I had the pleasure on Saturday to watch my colleague, Steve Dembo, conduct a great presentation titled "Edu-Podcasting 101." Steve demonstrated the basics of creating and publishing podcasts to a room full of teachers and technology/media specialists at the Northern Illinois Computing Educators annual Mini-Conference, and he also suggested some of the creative ways that some teachers are using podcasts with their students. One of the most intriguing aspects of the current interest in this new technology is the speed with which the phenomenon has taken hold of the educational community. Just one year ago, Steve pointed out, a Google search on the term “podcast” yielded less than 100 results. Today, the same search yields nearly 95,000,000 results.
It seems clear to many educators that the incredible growth of podcasting in education presents some powerful opportunities for new and innovative classroom projects, but it also reminds us of the vast scale of such resources on the web and the need to find ways to seek out the best examples and production tools. To that end, Steve shared some sites that he recommends as great starting places for teachers who want to know more. The Education Podcast Network hosted by David Warlick and the Landmark Project is a good place to explore examples of podcast projects already in place in schools across the country. Another great site is Teach 42, the place where Steve shares his insights when he is not managing the online community for the Discovery Educator Network. In fact, he posted his own list of links to essential tools and resources.
If you are looking for instructional tips to help you to master the new computer operating systems or software applications, try launching the free iTunes software and search the podcast libraries. I love working with Photoshop, and every week I get some power tips from the “Photoshop Guys” who do a regular video podcast titled Photoshop TV. The shows are free and you can subscribe to their feed so that new shows are automatically downloaded to your iTunes playlist each time you launch the software. And remember that you do not have to own an iPod to use this service—you can play the audio or video broadcasts on your computer or any device that can play the files.
The power of our DEN community lies in the fact that we can explore new technologies together and share our successes, valued web sites, and best practices with each other. Have you found ways to use podcasts with your students? Do you listen to the podcasts created by other educators or subscribe to any of the growing list of audio or video broadcasts available on the web? If so, please leave a comment and get us all pointed to strategies and resources that you have found to be useful.