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Drumroll, please…Here is my newest experiment…podcasting.

I know, I know, lots of people have already done this and published that, but podcasting has real potential for classroom communication. One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is keeping that open line of communication with parents, not because teachers don’t want to, but because the real focus, the real consumer, is the child. Ninety-nine percent of my energy (and I would hazard to say that most teachers are quite similar) is spent planning, creating, facilitating, and reflecting on instructional delivery. This leaves 1 percent, give or take, to apply towards report writing, cadre work, faculty meetings, and the numerous other duties teachers fulfill, of which one is parent education and communication.

Weekly or monthly newsletters typically fill the communication void. In fact, many creative teachers have been able to relinquish newsletter duties to their students, thereby merging their duties and making efficient use of their energies. Unfortunately, as an upper elementary teacher, I’ve found that many times, these newsletters end up in the black hole of the child’s backpack, emerging only once a trimester when the backpack is cleaned. Podcasting is taking the classroom newsletter to the next level, where students are responsible, engaged, and creating content that is not only necessary, but readily accessible (assuming parents have an internet connection or are willing to access one elsewhere, perhaps at a public library).

So in an effort to prepare myself for the upcoming school year, here is my first attempt at an enhanced podcast. Many thanks to my six year old, who acted as a willing guinea pig, and narrated a “micro-mimi” slideshow of shots from his last teeball game. I understand that it is best viewed in iTunes, otherwise you will hear the narration, but not see the pictures. Here is the link for the free download for Windows (I believe most Macs already have it installed, if not, the Mac version is also available for free on the Apple website).

iTunes Download

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This blog is an experiment. While I may never be a digital native and may always have an “accent,” I do intend to learn as much as I can about this new age of communication and networking. This is all thanks to a very timely technology conference, Kukulu Kaiaulu, sponsored by Kamehameha Schools. If ever I attended a mind bending seminar, this was it. From the very first keynote (Will Richardson), my mind was spinning. Everything that I had previously held as truth, was now being brought to light and questioned, not only as an educator, but as a parent. “Put that cell phone away” “Use more than one resource, not just the internet” “Don’t use Wikipedia. Anyone can edit it, therefore, how can you be sure it is accurate and reliable?” “Video games are socially isolating our children” All of these (and more) were very common threads of thought for me and readily given voice in my classroom, I’m embarassed to say. So this online journal of thoughts and feelings and reactions will hopefully chronicle my journey, slow though it may be, and act as a catharsis (indeed inspired by the “art” of the online world). As a parent and educator, I owe it not only to myself, but to the many children whose lives I touch.

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