Podcastapalooza continues. In case you missed Part 1 you can find it here. It covers a quick overview of how I structure the unit, the equipment and services I use. In this part we talk about the resources I have found or provide for my students. The goodness is after the break and if you want to hear the results of my students’ labors follow this link HERE!
Whenever you add some tech to your unit it is inevitable that you will run into technical problems. If that scares you, get over it. It rarely is as bad as you think it could be and with this unit in particular there is not much that can go wrong technically speaking.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you just show up on day 1 of the unit and teach. You need to have some resources on hand to help support those problems. This post is all about the resources I’ve gathered and how I’ve delivered that to my students.
Good news folks, all the resources are free and I encourage you to use them. The bad news is that it took me a little time to create or find them all. If you have some great resources to share be sure to add them in the comments below. We love that stuff.
I am NOT the law
In my first year of doing this unit (it looked vastly different then) I had a very detailed unit plan, lots of scaffolding and assessments along the way to make sure that students were on course to be successful. They succeeded alright. Succeeded in making some of the most uncreative, boring podcasts out there. It’s not their fault, they were simply following my lead and directions. I over scaffolded. The unit became about how to podcast. It should of been about why we podcast and what makes a good one? I learned that the technical part must not be the focus. If it is, you get lousy podcasts and no one wants to listen to that. The creativity and the content must take center stage.
However, you can’t just ignore the technical part or it will lead you and your class to ruin. The technical questions will bog you down, stifle creativity and ultimately doom the whole thing. At the same time, you don’t want to be swarmed with technical questions, it will consume your time and I didn’t want to be the end-all-be-all resource for my students. I didn’t want my word to be “law” as it were. What I did was create and find a number of resources that I felt would answer most of their technical questions while they’re working. That way they always have a resource to draw from. If they encounter something beyond the basics that are covered in the guides, then I will intervene.
I made a promise to myself, I wouldn’t answer basic questions. If it was something covered in a guide, I would direct them to the guide – no exceptions. This works and well. Never did I hear I don’t know where to start or the famous I don’t get it. The guides and the overview gave them all that. Also, by redirecting basic questions to the resources, it freed me up to be more mobile around the class and to really see where their creativity was leading them.
I use and love Edmodo (no secret to most), but I needed a way to distribute these materials. Putting or sharing them on Edmodo is OK but it can get buried or forgotten, so I decided to use a service. I looked at a couple, Delicious, Diigo, LiveBinders and ultimately decided upon Weblist.me. You put links in and it will display the webpage in an iframe, much like LiveLiveBinders, but there are no tabs, only icons and they limit you to 16 (which I didn’t need all of those).
I loaded it up with sites for royalty free music, places where they can make their own jingles with loops to my technical resources. Sounds good, but they didn’t use it. I am not sure why but they rarely visited it at all. On the other hand I used a website so students can sign up for the different microphones to use. They were constantly on that one. The next time I do this unit I will have the resources on the
I also needed a way for the students to book the different microphones. What I came up with was making a website using Webs (which is free by the way) and making a form with Google Drive and voila! I had my resources and the form all in one place. If you go to www.cauleydaa.webs.com (or click on the image below) you can see my website first hand. I’ve deleted all the bookings though but you can see where they would appear. You don’t need to use Webs, you have lots of choices: Weebly, Wix, LifeYo, Kafafa and I’m sure there are more out there. They usually have a way to sign up for free.
This way the students can see who has booked the microphones and the resources that are available to them in one, very organized and easy to find location. Check it out yourself and feel free to use any of the resources I’ve made as well.