January 30

Not all Web 2.0 creation sites are the same

Whether you want to create a blog, a podcast, a website, etc there are a plethora of sites which are free and enable you to create the web content (Web 2.0 makes us all creators as opposed to passive readers of content on the web.) Which site or app you choose to create your content with comes down to a few things:

1. What you want your content to be able to do, simple or all the bells and whistles
2. How much control over the advertising you have, can you ask for no advertising?
3. Is it to promote a school event/class. Will viewers or posts involve people under 13?
4. Is it to promote a school?
5. Will your “brand” be affected by advertising content? Starting to get to the nitty gritty now….

The majority of free options will give you the basics, however, they need to make their money somehow, and so there will be advertising, or watermarks which will appear on your content unless you pay or upgrade to have them removed.
You may be happy with this, after all, they are providing you a great service, you don’t have to worry about the coding and so on, and if you are using the content for personal use, where you and your friends who will view it are all over 13 the ads may be annoying, but not too much of an issue. It does become an issue when you have inappropriate or annoying advertisements when you are trying to sell your brand or service. How do you get around this? AND keep it free?
Many sites will offer education versions, some of these are great, offer all the same functions of the higher end versions, but with added security and level of privacy, really great for primary kids

Website creation:
Wix
Weebly
Google Sites

Blogs
Wordpress
Edublogs (also under the WordPress umbrella, campus edition with an education focus)
Global2 (another campus edition of WordPress, you have to be at a Victorian government school… although they will open up to most schools with discussion)
Blogger (Google)

Wikis
Wikispaces
PBworks
Wetpaint

Podcast
Podomatic
Apple/iTunes
Audacity
YouTube

These are just some of the many content creation sites available…. it is worth your while checking out which will best suit your purpose!

March 14

Podcasting

Podcasting is a fantastic tool for educators and learners. It provides opportunities for teaching and learning using different ways of learning to what traditionally is used. This provide scope for learners to engage in learning a range of places and times, not just in the classroom.

What is Podcasting?

Podcasting was initially an audio file which was shared through the internet. Now technology advancements have meant other rich media including images and videos can also be included.

There are many different sites for you to find podcasts on a wide range of subjects including language, history, science, education, radio shows, tv shows, technology, commentary etc. You can subscribe to podcast series you enjoy through iTunes etc, and they are automatically downloaded into your iTunes library when new ones are added by the creator. Podcasts can be downloaded to your computer, then put onto your iPod or MP3 player and listened to or watched when you wish.

Or you can create your own podcast, by pressing the record button on your computer’s sound program ( Audacity – PC or Garageband – Mac), or iPod or MP3 player or other digital recording device, create an MP3 (audio only) or Mpeg4 (audio and images), send the file via email or direct upload to their iPod or MP3 player, to share with specific people, or to the internet to share with the world.

How to use podcasting in your classroom

Podcasts can be used in many many ways, here are just a few.

  • direct recordings of a lesson. Just press record at the start of the lesson, and students will have your notes to go over as they need it. Great for exam revision or students who are not present for the lesson.
  • using podcasts to generate discussion topics. Find a relevant podcast, and share with your students. Discuss issues etc.
  • Exam revision/key concepts – use simple slides and voice recording to highlight key points students need to revise for exams etc. They can then listen anytime any place – how much cooler to be listening to your iPod on the bus than reading a textbook or school notes.
  • Specific skills – whether threading a sewing machine or using a lathe, it is very handy to have a visual aid to assist  when students are required to complete a task independently. I have seen some very interesting podcasts used in TAFE to assist students in the building trade areas covering a range of skills and OHS issues
  • Presentations – instead of writing responses they can be spoken and submitted, this can be particularly useful for students who have difficulties with the written word, thus catering for students individual differences.
  • In language classes students can listen to authentic sounding linguistics of the languages they are studying.
  • Classroom radio – issues facing the students are discussed and uploaded to share with other students, great for preparing debates or analysing issues.
  • Excursion reflections – as podcasts can be made on many portable devices including mobile phones and iPods/MP3 players real time reflections of an excursion can be made as they are happening.

There are of course many more potential uses.

The nitty gritty

Creating your podcast – you can use a range of tools, the simplest (unless you have a cool mobile phone or voice recorder) is to use your computer to record it, as you can edit it – I usually get it quite shorter taking out all of my ums and ahhs. Creating a podcast was once to domain of Mac users, who were able to seamlessly create and upload their podcast to iPod. It did not take that long for the PC users to catch up and it is just as easy now on either platform. I have created vodcasts (video) and podcasts on my PC, and now am exploring using the Mac.

On a PC you can use Audacity – an opensource audio editing software. Record your audio, to add images I have added my audio track to either Moviemaker or Photostory3. Save your file as an MP3 (audio only) or if you used moviemaker the smaller file size movie file, there are a range of options with differing results, best thing is to try what works best for you.

On a Mac you would use Garageband – File -> New -> new podcast. This gives you a series of options. The top track is for images, then you have different audio tracks and  a track to add accompanying music. You then “Share” and can add it straight to your iTunes library, or save it to your computer as the appropriate file type as with the PC version, ready to share with the world via the internet.

Getting your podcast onto the internet.

You can set up an account with a site like Podomatic which is a repositry for you to upload your podcast files. Once you have uploaded your file, you will be able to share the URL (web address) with people you want to share your podcast with. You are also able to have your podcast added to the iTunes Podcast list, through your podomatic account.

You can upload your podcasts to your blog

You can also share your podcasts through places like PodcastAlley, where you add your podcast’s URL to their site, and others can listen/watch your podcasts.

Useful sites

– Your blog, a useful place to post your podcasts

Podomatic, allows you to set up a space to upload your podcasts

Podcastalley, showcases a range of podcasts

– iTunes, huge range of podcasts allowing you to subscribe to them, importing them straight into your iTunes library

I hope this rambling has made some of the potential of podcasting more understandable for new users. I have added some podcasts created in a few minutes using both Audacity and Garageband, so whether you are PC or Mac you can have fun either way 🙂

My Podcasts

June 11

When things come together

What a busy week it has been since my last ramble… I have not had much time to scratch myself… since doing my podcast… and giving myself a cheer I have had a few other staff come along to ask how hard it is…. I need to sit down and do a few more, specifically to entice staff to use it. Coming up to exam time with our Year 12s, and it will be a great resource… I think I have hooked a few with the potential 🙂

So I think on that front the peer coaching, although at times informal, is working fairly positively. Hmmmmm rethinking the new name of the blog…. but will work on that.

I do love it when things come together… I have been a member of me.edu.au since it basically started, as I have been a member of a few edna groups, tonight (after finally getting home after 9.30) still brain racing I sat down to check some emails… wandered over to follow some links, got back to my me profile page and saw a link to add my feeds…. well I thought I would try… connect stuff together… and voila all of my feeds for my blog here, and my wiki have been added….I am starting to come to grips with RSS and I do like it…. I have even added some feeds on my phone internet 🙂

Well now I have some stuff being added to my me profile page, when I add stuff to my other online spaces…. how very cool….

time to start winding down..

June 4

My first real podcast…..

hehehe now I feel I have achieved something…. ages ago I uploaded a podcast, but is was just a ramble about nothing much… today I recorded the session I presented to my multimedia kids… uploaded it onto podomatic, and voila it is up there ready to be heard by people around the world… too cool….

of course tonight I added to that by adding my podcasts to iTunes… bit scary really… but incredibly simple…

I have put a text block with the permalink onto my blog page…. all linked…

The kids said they will get theirs done during the week, we shall see.