Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More on Podcasting

First off, we've added a new Podcast to our blog; HattonPodcasts.
We've recorded a few more podcasts using podium and the kids are mostly really enjoying it. Some of the children do find doing something new difficult, but that can be true of anything new, it's certainly not specific to the podcasting.

What has been very consistent is the enjoyement that all the children have got from hearing their own voices. Those children who perhaps found it rather baffling that we wanted them to talk or sing into what is little more than a stick were often surprised, pleasantly so, at hearing themselves coming out of the computer. And then there were the children who fully understood what the microphone was for and what was expected of them, who took equal pleasure out of recording and, even better, re-recording their own little hellos, songs and even 1 rap! (I'm told its based on a Lethal Bizzle track, I have no idea who or what that is! How old do I feel?!)

It's that reward of hearing their own voices that has been so motivating as to get very quiet, even non-verbal children to utter a few sounds into the microphone. Things that may not wow the typical podcast listener, but for our school and the needs of the children these recordings are very rewarding for staff, parents and, of course, the children!

We've been trialing Podium, which has been a real pleasure to use. The simple interface and ability to hide un-wanted sections, such as the episode or chapter tabs, really gives a clean and simple work space that isn't too distracting or intimidating for the kids, something which the more complex podcasting software I've been shown can seem like. Not to say there isn't a place for all those switches and dials, I'm certain that the polishing that can be done to your podcasts with these is wonderful, but here, we're after the basics. We really just want to record and very simply cut and paste different parts together. Something I've found Podium ideal for, so we should be buying the full package soon.

I don't want to seem like I'm on SoftEase's payroll mind, so I should point out that I did find the buttons a little small. The pause and stop buttons that come up while recording are just right for our touchscreens and if the initial record button, at least, was a similar size to these, that would be ideal. Sometimes it can be useful that less used buttons are smaller and less of a distraction, but I feel that such a key operation as "record" should have more prominence.

I don't want to keep banging on about them, but please do give our podcasts a listen as I hope they show how we work to give all the children access to our technologies, regardless of their apparent "ability".

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