Podcast of the week: Classic Poetry Aloud

June 29, 2008

Two weeks ago I began a new series of weekly reviews of podcasts that can be used in education. While I did not do such a great job making the second posting, I am back on track. Last week was the final week of a graduate class, so I trust you will give me a little slack.

Classic Poetry Aloud

Classic Poetry Aloud is an excellent example of how audio can enhance what simply reading cannot. You can subscribe to the podcast by following linking to any of the subscribe buttons on the podcast page. Additionally you can view any podcast going back to May 2007 by following the link of the podcast page to the blog page.

The purpose of the Classic Poetry Aloud Podcast is “to add another dimension to the enjoyment of poetry: listening“. As a teacher that has previously taught English, students often lack the understanding that poets write poems to be read. I have compared it to reading music lyrics; without the inflection of voice it does not mean the same. While textbook publishers have previously released audio CDs of the poems within their texts, this limits the teacher to only those poems within the textbook. Classic Poetry Aloud makes use of any poem beyond the limits of copyright limitations. The poems range a large variety of authors ranging from William Blake to Thomas Wyatt with numerous in between. The poems are organized by themes including the Romantics, War Poems, Love Poems, and Season just to name a few.

The blog site also note a Top Ten list based on listener downloads. Many of these also make my top list.

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

“O Captain! My Captain!” by Walk Whitman

And a few of my personal favorite that did not make the Top Ten

“To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence” by Jame Elroy Flecker

“To the Virgins to make much of Time” by Robert Herrick

If you teach poetry, you should be able to find at least one poem you enjoy and would like to teach. If you enjoy poetry this podcast is in your corner. If you have never appreiciated poetry, give it a try for a week. You might find something new you like. Don’t worry, I won’t tell.

Enjoy your day,


Podcast of the Week: SMARTBoard Lessons Podcast

June 14, 2008

As part of my still being formed routine to get back into the habit of blog writing, I am making it a point to publish a review of a podcast once a week. I do this for several reasons. Once of which is that i am addict of audio. I play jazz while I teach and I always have either iTunes or the TV playing. I cannot handle silence. Another reason is that two years ago my school began actively integrating iPod technology into our classrooms. By this I mean that we have issued iPods to our students and are actively working with our teachers to open to the all possibilities that this technology permits.

Another technology that my school actively promotes are Interactive White Boards, specifically SMART Boards. For this reason I cannot think of a better way to connect these two technologies than to make my first podcast review one that combines these technologies.

SMARTBoard Lessons Podcasts

The SMARTBoard Lessons Podcasts is engaging, entertaining, and educational. Podcast hosts Ben Hazzard and Joan Badger provide great lessons plans, links, and music. The lesson plans are often geared toward specific disciplines; however, they can often be adapted to various courses. At the least the lessons demonstrate tools and tricks that a teacher can use or have their students use to make the IWB more than just a projection screen. Joan must spend as much time on the the internet as I do, not necessarily a good or a bad thing, as she always has a couple useful link for teachers to check out. The links are always helpful and often are some type of Web 2.0 application that can be combined with the IWB. The two hosts work great together and provide an entertaining product. Regardless if you are a teacher looking to improve your SMARTBoarding skills or an educator considering the purchase of such a board, this podcast should be a regular part of your iTunes download.

Favorite espisodes include:

Episode 126 Cause and Effect Commercialism
Episode 121 Combining SMART Recorder and Voicethread
Episode 99 Which gave me a Jeopardy Templete

I realize that these are all recent episodes, but i promise I have been listening to this podcasts since the first ten episodes. I’ll blame it on short term memory.

Keep up the good work Ben and Joan.

Enjoy your day,


iTune U: The Potential for Change

August 9, 2007

A few months ago Apple announced the launching of iTunes U as a separate feature. I am excited about this announcement for a variety of reasons. Podcasting is becoming a common theme for those who discuss Web 2.0 applications. However, some in education feel that podcasting is a fad, too complicated, or any of several excuses for not embracing this powerful tool. The launching of iTunes U provides a powerful endorsement of podcasting in education.

While universities have been taking advantage of iTunes and podcasting for the past few years, the introduction of iTunes U puts podcasting in education into a larger light. The number of K-12 podcasts in growing rapidly each day. When I first started exploring podcasting two years ago the Education category on iTunes had the sub-categories of K12 and Higher Education. Since then the sub-categories has expanded to include Ed Tech, Training and Language Courses. The number of educational podcasts is so great that if I do not place time limits on my searches I end up spending most of my evening searching and listening to various educational podcasts. The introduction of a specific University feed on iTunes can direct lifelong learners or educators.

Open/Free Learning

I embrace the fact that I am a nerd. At any given moment my TIVO will have between 10-20 hours or recordings from the History Channel. I recall in college using Yahoo to locate the syllabus or project assignments for courses at universities I did not attend, simply because of an interest in the topic. The only deterring factor to this practice, setting aside that I kept this practice a secret from my roommates, was the time involved in the process of searching for assessments. iTunes U will allow people with similar addictions the opportunity to attend courses as if they were at the school.

Continued Content Development

As an educator I am excited about the chance to continue my education. I have found that time is against me, preventing me for keeping active all of the podcast subscriptions on my iTunes. That said, the ability to subscribe to a college level course is a great tool. Last year I taught a course in economics. While I enjoy this topic, I have not studies this discipline since my junior year in college. The ability to enroll in college level economic courses is a great advantage for me. I cannot only use such courses to recall the explanations of topics that my and other professors use, but I can experience the changes in these explanations since my graduation.

Podcasting ideas

I began using podcasting in my English courses in reaction to the NPR series “This I Believe“. After my wife tipped me off to the series, I thought it would be a good essay topic for my students. This lesson is my favorite of the year and my students tend to enjoy the process. In planning this lesson, I realized that the odds were against one of our essay hitting the radio waves, so we began podcasting the essays. While I do not know that I will be able to get such ideas from courses on iTunes U, I am optimistic.

Future Change

The high of my excitement for iTunes U is the possibilities for change. In a podcast in early June, George Mason Professor Russ Roberts interviewed Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future. Towards the end of the podcast, beyond the 45 minute mark, Pink and Roberts begin to discuss the idea of great professors who cannot communicate their discipline. Pink notes that the common statement that, “Professor X knows his subject, but does not know how to teach,” is an incorrect statement. Pink argues that if a Professor truly knows his or her content, then they could relate this information to the students. I admit that until I heard this podcast I subscribed to the theory that a professor could be smart, but not a good teacher. Given time to digest Pink’s position, I must agree. If someone truly understands the information they teach, they can relate this information to the audience. In fact, I believe that understand how to connect with your audience holds more weight than being brilliant in your field.

Why mention this? I recall when Duke assessed their iPod initiative one of the concerns by professors was student attendance. One professor noted that he began implementing pop quizzes because students were passing exam by simply listening to his podcasts and quit attend class. The response to this professor, paraphrasing because I cannot find the bookmarked article, was to transform the way you conduct class. If your students can pass the course without attending class, then why should they. My hope is that more college professors will realize how podcasting can liberate them from lecturing as much as shift the learning in courses. Then again with the growth in K12 podcasting, if college professors do not embrace podcasting, students are going to eclipse them and by using the right brain thinking rule the university.

Enjoy your day,


iQuiz: interactive iPods

August 2, 2007

I have ended my continental travels for the summer and am finally settling back in to school mode. My wife and I took a relaxing trip to Cozumel for our anniversary. The day after our return I headed up to Fargo, ND to coach at the USA Wrestling Cadet and Junior National Championship. While the upcoming school year was the last thing on my mind while in Mexico, the fifteen hour drive to Fargo provided ample opportunity for ideas. Unfortunately my hotel did not have a stable wireless internet connection, so these I listed these ideas on my Treo to be formalized upon my return. That said …

iQuiz

If you have not heard about this recent addition to iTunes, check out this overview. I first heard about iQuiz at NECC. Yesterday I create my first iQuiz using iQuiz maker and it is as easy as advertised. I based the quiz on my presentation on iPods to the faculty at my school in July. I intend to distribute the quiz to members of the faculty, allowing them an opportunity to practice playing with iQuiz and review some of the information from the presentation.

Review:

The iQuiz Maker application is as user friendly as advertised. Creating new questions is a simple as typing a blog article. I was able to create questions by both typing directly into the application and also by copying and pasting from OpenOffice. My intent by doing this was to see if I would be able to easily transfer questions from quizzes already made. After purchasing iQuiz from iTunes, $0.99, I was able to export my quiz, sync my iPod, and began playing.

Likes:

Besides the ease of use of the iQuiz Maker I enjoy the potential of this application. The iQuiz Maker allows the creator to choose from either True and False or Multiple Guess questions. For T/F questions you can include a clearification note if the correct answer is False. iQuiz also provides the user with a variety of statistics. In addition to the last score, iQuiz also provides the record score and average score. The statistics also display the percentage of correct answers broken down by T/F or Multiple Choice Questions on a latest correct and overall. The simplicity of the application and readout of statistics allow for high potential.

While I am not endorsing standardized exams, I do enjoy trivia games. I feel that a teacher can use iQuiz Maker to create fun reviews specific to the content in his our her course. If a teacher has already typed out review questions it would take little time to copy and paste these questions into iQuiz Maker and export them for student use. A teacher can use the same questions from the class review activity for the iQuiz. This will simply provide students another opportunity to review the content and practice on the style of the questions.

iQuiz would also be a great alternative to comprehension quizzes. I detest spending class time to administer a quiz to ensure the completion of homework. With iQuiz a teacher creates a comprehension quiz and sends that home with the students. The next class period I could check that they completed the quiz during the class warm-up. While I realize that a student could easily complete the quiz while reading the assignment or complete the quiz without reading, the same is true of any take home quiz. Students in my courses understand that memorizing the information does not prove anything. They must be able to own and to use this information.  Additionally if a student is taking a short-cut on a low impact daily quiz, then this students has outside circumstances that should be addressed. The difference between a traditional quiz and and a portable iQuiz is the students has the opportunity the review the information on the quiz and get instant feedback at anytime in the future. This way a student who realizes they cannot recall the information requested by the quiz, they can review these questions anytime in the future in a non-confrontational environment. With automated, instant feedback the student does not have to ask someone else and face embarrasment in reviewing a quiz the teacher assigned the week before.

Requests:

While iQuiz Maker is a great addition to iTunes, there is one main improvement I would like to see made on the next version. I would like to see more use of the Correct Answer Explanation. While the use of this feature for False answers is nice, the opportunition to provide an explanation or strees a specfic point when the answer is True would be nice. Additionally, the use of a Correct Answer Explanation for multiple guess questions would be even better. Aside from the request, I feel that this is a great addition to iPods and a great addition to educational technology.

If you are using this new program or begin using this program, let me know about your results.

Enjoy your day,


Alan November–NECC 2007 Notes

July 1, 2007

Expanding Boundaries of Learning: Designing Rigorous and Globally Connected Assignments

Alan November

Recording of presentation

Location: GWCC Murphy 1 Tag: n07s722

 

Questions by Alan

 

  1. Have you traveled outside U.S.

    1. Yes

  2. Will you students compete globally?

    1. Yes

  3. Do you students connection w/ others outside U.S.?

    1. Yes

  4. Do you students have a global work ethic?

    1. No

  5. Have you been to a presentation by someone not from U.S.?

    1. Yes/no

  6. Web 2.0 tools blocked

    1. Majority block 3

  7. Who currently owns the learning?

    1. 38 government

    2. 26 teachers

  8. Who should own the learning?

    1. 95 students

 

Alan

Shares idea that students should own learning.

  • Not a technology issue

  • Question is global work ethic

Brother MIT educated engineer

  • Team is now in shanghai

  • Once he is done training unsure what to do

  • Not motivated to work on own, organization dependent not self directed

  • Culture of school is dependent on students to be managed

  • Should reverse dependency to interdependence

  • Daughter’s graduation speaker said students ready to conquer the world

  • Alan states student able to but only ready to take courses

 

To create students who control learning teacher must create authentic audience

  • Research says students need instant feedback

    • Students recording poems needed second takes

    • Not happy with first recording

  • Students need global, not paper, voice

    • Students need to be taught courage with their voice

  • Teacher from Maine, Bob Sprinkle 3rd grade

    • Every Mon producer review of academic matter from previous week

    • Jobs: writer, reader, producer, actor

    • Kids rotate

    • Evolved into math corner, writing show, everyone wanted their own show

      • Student show work ethic

      • Must know content to create show

    • Teachers do not need to know how to podcast, kids will do this

    • Teachers need to know when and what to podcast

Marco Torres

  • Video produced by former students who graduated already

  • Students realize the need for a change in the system

    • Technology allows students to be with teachers

    • Teachers are not ready to hand over classroom

 

Teaching in a prison school

  • Student motived by real problems

  • Motivated those who do not want to learn

Teaching American history in Lexington

  • Should we teach American version or British version

  • If you confront people with a version of the truth they do not know they interact

  • Have students find this information

  • Textbook limits this information

  • Allows students to build curriculum and build research skills

Great Gatsby

  • One version read across the world

  • How do those outside the US view the work?

  • Then you can fully understand impact of book

  • Students own learning when they bring in the assignments to complete rather than given assignment

 

Do not need technology integration team, rather global integration team

 

Hiroshima

  • Read essays by student in Japan written in English

  • Need to understand views of others

  • Can hold debate via Skype

  • Class debate or debate b/w two cultures: which is more authentic?

 

Searching for authentic audience

  • Need to understand how to search properly

  • Using country code when searching

 

Closing

  • Underestimated ability of students

    • Need job and can create podcasts

  • Need for global audience

    • Fill iTunes will content rather than block it

  • Need global interaction

    • Skype groups

    • Ability to receive comments from audience listening

  • This will allow for boundaries to go beyond time and space

  • RSS will allow for control to shift to students while viewing results


Iliad Project: The study of characters and heroes

October 10, 2006

Our English I Pre-AP recently finished presenting on various books from The Iliad.  The focus of our presentations has two ideas:  1) the major characters from the book and their affect on the plot of the individual book 2) the view of heroes.  In analyzing the characters we research the purpose and meaning of the names of the various characters and their role in the plot.  In understanding the meaning of heroes the groups expressed their view of a here and compared this to their interpretation of the ancient Greek’s view of a hero, based on the groups selected book within The Iliad.

 

To view the presentations go to our class page on Wikispaces:

 

If you would like to listen to the presentation subscribe to our class station on iTunes.  Search for “KStevens English I”.

 


New courses and iPods

August 19, 2006

My goal of using this summer to write on a semi-daily basis did not go completely as planned. As per usual I had several projects working at the same time and was not able to complete everything before school started. That said, the school year offers something that summertime lacks, routine. With teaching multiple courses, coaching and graduate school I do not expect to be able to write on a daily basis; however I do plan on several articles a week. The majority of my writing will focus less on new technology that I find and more of my ideas and how these ideas work out with such technology in my courses.

This year I am teaching on freshman level English course. This is a new course at our school as it is specifically paired with AP Human Geography, a first time offering at our school. This is the first time that we have offered an AP course at the freshman level. It is exciting to think about the possibilities that will await these freshman who are challenging themselves by taking a college level course. As Ms. Lipscomb, my social studies counterpart in this pairing of courses, stated to one of the classes this week, “Welcome to your freshman year…in college.” It should be a great year.

Another new program for our freshman is our partnership with Apple. Following the lead of several prominent universities, Bishop Dunne Catholic School is issuing iPods to freshman students for academic use. Last year I explored the use of podcasting in my World History courses and I feel that it went well. My ideas for academic use this year include my podcasts, students created podcasts and interviews.

Personally, I will try to podcast several of my lectures. The idea is that students who are absent can review the discussion and not completely miss out on the class experience. I would say that students could review the lecture on their own time, but the realist in me understands that few students will listen to a discussion a second time. Some of these lectures will be recorded prior to class using Audacity and the $15 microphone I purchased at Fry’s Electronics. If you have questions about how to create a podcast see my previous posting. Also check out Eric Langhorst’s posting from the Midwest Summer Institute. I intended on using Belkin’s new iPod recorder to record in class lectures as I pace a lot when I talk; however this will now be delayed by about a week as FedEx dropped the ball.

Not to side track too much, but since I have your attention. Apparently FedEx’s policy on obtaining signatures for purchases that require such confirmation of delivery is a waste of time. FedEx delivered my Belkin recorder yesterday, but someone other than myself or my wife signed for the package. Since no one else lives with us I am not sure who that was, but they signed my name. Afterward someone, presumable the same person who signed for the package, opened the box and stole my new recorded. Thankfully they left the boxes and the packing slip for me the throw in the trash. Apple is investigating and I should receive a replacement in a week. After speaking with FedEx’s customer service representatives I doubt high that I will every use FedEx or purchase a product from anyone who uses FedEx again.

Back on track.

I will also use podcasting to distribute exam review sessions. I spent the past eight months listening to several teacher podcasts to gain ideas. Following the lead of some of these podcasts I will included some type of bonus question within the podcast as an incentive for students. Our students, like most, have a commute to school that provides a perfect opportunity to listen to podcasts.

My students will also be creating podcasts. I plan to have students create audio for some of the presentations in our class. While I recognize that students must become comfortable with presenting in front of an audience, I feel that creating a presentation and performing in front of an audience are two different skills. If we as teachers can isolate these skills, then possibly students will understand the differences and be able to excel at both.

Additionally, interviews and field research is another addition to courses that iPods enable. By using recorders such as the Belkin device I purchased both teachers and students can bring into the classroom the expertise of people who normally do not have the time to present within normal school hours. While I have no specific plans for this, I am keeping my mind open and my eyes lurking.

Finally, let me say that I do not believe that those students who are not issued an iPod will be excluded from this program. In addition to the freshman English course, I am teaching a pair of sophomore English classes and an AP Economics course to seniors. Ninety percent of the students in my classes have internet access at their houses and will be able to take advantage of these podcast. Since iTunes does not allow for transferring of files except to iPods, I will outline some of the other podcatchers in future articles.

In addition to my how to posting on podcasting and the Speaking of History blog there are several articles on educational resource. Make sure that you check out Wesley Fryer’s Moving at the Speed of Creativity.
Enjoy your day,

Kyle