Final presentation

April 30th, 2008

Podcasts in Education

“In a culture like ours, long accustomed to splitting and dividing all things as a means of control, it is sometimes a bit of a shock to be reminded, that in operational and practical fact, the medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium — that is, of any extension of ourselves — result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.” Says Marshall McLuhan in his article “The Medium is the Message”. (NMR p.203)

What does this mean for us? To me it means we have to go with the flow, changes and developments that happen every day. In our daily lives we are exposed to all kinds of media around the clock. McLuhan does not mean we are helplessly exposed to the Medium. Instead, he suggests that we ourselves shape the medium, make it an extension of ourselves. So by denying this we simply make life more difficult.
My major is education; thus most of my thinking revolves around education as well. McLuhan is quite inspirational to me. By reminding us that the medium is the message, he basically motivates us to integrate media into the classroom. Of course we have already integrated media in the schools; the black board was used much less when the overhead projectors made their way into the classroom. They were soon joined by VCRs, which replaced the old film rolls. Have we come to a stand still or why does McLuhan see the need to remind us of the important role of media in our daily lives?
His article was published in 1964. Even though it is almost 45 years old, it still carries the same meaning. It applies just as much today as it did 40 years ago. In some American classrooms whiteboards have been replaced with smart boards. Amazing technology, but many teachers do not even know how to use it. Somehow technology or new media is intimidating for many of us. McLuhan points out, though, that it is simply an extension of ourselves.
The majority of today’s youth doesn’t leave the house without an mp3-player. In order to help them focus on the material in the classroom, we have to find new ways to catch their attention. We can do that by including the modern media with which they surround themselves. Podcasts can be a wonderful addition to the classroom. As I became an expert on podcasts, I decided to make a few podcasts introducing several ways of integrating them in education.

My first podcast is a short videopodcast. It is very simple. As it focuses on teaching foreign languages I wanted to make sure the focus really is on the language. Nonetheless, I felt adding some of the text spoken in the podcast helps different learner types as they can read along. Also very practical is the space to explain unfamiliar vocabulary.

Podcast #1


The benefits of Podcasts are plentiful.

1. Podcasts are generally short, so the attention span of our students is long enough to fully concentrate on the content.
2. Podcasts are already out there and can be a great source of authentic target language. I will talk about this in my third podcast. (coming soon)
3. Students might get interested and start subscribing to podcasts which will augment their knowledge
4. Podcasts can be used as a means of oral assessment; my second podcast explains the benefits.

Podcast #2


5. Podcasts are fairly easy to produce when scaffolding the students. On top of that, it is a medium our students approve of, the motivational factor is much higher than with many other projects.
6. Anxiety levels are much lower than when talking in front of everyone as opposed to simply talking into a microphone.
7. Students may be proud after succeeding in making their own podcast, which is another motivational boost.
8. Authentic podcasts may foster interest in different cultures or promote interests in sciences or other subjects students never thought about before.

Podcast #3 authentic material coming soon…
2 examples of authentic podcasts great to use in the classroom:

British podcast on statistics and current issues, also comes with newspaper articles on BBC website:
Great for activities…
Easy English on pop stars, made for the classroom, with native English speakers and interviews of stars as well as a short grammar exercise at the end. Only about 5 minutes long, full interviews can be read in their magazine and some facts can be found online…

Seymour Papert’s article from Mindstorms, “On Children, Computers and Powerful Ideas,” was the article that inspired me most, because I am talking about using New Media in education. Papert examines Piaget’s ideas in his article and comes to the conclusion that innovations are of tremendous importance in education. I’ll quote him to show the immense amount of significance Papert ascribes to new media: “Stated most simply, my conjecture is that the computer can concretize (and personalize) the formal. Seen in this light, it is not just another powerful educational tool. It is unique in providing us with the means for addressing what Piaget and many others see as the obstacle which is overcome in the passage from child to adult thinking.” (Papert, p.425 NMR) Papert believes that the computer makes such a big difference because it concretises formal thinking.
Seeing the role computers have in students’ lives we have to agree with Papert, that bringing them into the classroom can only enhance learning. Papert says further, “The intellectual environments offered to Children by today’s cultures are poor in opportunities to bring their thinking about thinking into the open, to learn to talk about it and to test their ideas by externalizing them. Access to computers can dramatically change this situation.” (Papert p.418 NMR). Podcasts are a great example of these new possibilities that computers have brought to the classroom. As said before they are a fantastic way of bringing authentic language and culture into the lives of students, in a way a textbook cannot keep up with.


– Magedanz Joseph (2007), How to get a student’s ear? Try podcasting, The Language Educator (October 2007)

preparation for presentation

April 30th, 2008


Alright, sometimes it is necessary to get a little help. Thanks to Jim Groom my videopodcast now made it onto the UMW blog!

We will listen to it during the presentation…

podcast #1 second try…

April 29th, 2008

Already, because wordpress is being difficult, I opened a blogger acount and uploaded the video podcast there. I am not sure if it qualifies as a podcast though, cause with blogger I haven’t figured out how to add the RSS feed… but at least you can see what it’s supposed to look like…

Have fun watching video podcast #1 !

podcast #2

April 29th, 2008


Well, as the videopodcast is so difficult to be uploaded, I decided to go with the majority of podcasts and produced an audio podcast only this time.

Let’s hope this one was just as successfull in uploading as the first one.

Yeah, it worked!!

April 29th, 2008

Now that the first try was so successfull, I will share my first podcast with you. I actually made a videopodcast, but I haven’t figured out how to upload anything else but mp3’s. If anyone has experience in that and wants to give me a hint, I’d be really glad. So I just extracted the audiofile for now and turned it into an mp3.

The credits are missing in the audio as they were part of the video. But mainly I am quoting Nelson.

podcast 1


April 29th, 2008

I decided to try things out a little before continuing working on the project.

To give a little taste, this jingle is going to be the start at all my podcasts:


I am curious if this works out. I did try to install the podcast plugin, but I am not quite sure if it will work, I might have to play around with it a little. Unfortunately I haven’t figured out how to post videopodcasts. Maybe I’ll end up bringing the videocasts to class and figure out the posting of those after my presentation. We will see.


April 16th, 2008

I was really dissapointed with the last reading. I don’t know if it was just bad timing when I read it last week, but I hardly understood it. I didn’t even make the connection, that W3 stands for world wide web. So I was really surprised when Dr. C exclaimed that this text was so great to understand. The discussion brought more light into it. And I know am even more convinced that I should have read it when I was less tired, but I still thought the other readings were more interesting.

This whole WWW thing did remind me though of the command screen and the huge floppy disks quickly being replaced by the smaller once and today computers don’t even have a floppy disk drive anymore.

What is really interesting and I have no answer for this, in Germany around the time this article was written banks started offering free internet courses on the weekends for their clients or during the week for school classes. Why banks? Anyway, that’s how I learned to email was through a class at my local bank.

Video Games and Computer Holding Power

April 8th, 2008

Pun intended? I thought the “Computer Holding Power” was a very clever title.

The people that shared their experiences in the book all insisted that it was them who felt powerful while playing video games. To me the opposite seemed to be the case though. The computer was holding the power. The power to draw those people to the screen day after day to spend hours playing video games. In most cases it made the people feel better. And the author didn’t seem completely against video games.

I just felt that it is very scary how computer games can suck people in and hours after hours are spent with a machine instead of interacting with others. Espeacially since those people thought they were impowered and not addicted and therefore powerless.

I also wanted to comment on Gwens post, but didn’t succeed… So Gwen: I totally agree with you. When I read the passage with that husband I thought exactly the same thing. (I was just too tired to blog last night..) I was also wondering if his wife knows what he is doing… To me it felt like he was just trying to find an excuse, I am sure his wife would have understood if he had told her, he can not talk right after work and needs some time to arrive firtst.  And I also agree with you, that videogames came across, sort of as a drug in the whole chapter.

I have played video games before, but not to the extend like anyone in this chapter. I remember Pack Man, and Chrystal, and Commander Keen. They were games played on the dos (?) part of the computer. I espacially liked a game with Lemmings. And I could relate to the highscore the author mentioned. It was usually a competition between me and my sibblings. But I also remember that we would sit infront of the screen together sometimes trying to figure out a though level.  I prefer playing games together with people though. Card games, board games, anything. There is just as much competition going on, plus conversation and laughter at the same time.

How intelligent is an intelligent person?

April 4th, 2008

This morning during breakfast I was reading the bullet, and ever since this question has been on my mind. In the article on Profs leaving on p.5, one of the leaving Profs is quoted “It’s annoying and frustrating to think that as a wage earner with an advanced degree, and the intelligence of an intelligent person, there are certain parts of my country that I can’t afford to life in,…”

I asked my hallmates and they raised the questions, how stupid is a stupid person? and how tall is a tall person ?

Somehow I thought the question is related to some of the discussions we had about geniuses. If anyone finds the answer, let me know.

The end of books

April 4th, 2008

Well, maybe I found the title so intriquing or I have no idea why, I put a post it on the article: “The end of books” and I got it confused with the post it for Tuesdays reading, so I was fortunate enough to read this article. (I probably wouldn’t have due to a full schedule)

But I can only recommend this article (#49) to anyone. The whole text is just as challenging as the title.

The most provocative statement is right in the opening paragraph. “Indeed, the very proliferation of books and other print-based media, so prevalent in this forest -harvesting, paper-wasting age, is held to be a sign of its feverish moribundity, the last futile gasp of a once vital form before it finally passes away forever, dead as God.” (Coover)

Coover suggests, that the novel is dying out, and he holds the oppinion that hypertext is superior to traditional printworks. I totally disagree with him. I can not argue against his points that introducing hypertext in his college writing workshops was more challenging and led to better results. Nonetheless I can not agree with him, that hypertext brings the end of books. Nor, that hypertext can not be put on paper.

I remember as a child we loved the crime novels, where we got to decide at the end of each parapraph, where the detectives should continue, if they should make a right turn or a left or interogate the gardener before the maid and so on. In many ways those novels remind me of hypertext. They came in a book though. And with the book you can curl up in an arm chair, you can take it along on the bus or the metro, or you can trade with your neighbor or sibblings.

Of course laptops can be taken along as well, but honestly who takes their laptop with them for a day at the swimmingpool or the beach. You can shake the sand of a book or dry it in the sun, but a laptop is more sensitive than a book. Also it needs power, a batterie only lasts so long.  Of course you can take the laptop to the porch and plug it in with an extension cord, but the screen is really hard to read when it is sunny.

Another important argument is the energy it takes to read on the computer. I simply prefer print-media. And I saw, on Tuesday, that I wasn’t the only one who had printed the immigrant text.

I can see Coopers arguments for using hypertext in class, it sounds great how many people can work easily on the same story, but I continue to disagree with him that hypertext is the beginning of the end of books.