I don't get it.
I didn't have the opportunity to attend NECC in Philadelphia but I did have the opportunity to follow the activities through several blogs. Obviously, from what I read, podcasting was a big hit and I'm not really sure why, other than the name and the obvious link to Apple's iPod.
Now I have listened to my share of podcasts. But what is so exciting about an audio file? I'd rather read a blog and interact with hyperlinks, and process and scan for interesting content, but maybe that is just my learning style. I know you can download them and listen to them on another device but do I really want to do that? I've read that others listen to the podcasts in their car-well, you know, I think I'll listen to some Springsteen or Bodeans or some Steely Dan, cranked with the windows open (but the air conditioning on) and turn loose the 265 horses of my Nissan Maxima and do some driving, thank you very much. I spend too much time with technology as it is.
I certainly respect the right to podcast, and I think podcasting can and will contribute to open source thinking and learning
, but not on a large scale. I could be wrong. Realistically, is the average teacher going to Podcast? Unlikely, given the demands of the daily grind of teaching and the technical nature of creating and posting a Podcast. I'd be happy if they just filled out my online surveys on professional development. Will kids podcast-probably, some. Will it be our responsibility to teach them? Hmmm.....I think we have other things to teach them that ultimately be more important.
I don't object to podcasts at all-what bothers me is that this is the latest and greatest and people are jumping on the bandwagon. Education has been criticized for years for doing this. How many of you who are teachers have invested time and energy in some initiative to find out next year it's something different. And the next year it's something different. With this in mind, why do we wonder why change is so difficult for educators?
We need to focus on fundamentals, with a glance towards more substantive tools. How many teachers right now could outline a plan to implement information literacy into their instruction? How many could explain fair use? How many could teach kids how to locate Web resources effectively? How many can design an effective presentation to kids that models the priniciples of visual literacy effectively? More importantly, how many teachers could actually describe what constitutes effective technology use within the context of effective instruction?
We wonder sometimes if technology makes a difference in student performance and student learning. Many people say it doesn't. We all know it does. But continued hopping on the newest bandwagon actually moves us further away from what is important.