Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Confessions of a podcast junkie

Yesterday I attended an ALA/ACRL webinar called "Podcasting for the Classroom", led by David Free. One of the many resources he referenced was an Educause article
"Confessions of a Podcast Junkie", by Carie Windham.

While I am not (yet) a podcasting junkie, the possibilities for using it as a design tool for the learning process are tantalizing. Windham describes how in some classrooms they use podcasts as a way to bring in the voices of different speakers or theorists who students would not normally have the opportunity to hear. I am thinking this would be particularly useful for learners who tend towards an auditory style of learning.

The possibilities for having students really work with the ideas they are grappling with in class appear to be enhanced by the opportunity to create a podcast to put together a class presentation, thereby contributing to students' motivation in the learning process. Likewise, podcasting (with it's prevalence of interviewing as a format) would appear to contribute towards greater classroom collaboration.

Again, however, just using a new technology is not a panacea that will instantly enhance all learning situations. As one student said, "If you're going to use [podcasting], make sure it's practical. Don't just give us busy work."

So, one more tool to put in the toolbox for teaching and learning to keep in mind for the future.

Full notes from Free's session will be available on his blog (http://davidsrandomstuff.blogspot.com/).

Monday, July 9, 2007

EVERYTHING is miscellaneous

I recently read David Weinberger's new book Everything is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder. Weinberger is the one who also (with others) recently brought us The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual.

A video of Weinberger providing an overview of the ideas presented in Everything is Miscellaneous as part of the Authors@Google series is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43DZEy_J694.

This was a profound book, one that I have underlined and dog-eared within an inch of itself because of the copious amount of cool and interesting ideas I saw running through it. I will have to do several postings on the ideas in this book since there is so much there.

Essentially, Weinberger points out the fact that Mr. Dewey was just one person and the organization of knowledge Dewey presented is just one of the numerous ways one can organize and present information. Current technologies are finally making possible the infinite organizations of information in the multitude of ways that make sense to different individuals (something about which Dewey would have, perhaps, been horrified). Weinberger, however, points out the incredible value when all this information is "thrown into a big digital 'pile' to be filtered and organized by users themselves."

Information is not an asset to be guarded, but to be "let loose" so it can be mashed up by people in the ways that work for them.

More to come!