I am writing this post in response to a question/suggestion from Jon David Groff in response to my post “Challenging Myself” and to share the conversation I often have with colleagues. In this post I referred to the fact that I listen to podcasts as often, if no more often than reading blogs. I find when I’m working on other tasks I can listen to a podcast that I have downloaded and be inspired to try new things and implement new ideas into my classroom. I get ideas and resources that I can share with my colleagues.
I have some difficulty with reading lots of text due to an eyesight problem I have had all of my life, so I tend to favour the audio format. This is something that we as teachers should be aware of when asking our students to read information that we may need them to reflect upon, remember or recall.
Recognition that everyone has different learning preferences and offering text in an audio format is a great way to implement flexible learning into your classroom. Reading the text and uploading it to places such as iTunes U, Screenr or embedding it into a shared document is and option. I also find my preference for “reading” books to be in audio format too. Although I have not personally used these options, because my classes are predominantly about sample demonstration and exploration, I am aware they are available when I need them. Listening to Podcasts or audio books is another great way to pass the time when travelling in the car that engages the imagination and everyone can engage, no matter thier reading or educational development. On our move to South Australia, throughout the 8+ hour drive, we listened to a children’s audio book which engaged everyone in the car ranging in age from me in my thirties to our child youngest who was 2 1/2 at the time, and we could all engage in cinversation about the story.
I am definitely an audible learner. My Leming needs are far from anything text based. Although when I’m in the right head space with everything organised, including my thoughts, I find it quite easy to write. As teachers in busy classrooms it is easy to fall into the trap of providing text with no alternative for differentiating alternatives for learners other than the text learners.
Sir Ken Robinson, in his Educating the Heart and Mind speech at the Dali Lama Center 24th, August 2011, says:
“We should personalizeing education not standardizing it, on the basis that we are all different”
I love the relaxation I feel when I’m listening to my favourite podcasts. I know I’m learning and developing my knowledge of the education technology world. I sometimes feel I have experienced everything that is discussed, and other times I feel there is so much for me to still learn and that I am rapidly being left behind. I often wonder how teachers’ who avoid this medium for teaching keep up their professional engagement, because I could not keep up any other way.
Most often the podcast I listen to is The Ed Tech Crew – a pair of Victorian Education Technology specialists who have produced over 200, weekly podcasts ranging in topics from the latest technology, to interviews with leaders in the field, or just simple sharing and reflecting upon links that have been shared to their Diigo group.
Other podcasts I love to listen to on a regular basis it the Australian Radio National EdPod podcast. Were current educational issues are discussed. These range from political news and presentations to discussions about relevant school programs and innovations. There are often interviews with experts and student participants to give the perspective of many sources.
In addition to these regular podcast, I also subscribe to the Stanford Story Telling Project, which is not necessarily educational but definitely keeping the skill of oral story telling alive.
Also on my subscription list is:
When I want a little more visual stimulation my “go-to” place is always the TED or TEDx variations where I am sure to find something that interests me at the time. If all else fails I can always find a Key note speech in the new preferred search enging for students under the age of 15, YouTube.
I’m sure many readers are thinking how can you possibly listen and keep track of all those podcasts? And when do you get the time?
Firstly I use the wonderful Double Twist app on my phone and have paid the A$5 to enable me to subscribe to podcasts, I set the auto download to each subscription and when a new podcast has downloaded I get a message in my notifications. But more often than not I just go into the app when I have any quite spare time and select something to listen to (even if I have already heard it before it is great to go back and listen again). I make opportunities to listen whenever I can, wether it is when I’m working on data for our LMS or out on the crossing duty before school I put in my earphone and listen in between welcoming students to school.
I don’t have to listen to the entire podcast at once because a great skill of reading and listening is to absorb the content and be able to stop and restart without loosing track of the content.
The more we embrace this flexible alternative the better I believe students will engage with their learning – especially if they have difficulty reading black text on white paper as printing usually is.
Do you have any great Podcast you can share with me?
How do you embrace flexible delivery of information to your students who find reading difficult?