I wish to share an ICT initiative from St Michael’s, Baulkham Hills, and I hope we receive some responses to guide our future planning!
A colleague and I attended an Introduction to Podcasting course and as a result our Year threes and a class of year 4s have been introduced to podcasting this term …by two novices! They have been our second ‘group’ of learners to embrace Web2.0.
Audacity [free download] is the program we are using for creating the audio file, then using Lame [free download] to convert the files to MP3. We are yet to load the files to the web. Our students have been highly motivated by the opportunity to publish their research and understandings using podcasting. This is the positive aspect of the tool, combined with the students demonstrating some prior knowledge and understanding of audio - In year 3 we were able to add some ‘zing’ to the important [dry!] topic of Recycling!
Evidence from this exercise has informed us of the possibilities of podcasting with younger students. We have the opportunity to combine this with evidence gathered from our St Michael’s AGQTP project. Both projects indicate high levels of student motivation when they engage in a social networking environment. We used www.think.com as the tool for social networking in our AGQTP project. In that project, we were able to gather data not only related to our research question, but on many other areas including the social and ethical use of computers. For example: we elected to use the online tool Think.com as a secure environment for our research project. Several discussions were held with the students regarding social and ethical behaviours in the Web2.0 environment. Despite this, we had evidence of inappropriate comments from [unexpected!] students towards others. Think.com was therefore a scaffold, a secure and controlled environment - valuable discussion ensured, thus scaffolding primary students into the Web2.0 environment.
Moving into 2007, I foresee a wider use of these two environments at St Michael’s.
Radio WillowWeb scaffolds students, and I believe this is a model worth replicating as we enhance student learning. Think.com has the facility to upload multimedia files [i.e. podcasts], thus providing a secure environment to develop our students’ ethical use of the Web2.0 environment.
Please comment and give us encouragement to keep developing ‘authentic’ Web2.0 educational pedagogy in our large primary school…with all its associated issues relating to access to hardware etc etc!