A few weeks ago I attended a presentation about podcasting and audio tools. The presentation, led by my peers, addressed a variety of tools that teachers can use to promote learning and engagement in the classroom. I found this presentation to be eye opening because I was introduced to familiar tools, such as Google Voice, in an unfamiliar way. I found the presentation useful because it gave me ideas for how to use these tools in my classroom.
The first idea the group presented was using podcasting as an instructional tool. I have never really sat down and listened to a podcast so I learned a lot about what they are, their history, and how they can be used in the classroom. Originally, iPods were built for podcasts so there is a multitude of resources available on iTunes with topics ranging from current events to scientific studies. I enjoyed learning about podcasts because I like the idea of having another representation of information to give to my students. Some students may be auditory learners and listening to a podcast may be able to reinforce concepts that I have gone over in class. Additionally, podcasts can be used to introduce a lesson as homework. The only issue I see with this tool is that all students may not be able to access podcasts outside of school. If this is the case, I could attempt to incorporate podcasts into instructional time if I feel the information is relayed in an effective way. I look forward to experimenting with podcasting in my teaching.
The second idea the group presented was audio and voice recording tools. Specifically, I enjoyed hearing about Google Voice because I already have a Google account. There are so many things you can do with Google Voice that I was unaware of before the presentation. For example, you can set up a phone number that is only connected to your email address. This way, students can communicate with you outside of school without calling your main phone line. Additionally, I saw this as a great way to spread access to contact with the teacher. If a student does not have access to the internet at home, he or she may not be able to email a teacher outside of school. However, many students do have cell phones and these can be utilized to communicate with instructors for additional help or any other concerns. As a beginning teacher, I will be interested to see how I can incorporate both of these tools into my instruction. I think one place to start would be to assess the access students have to technology outside of school. Once this is quantified I think I will be able to incorporate these tools, or ones like them, into my teaching.