I have just attended a workshop at the ICT in the Classroom Conference given by Bronwyn Desjardins about using Audacity to create podcasts. I have used vodcasts for a number of years, getting students to make their own videos around eSafety or copyright issues, or filming role plays, for example, but I have not really thought about getting students to make audio only broadcasts.
I had seen audacity, which is free to download, before, but had never thought about using it for grammar lessons as Bronwyn does, or building my own channel of podcasts which students can access via their mp3 players and iTunes. Having recently come across http://www.khanacademy.org and seen what is being done with Youtube style videos, it seems to me that one of the main engines of mentorship could be student made podcasting and vodcasting. As exciting as this prospect is, what struck me most during the presentation was what podcasting could do for the last ten minutes of many of my lessons.
Let me explain. Very often a group work session ends with a report-back session and discussion, and typically, as time runs out on a lesson, this gets backed into the last ten minutes. This is precisely the time when I, as a teacher, am least attentive to what the students are actually saying. I am thinking about how to wrap things up on time, whether to re-schedule the homework, re-assessing the lesson as a whole, and wondering whether to wrap the topic up or add another session. I have pretty much heard what the groups had to say while circulating during their discussions. In short, I have not used the feedback effectively in the past.
It struck me that podcasting might be a way of getting students to package their feedback in a podcast or vodcast, which could then be posted on Moodle or your iTunes Channel for listening by other groups in the class, as homework. This turning the classroom on its head is increasingly what for me seems the most powerful affordance that ICTs offer. In many ways we need to stand Education on its head, and do what we did in school at home, and what we did at home, in school!