I got quite a few emails about yesterday’s blog on students that podcast, it seems that a lot of you want to know how my students podcast everyday.
First of all let me just say that my 5th grade students practically podcast by themselves, I am usually just outside the podcasting studio working at my desk. Here is how it all happens…
The assigned students show up at school 15 minutes early. I assign each student a certain day for two months, this gives them enough time to get past being nervous. So for example, one student might be the host for every Tuesday show and another might be the sound-tech for every Monday show. It only takes two students to do a podcast.
The students come into our studio (a room just off of our media center) and start to get the show ready.
This student takes a new fill-in-the-blank script and starts by putting in their name and the sound tech’s name. Then they fill in the date, announcements, what the hot lunch of the day is and then the sound tech will look up the lunch recess weather and they fill that in as well. They look up any birthdays and finally they look for a joke in a kid’s joke book.
The Sound Tech:
This student sits down to the studio laptop, looks up today’s lunchtime weather and starts up a soundboard program. The soundboard is loaded with our sound effects and music tracks (royalty-free music). The student does a quick sound check and the waits to do a rehearsal.
Both students do a rehearsal about 6 minutes before “show time.”
Just before the show starts the sound tech will start our digital recorder and then signals the host to begin. They do the show, complete with music and sound effects and then bring me the digital recorder as they go off to their first class.
Post Show Production:
I take the digital recorder and copy the MP3 to my computer and upload to our website which is connected to our iTunes account which means the show is listed on iTunes with a few hours of being posted on our website. Done, my time is about three minutes to do all of this. I told you I was a lazy podcaster! Podcasting is one of the easiest pieces of school technology to incorporate into your schools.
To check out our podcasting, go to iTunes and search for KBOB or Bethke Elementary.
Today I had the chance to show off my podcasting 10-year-olds. It was part of a demonstration I was giving on what 4th grade students are capable of doing with current school technology.
So in front of 450 local business leaders my two little podcasters did it. I am telling you, I have never been so proud. They were fearless.
I have been podcasting with my students for the past year. Every day they do a podcast of the school announcements each with a little personal twist of their own style. At first it was difficult to get it all together but then we started to work out the bugs and now the students run the whole show. They have over 1700 subscribers on iTunes — students from all over the world.
The digital natives of today are so used to seeing the world as a potential audience.
You just wait, it won’t be long before they are wanting their own dressing rooms with a star on the door.
If you would like to hear our podcasters, go to iTunes and search for KBOB.Read More
So if middle school it too late for our students to start learning keyboarding, when should we start?
I start about half-way through kindergarten! I feel that keyboarding is a key foundation for any future school technology.
I spend the first half of the school year teaching the kindergarteners how to use the computer, but then in the second half we start with Typing Tots, an online typing program. It is funny to watch them type the first few months, some of them are convinced that there keyboard is missing a letter. “Mr. Flick, my computer doesn’t have the letter M!”
Just think about what is going on in their little brains; they are converting from lower-case letters on the screen to upper-case letters on a keyboard and are also having to learn a new sequence of letters — they just figured out the ABCs and now they have QWERTYs.
First grade students mostly work in MS Word, I have three sentences on the screen that they must re-type. They do this to learn punctuations and how to properly use other keys like “enter.” Keep in mind that they are still just using the “hunt and peck” method of keyboarding.
Second grade students now begin the long road of touch typing, or keyboarding without looking, they are now introduced to the home row. I use Dance Mat Typing, which the kids really enjoy.
Student repeat these same keyboarding lessons in the third and fourth grades.
In fifth grade the students should be proficient in keyboarding so I move them onto Nimble Fingers with is a down-and-dirty-nothing-fancy typing app. They must be keyboarding at 30 words a minute by the end of 5th grade. Most students finish at around 50 — well prepared for middle school.Read More
As I speak at different conferences across the country about school technology I am often asked about keyboarding. I know it doesn’t sound all that exciting but I believe it is one of the greatest tech skills that students need to develop.
Many school districts have dropped keyboarding, or typing, from the curriculum in both middle and high schools. It has been pushed down to the elementary-aged students.
I agree with this completely.
By the time a student shows up in middle school they need to already be proficient at keyboarding. Many of the assignments that are given to 12-year-olds and older are to be completed on a computer, not many teachers will allow hand-written work any more.
If a student shows up at middle school only typing a few words a minute they are severely handicapped. Imagine an assignment to do a 1000 word essay on the U.S. civil war. After about 30 minutes of work the student who is struggling at 8 to 10 words per minute is still working on his opening paragraph while another student who is at 50 to 60 words per minute is done.
I once had a 5th grade student that could type at over 100 word per minute, imagine his advantage over his classmates.
A student who struggles at keyboarding will struggle at school. He could be a very bright student with horrible grades because of keyboarding.
I will give more details on this tomorrow, everything from kindergarteners who lose letters to 5th graders who can type blindfolded.Read More
There are some that might argue that students will naturally acquire 21st Century Skills since they are surrounded by so much technology in their daily lives. Why do we need to spend so much money on bringing technology into our schools?
That would be the same as saying that since a student has a paper and pencil he will naturally acquire math skills like algebra or writing skills like poetry.
This is the paradox of school technology and 21st Century Skills.
Just because a student might have a computer at home, it doesn’t mean that they know how to truly use it. They lack the necessary skills.
And if his teachers do not have the proper tools and training, they cannot teach the skills.
Teachers cannot teach 21st Century Skills without tools.
Tools like interactive whiteboards, netbooks, cameras, flip videos, etc.
Modern technology doesn’t replace teachers, it makes them more important than ever.
Most of the students I teach were all born in the 21st Century, they are truly digital natives, they know no other world that this. They cannot remember a world without the Internet or iPods.
We are all just tourists in their world.
So there you have it:
JUST BECAUSE STUDENTS HAVE TOOLS, IT DOESN’T MEAN THEY HAVE THE SKILLS.
TEACHERS CANNOT TEACH THE SKILLS WITHOUT THE TOOLS.
Good luck with trying to figure this one out…Read More