Blogs, Podcasts, and Twitter, O My. Teaching with Technology

Today's topic in Teaching with Technology (a course I'm currently a TA in at NU) involved blogging, podcasting, and twittering.  After a discussion of each broadcast media, students were off and running gathering examples of each medium for a particular topic.

Blogging:  Ah, the grand-daddy of broadcast media.  Arguably, the platform that gave everyone an instant voice and audience, blogging is an easy media form to translate to the classroom.  Students can start a blog (Wordpress, Blogger, or Edublogs - probably the better choice for educators) on any of the the aforementioned platforms, and teachers, parents, and community members can stay caught up wtih all of the happenings in the classroom, directly from the minds of the students and/or teacher. 

Podcasting:  This one's interesting because I think a lot of teachers mention "podcast", but are actually referring to any multimedia recording project.  This can intimidate some teachers from engaging in a simple media project if they think that a continuous, downloadable, episodic, and topic based project (def. podcast) is going to be required.  Instead, I would encourage all teachers to consider adding a multimedia, audio/visual project component to their course.  As teachers get more experience with the inclusion of such projects, the development of something more continuous and sharable can be undertaken over the course of a year.  Teachers can create class podcasts, students can share and collaborate on an audio/visual recording throughout the year, and both forms can provide the audience (teachers, students, parents, and community) with useful and engaging content.  For a well known example, visit Dr. Tim Tyson through his website or through his experience as principal.

Twittering:  As I mentioned in class, I feel that Twitter has gotten a bad rap lately, and may have branded itself out of the domain of being useful.  I was initially turned on to the idea of microblogging when I first saw Twitter in an Economist article back when it first began.  I quickly signed up for an account and began posting tweets similar to status updates found in Facebook.  When Twitter blew up in recent years, I became disillusioned, and although one could make the case for breaking news benefiting from Twitter, I think the public's perception is mainly that of Twitter being used for mundane updates and celebrity stalking.  With regards to education, I could see some potential uses, and this article summarizes 50 of them well.  For teachers concerned with keeping things internal, edmodo seems to be the place to go.

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