Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘podcast

I am on a restful hiatus and taking the opportunity to binge on entertainment that I discovered or have been putting off.

I have always listened to podcasts, but these were not a main staple of my learning and laughing diet. One of the audio-based gems I unearthed recently, My Dad Wrote A Porno, is four-years-old.

The name of the podcasts speaks for itself. If it does not, here is a review of sorts.

The podcast has done so well that it earned an HBO special recently.

The podcast is not for the prude or the faint of heart. You need a healthy sense of humour and a pair of earphones or headphones to enjoy it. You might also need some thick skin if you listen to the podcast in public — people might wonder why you ugly laugh and cry.

If you this podcast a habit, you might appreciate how an intrepid trio of friends critique one of their father’s attempts at writing erotica, or more accurately, erratica.

It did not take me many walks and commutes to binge listen to all four seasons. I am now a Belinker who wonders what will happen to the Confidential Order of Cookware Knights.

Video source

In July I updated my iPhone to iOS 8.4. When iOS updates, so does iTunes to keep pace. Like most updates, these brought new features and fixes, but they also broke what did not need fixing.

I did nothing to my podcast subscriptions on my devices. However, the updates caused one particular subscription to be blocked. I tried in vain to remedy what was not previously a problem.

Thanks to the collective problem-solving in online forums, I discovered that a new setting was the culprit. This is what to do to reach it.

  1. Activate the Settings application.
  2. Go to the General category.
  3. Go to Restrictions, and enter your passcode to access the menu. Note: You may have set different passcodes for your iPhone and for Restrictions.
  4. If not enabled, select Enable Restrictions.
  5. Scroll down to the Allowed Content subsection.
  6. Go to Music, Podcasts & iTunes U and turn Explicit on.

Before I had this solution, I moved to SoundCloud for the same podcast. SoundCloud does not have the same restrictions setting, but it does not seem to remember where I stop playback and to resume playing from that point.

SoundCloud also does not remember this between devices so that I can switch seamlessly between a Macbook Air and iPhone, for example.

Addendum: Apple pushed a minor update, iOS 8.4.1, today. The setting remained intact on my iPad, but reverted to off on my iPhone.

As I examine most things through an educational lens, this incident reminded me of the:

  1. power of collective problem-solving as enabled by the Internet;
  2. importance of providing resources on open platforms; and
  3. need to provide the same resource on different platforms should a platform change policy or not be available to some learners.

This NPR report headlines as “Dean Urges Tech-Free Classes”.

It’s not accurate. Dean Jose Bowen actually urges faculty to use technology more strategically and effectively.

Read and hear for yourself. And keep your pants on!

How could I not blog about something that three Tweeters I am following mentioned?

If you visited The Guardian, you might have come across this headline: Pupils to study Twitter and blogs in primary schools shake-up. Of course the headline was sensationalistic, but it was quite accurate too.

I think that the bottom line was not so much that primary school kids in the UK might embrace more technology in school. The fact is that they will be using more RELEVANT technologies in their schools. This will force teachers to update their pedagogies because if they don’t they will soon discover that old methods do not necessarily allow new or better forms of learning to take place.

And of course various stakeholders feel threatened. There’s not enough coverage of history or the learning of drama for example. But at the end of the day we should not be looking at what is important to us in the short term, but what is important to the kids for the long term. We should be preparing them for their future, not our past.

Am I going to wait for the Singapore educational system to play catch up? Obviously not. I am preparing preservice teachers under my care to think and teach progressively. Time will tell if I am right.

Sometimes I wonder how I would function as an educator without the Internet to help me with resources both human and non-human.

My four classes of teacher trainees started exploring Second Life (SL) this week. Over the weekend, someone I met a few years ago by email (and only this year in person) sent me a link from NPR about a short podcast on educational SL. The timing was serendipitous! (Thanks, Carolyn!)

Like a few of the people who commented on the show, I think that the interviewee, Demers, might have oversold the possibilities of learning in SL. Why learn ballet in SL? Learning the theory and history in SL might be possible, but ultimately you have to engage in ballet kinesthetically in real life.

I firmly believe that most of the time it is pointless to recreate in SL what already exists or is more convenient in real life. Want to teach or learn principles of ecology and economy? Then you and your students should not recreate a conventional zoo but create a dinosaur zoo instead!

I liked what one commenter, Joe Essid, had to say:

My most recent students improved their analytical writing skills by using SL as a subject, but the focus remained on analysis and writing: SL was merely a new form of communication they studied. With any classroom technology, there’s a tendency to slip into euphoria for a while–then good pedagogy follows. The same is true of SL.

What makes the difference is the pedagogy that makes powerful and meaningful use of the technology. But I also see how new technologies can push pedagogy further. The affordances of SL challenge the way we teach and the way our students learn.

The problem is that we often don’t take full advantage of the affordances of new technologies. Instead, we use them in old ways or ways that we are comfortable with, and this often leads to ineffective use of that technology. Oh, wait, I have said this before and the YouTube story I linked to in that blog entry says it all.

If that does not make an impact, how about YouTube footage of the NPR host trying to get virtual coffee when he had real coffee with him?

I took the opportunity to listen to yet another backlogged podcast yesterday. (As I did some window shopping, I shut the crowd out with my earphones!) I am glad that I did because this one focused on issues of integrating blogs with mainstream curricula.

I have been experiencing and mulling over some of the issues myself, so I was glad to hear other practitioners discuss edublogging. Here were a few things I picked up.

At around the 10min 30s mark, the guest of the show mentioned how she felt that “blogosphere” was a misnomer. She felt that there were actually several overlapping blogospheres based on areas of interest instead. Interesting perspective!

The conversation turned to the social construction of knowledge with blogs. At around the 12min 10s mark, someone revealed how it has been estimated that only 1 out of 100 visitors to a blog (or a wiki for that matter) will actually bother to comment or edit. That’s a depressing statistic! But this was a theme that was repeated in the podcast, e.g., at 35min. Authors need not be demoralized if they do not get as many comments as they hope; readership alone was important!

At around the 21min mark, the discussants talked about how blogs could be used for different purposes and for extending the classroom. This reinforced my own beliefs that blogs need not be viewed just as social journals, but also as personal and reflective ones or any other relevant purpose that teachers can think of.

As I reflect on the course that I facilitate, I am aware that most of my trainees’ blogs have a readership of two: The author and me. I see nothing wrong with that because that allows me to see inside their heads at critical moments. But I must think of ways to bring in the more powerful social aspect of blogging.

I thought that the best bit of the podcast was somewhere around the 23min 30s mark. The group started discussing whether blogs could or should be used for assignments. They also questioned the motivation of a student to read another student’s blog or to write their own entries: Were they doing it because they wanted to or because they had to? It was a question of agency. Personally, I don’t like the idea of grading blogs as assignments. But I think that awarding participation or bonus points is a start.

Late in the podcast (around the 52 and 57min marks), the group mentioned formal blogging strategies and how the teacher might model some behaviours. I liked how the guest shared her strategy of getting her students to create their own exam questions!

So this is my take on what edublogging is: Unlike conventional blogging, it can be imposed and more structured at first. I believe that edublogging is more disciplined and regular instead of being based just on personal agency. But for it to be effective, I think that edublogging must return to its roots of communicating within a close community.

Finally, I think that teachers who edublog must be models of blogging and not only set standards, but also blog ethically and responsibly. They can blog not only about academic topics, but also try to address values and attitudes.

Once in a blue moon, I listen to select podcasts from EdTechTalk. These podcasts are like fly-on-the-wall recordings because you get to listen to teachers talk. The podcasts tend to be quite long and rambling at times, but there can be gems hidden in all that talk!

They recently started podcasts that focused on preservice teacher education. One that I had been putting off listening to was

The participants in that show wondered if preservice teachers were well prepared for today’s classrooms. They also sought recommendations for teacher preparation.

It was obvious that they felt that teachers could be better prepared. One teacher educator felt that teachers needed to tinker with technology and devise ways to to integrate technology across curricula. I whole heartedly agree with the need to tinker; how else will they think about the possibilities? I am intrigued with the idea of cross disciplinary technology integration and find myself giving examples of this in my own classes.

Another participant felt that teachers “teach the way they are taught”. I feel exactly the same way. Many teacher educators still teach didactically. Our preservice teachers need more models of education and this fuels my motivation to teach differently and, I dare say, more effectively.

The thing that intrigued me the most was a response on how to best prepare teachers. One participant suggested a support system for teachers after they enter schools. This support could take the form of a community for sharing ideas on technology integration. I think this is an ambitious but brilliant idea!

My experience from previous batches of trainee teachers tells me that they like the idea of the wiki as a repository of ideas and technology tools.  One reason I set up the wiki was to allow my teachers to have access to resources once they leave NIE instead of locking them up in BlackBoard.

I have also toyed with the idea of getting inservice teachers to informally co-teach or mentor in my course. This could bring in a greater sense of realism or practicality. Alternatively, we might do a podcast of our own or do a live conference with my classes.

Sigh, so many ideas, so little time. And so much resistance from various quarters…

Click to see all the nominees!

QR code

Get a mobile QR code app to figure out what this means!

My tweets


Usage policy

%d bloggers like this: