Sunday, August 06, 2006

Adventures in Podcasting

Given that blogs are asynchronous, sporadic, and modular I don't see much point in pausing a narrative that only exists to myself to explain the interrelatedness of dogs and podcasting . . . except to affirm that the more time I spend with my dogs the more I learn about just about everything. And everything I learn about podcasting (and whatever other dimensions of teaching and writing and rhetoric arise in this blog) will surely be enriched or influenced or at least observed by these companions. I have every confidence that the intersections and overlaps will be plentiful and serendipitous.

From now on I'll just let the juxtapositions do their own work--tetradesque or otherwise.

OK, so podcasting. I thought it would be interesting to record this little teaching journey because I'm truly starting from scratch and have far to go in a relatively short space of time.

What I currently know about podcasting (not much)

  • It's basically just recording audio files that can be downloaded to an MP3 player.
  • It would be helpful (though it's not essential) for me to own a portable MP3 player to usability test my podcasts, and since my campus has a fancy arrangement with Apple I'll go with an iPod.
  • I'll need a digital recording setup, and Belkin appears to make a device that would attach to my iPod and make it fairly easy to record and upload from my iPod.
  • Even though I work at an "Apple campus" my college isn't in cahoots with Apple so much, so I'm going to have to be even more persistent than usual in getting access to the podcasting training and support they're presumably providing.
  • I'm basically optimistic that a Mac-product approach is smart because I'm still a Mac fan despite the weirdness of the aforementioned Apple campus scenario.
  • I do have some specific pedagogical goals for podcasting, and this will help me focus on teaching and learning instead of becoming mired in the gadgetry.
  • I'd really benefit from some podcasting "best practices" guidance but so far I've had surprisingly little luck finding anything substantial online. (What gives?)
  • I'll need to upload my podcasts somewhere, and I need to figure out--soon--where I can and should do that (because I'd much prefer to link the podcasts directly to my course websites and classes begin in just a couple of weeks).


Why I'm planning to do it--pronto (pedagogy & experimentation)

  • I'll be teaching overseas for 2 weeks in the middle of the semester and view podcasting as a neat way to remain connected with my US students--beyond the typical online posting/emailing scenario. The aurality of podcasting appeals to me because it seems like a more personal way to get inside their heads (vs. visual text alone).
  • I want to use podcasts to guide students through their initial experiences of field research--the oral narrative will, I think, challenge them to slow down and observe their subjects more deliberately than they might with the printed "scavenger hunt" -ish approach.
  • I've been doing a lot of oral history work lately with my students and would like to soon begin using podcasting as a means of sharing their interesting projects with a broader audience.

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