Podcasting and Wikis in the Blogging Classroom

I remember reading Will’s post the first time he tried out podcasting and remarking on his combined interest and dismay over the whole thing (how he felt a little silly). And so I wasn’t sure how I’d like using it in my classes even though I begged the college for some iPODs to play around with in the writing classroom. Since November I’ve been watching how other folks have been using podcasting–and while it certainly makes all the world of sense in language classrooms, it wasn’t until last night when I postedmy first wee attempt at podcastingthat I really saw its potential in the writing and literature classrooms.

Here’s what I’m trying and thinking:

Embedding podcasts on our class blogs to ignite a love of literature and an understanding of how reading literature aloud can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the work:

As Mark Bauelring writes in the February 5 edition of TCRecord, in his “Reading at Risk, Culture at Risk”, literature reading is on the wane, and with it some essential cultural understanding:

Civic and historical understanding may seem a far cry from literary reading, but in truth they belong on a continuum of intellectual activities that come together in an enlightened citizen. Literature often has served to introduce young people to events from the past and principles of civil society and governance.

While he oversimplifies the issue by laying the blame at the feet of the Internet in general and weblogs among other applications in particular, he does make a valid point about needing to immerse our youth in the wonders of literature.

And, by golly, podcasting might help out here–at least in my classes. When I asked my students (17 of them in the The Writing Workshop II how many of them read any of the opening pages of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses aloud to themselves to help them to understand the disorienting sentence structure and ordering, only a couple raised their hands. I, for one, can’t imagine missing any opportunity to read him aloud–the sentences need that slow mix in the mouth before being pushed out in the air–they make such sense this way. And so I recorded myself reading the opening paragraph, so they could hear the words.

Every week from now on, two students will podcast passages they select from the readings, followed by succinct explorations of what they learn as writers from the passages. They will, as I did, refer to other postings on our reading blog that amplify our understanding, or that create tension, or that we just really ought to read. That’s what I did in my first podcast, pointing to a student’s sensitive reading of the opening pages. What is especially effective about embedding the podcast onto the blog in addition to uploading the files onto iPODS is the accessibility of the full blog as they listen–they can look at the post I’m referring to at the same time.

We’ll also record the mini writing lessons the students present to the class starting Thursday, as a way to archive these lessons and as a way for students to hear themselves give presentations. Again, the podcasts will serve multiple purposes, essential to any teaching tool in a twelve-week semester.

As for wikis, Hťctor’s class is up and running with our inter-class experiment, my class to jump on this week to explore chronicling the experiences of two sections of the writing workshop–how much will the two classes affect one another as virtual communities? We’ll see…

We’ll also see how much blogging is too much blogging in the writing classroom this semester as my students work on several interconnected blogs–will they hit the saturation point? Will the blogs lose their effectiveness if we pass some as yet-unknown threshold? Are many others out there using blogs in quite this way? I’d be very interested to see…

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  1. […] Types of posts:¬†¬† In her more recent posts she shares her experiences living and working in a rural community.¬† To me, her recent posts lean more toward a personal than a professional educator‚Äôs blog.¬† She reflects on such things as the death of her dog, living in a rural community and the influence of ‚ÄúThe 365 Day Flickr Group‚Ä̬† (http://www.flickr.com/groups/366photos/) on her life.¬†¬†Perhaps her challenges of trying to integrate the traditions and practices of rural communities with the opportunities of technology, are similar to the challenges faced by schools systems in integrating technology into the practices and tools of teachers who were trained in the 20th¬†century.¬† Her posts from when she was a teacher also consist of some personal reflection, but many contain insights and applications of the use of technology in the classroom.¬† An entry from February 2005, ‚ÄúPodcasting and Wiki‚Äôs in the Blogging Classroom,‚ÄĚ ¬†fits perfectly with our SLM 508 curriculum!¬† Check it out at https://bgblogging.com/2005/02/15/podcasting-and-wikis-in-the-blogging-classroom/.¬† […]

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