, students will be more apt to use something like the iPod Touch than a desktop computer, and yet how many schools do you know with an iPod Touch for every student? How can professional development be relevant to teachers' needs without addressing technology and meeting the teachers where they are? How can we prepare students for a future that we can't even imagine if we aren't being (you guessed it) relevant?

In this era of budget cuts and deficits, is it even possible to be relevant?

Technorati Tags:
Education, Random, sbe_comments