Podcast.net: I found this frustrating. My searches for specifics in the directory yielded many dead ends. So I stuck to larger topics: Iraq, Bush, storytelling. Since I like storytelling, I stayed there for awhile, but got stuck with the “spinning beach ball of death” while a podcast was either being hunted down or loading-I couldn’t see putting up with this in the elementary school library. Why was everything from 2006 or early 2007?
Podcast Alley: While choosing a podcast might be easier (descriptions are handy), actually listening to it on my RSS feed reader required more steps. Acquiring Juice, an aggregator, might solve this problem, I thought– but figuring out how to subscribe and listen to podcasts was not. So I stuck with Google Reader, subscribing to a bunch of feeds. This was like shopping in a catalog, marking the pages; I knew I wasn’t going to buy most of it.
Indeed, while it was initially entertaining to have my computer act like a radio, I found lots of these podcasts pretty Difficult Listening. I couldn’t hang in for the 20-minute oral diary of a knitting enthusiast – why a certain yarn had to be returned in the 90-degree heat of Houston, for instance, or the latest thoughts of a couple of Sherlock Holmes wonks. I felt I was listening to one-way phone conversations. We’ve all been there. After a while, the voices are boring. That’s the key-the sound of the voice. Lots of podcasts start off with some nifty intro music or riff, only to devolve into “whatever comes to mind”, blah blah blah.
I fear that podcasts , like YouTube and blogs, are too numerous; now that anyone can, everyone does, even if they shouldn’t.
(ps. I think I may hold onto Brain Food, a sort of oral version of Wikipedia, not organized in any obvious kind of order. Definitely “whatever came to mind”, but thought out, written out, and edited for clarity.)
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Can I use podcasts?
If I could find a reliable source of accessible material for elementary students, great. But time is not on my side these days.
What about creating podcasts?
In conjunction with class projects-family stories or histories, interviews with local “important people”, Question of the Week (ask a few staff people and some students to respond, publish as a link to the school or library web page.)