Tech Tuesday

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iTunes and Other Podcastic Thoughts


Being producers of our own podcasts, I often forget that there are so many free podcasts already available to us in iTunes. There are video as well as audio podcasts. Some are great for students, and some are great for your own professional development. We’ve started to gather some here of various subjects. All can be subscribed to in iTunes.

One area that I want to explore more is iTunes U. This is a great introduction video to check out. If you have a desire to learn about a topic, this is the place to go! And no tuition is required even from some of the most prestigious universities on the planet. iTunes U would be a great match for high school. It also is a wonderful professional development opportunity for specific content teachers.

And you don’t need an iPod to access any of these resources. iTunes is a free download to a computer. Therefore, a classroom computer could become a listening station for a student. Add an inexpensive headphone splitter, and two students can listen together.

Splitters also work great with iPods, doubling iPod accessibility. And if you only have one iPod, you could invest in a RockStar. Ask students to bring in his/her own earbuds (cost effective for you and healthier for them!), and you have a center for a small group of students (up to five). (Management tip for elementary: we have students keep their earbuds in a labeled baggie in their desks.)

Of course, it’s extremely motivating when students create their own podcasts, and they can be loaded in a computer’s iTunes library and even synced to an iPod. You can’t beat the sense of pride and accomplishment that students feel when their work is being shared. Students love checking out each other’s work as well. However, this should not be a passive activity. Students should have a purpose to listen (and watch) whether it’s a classmate’s creation or a podcast from another resource. If the podcast is being accessed on a site, usually the site is equipped to accept comments for the author. However, if the podcast is in a computer’s iTunes or on an iPod, feedback or reflections need to happen in a different way. Many teachers create a simple worksheet for students to fill out as they listen. Often there are three “generic” questions. 1) Which podcast did you listen to? 2) What is one thing that you learned from this podcast?  3) What is one thing that the podcast creator did well? If you want to be green or collect this feedback for easy analysis in a spreadsheet, a Google Form could be utilized. (Check out a previous post about Google Forms.) Another idea if you have iPod Touches is to have students give feedback using Notes and email it to the teacher right from the Touch.

Looking for more tips on podcasts and iPods? Tony Vincent’s site (and podcast) Learning In Hand has been very helpful to me.

All in all, if you haven’t been window shopping in the iTunes store recently or ever, it’s worth a look. Go on a free podcast spree.

Do you have any tips, tricks or management ideas? Or favorite podcasts?

5 Comments to

“iTunes and Other Podcastic Thoughts”

  1. March 2nd, 2010 at 6:24 am       Dan McGuire Says:

    Thanks for the endorsement of iTunes and iTunes U. I’ve yet to spend much time with either. My 15 year old daughter does all of the music downloading in our family and I’m happy to let her. She’ll eagerly copy any requests I have to my iPod.

    I’m a little concerned about iTunesU as a proprietary repository of information. It’s a little like having Barnes and Noble become the official librarians of the future. Yeah, Barnes and Noble’s staff are as helpful as the folks at my public library but I don’t think that’s what Ben Franklin had in mind and I can see problems down the road if iTunesU should ever become a monopoly of information archiving.

  2. March 2nd, 2010 at 11:18 am       Patti Says:

    I am amazed that so much is out there to use. Recently, I was in a 3rd grade class where students were listening to stories via Ipods.This past weekend, I received a hand-me-down Ipod which I hope to learn to use. I am looking forward to exploring Itunes and the podcasts for educators. of course, i have to learn how to download music first! Thanks for the resources!

  3. March 4th, 2010 at 2:00 am       woodenmask Says:

    I just uploaded my first podcasts this weekend – a class project that had turned out spectacularly well. A teacher much smarter than me who I Skype with occasionally suggested as an easy way to do it.

    It wasn’t EASY, but definitely do-able. Also not-easy-but-doable was uploading it to iTunes.

    I’ll be doing this again, I think.

    ps –

  4. March 4th, 2010 at 6:55 am       lsanderson Says:

    We use Podbean at the moment, and I agree, it’s not that straightforward! I will check out your work. 🙂

  5. March 6th, 2010 at 6:56 pm       ktenkely Says:

    We use iPods, podcasts, and iTunes but somehow I have never seen Rockstar. Thanks for that tip!
    I have ideas for using iPods in education here:

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