Blog Post by PTAC Member Jeffrey Patrick
Writing this blog is new territory for me as a teacher leader. I’ve never done this before, but sometimes as teachers we have to move past our comfort zone in order to grow.
When I first joined the Pennsylvania Teachers Advisory Committee, I was thrilled to be part of this new group of amazing educators. At the orientation, I agreed to write this blog post. I wanted to help teachers’ voices be heard, but I didn’t know that my voice would be heard so quickly. My wife even questioned, “What have you gotten yourself into now?”
New things are always uncomfortable, at least at first. As a STEAM Integration teacher, I’m constantly asking other educators to be more comfortable with new and engaging technologies.
This doesn’t always go well, as you can imagine.
If anything is a constant in education, it’s change. This time it is my opportunity to get uncomfortable by reflecting on teaching, STEAM education, and newer practices (to me anyway) like podcasting and blogging.
STEAM education and computer science are changing the landscape of education. I live it every day. I must stay one step ahead. I need to research and understand new teaching methodologies before they are a trend. More importantly, I need to prepare our students for the future.
Podcasting isn’t new. It’s been around since Apple sold more iPods than iPhones. I follow many podcasts and YouTube channels. There are so many to list, and I would do many an injustice to even name a few of my favorites. I’ve found that if you’re on the edge of new educational practices, the work flow for finding and seeking new tools to teach with is sometimes more important than the specifics that are found on their own.
On my trip to PETE&C, I decided I was going to start a podcast. I had some help from a great friend. We were determined. I felt awkward doing it, but we moved forward. This friend is also part of my Professional Learning Network (PLN), and that made it a bit easier.
Develop a good PLN, both online and in person, that you can share ideas with. It’s more valuable than any teaching tool or podcast.
We began. We looked for inspiration from Twitter, Edtech blogs, app store reviews, and colleagues. We Googled. We decided on a podcast app called Anchor. I’m sure there are better ones that fit your needs, but the best feature of this one is that it’s free. It also allows users to use their phone and create a podcast remotely. We found ourselves walking around Hershey Lodge at PETE&C, and did some of our recordings away from each other. It was a win. We recapped nearly all our experiences and sessions. This was pretty cool concept, and it took little effort. We justed started talking. Our results were no This American Life, but we had created content. For our students, this could be the key to unlocking their potential.
How can this be implemented? This year, my school is moving to standards-based grading. My plan is to have students reflect on learning, experiences, and projects with this application. It will become a tool to evidence learning in their digital portfolios, which we plan on using with google sites.
My students are familiar with a lot of applications. I teach students basic sound production and video production with software like Traktor Pro, Noise by Roli, Soundation Studio, Garageband, iMovie, and Educreations. Anyone that is used to using a DAW (digital audio workstation) will be familiar with the workflow. Anchor operates similarly. The timeline editor portion of these software applications allow for easy editing.
I plan on providing students with opportunities to share their experiences with podcasting by building on their knowledge of timeline editor workflows. Then they will save them to their personal google sites portfolio.
Podcasting has helped me reflect on my own learning. Try something like podcasting or even audio notes to improve your craft. Ask your students for feedback or survey them about assessment choice. Engage in that resource. Show students how you found the resource. Even better, embed research of a podcasting app into your digital citizenship lesson. We chose Anchor. Your students might find another application.
That’s all part of the process of learning. Have discussions about how to choose topics, branding, and/or editing. Provide your students with future ready skills and experiences. If anything else, reach out to your PLN, blog, and/or podcast to share your ideas.
It’s a great way to try something new for your students.