Blogging Beats Podcasts (for me)

Today is a Snow Day in G-Town, much to the delight of our teachers and students. I’m still required to work, but I love snow days as much as the next person. Why? I get a full workday, without interruption, to accomplish any project I would like. I try to get to things I don’t normally have an opportunity to work on.

This morning, I’ve been listening to my first podcasts over at edtechlive. As tech savvy as I’m becoming (thanks to Will Richardson for the reference in his article in this month’s issue of NAESP’s Principal magazine), I’m honestly not always out there trying new technologies.

In an effort to continue learning, I really listened to Chris Lehmann and Will Richardson’s podcasts. Hate to say what others so often do, but I never have taken the time (note I didn’t say that I don’t have the time) to listen or watch. I also watched Robert Scoble’s PodTech video interview with Bill Gates.

Here’s the thing. I don’t think this format works for me. I was cleaning out files while I listened. That doesn’t take a lot of thought. And I wasn’t as engaged as when I’m reading. I also wasn’t really reflecting. Maybe it’s me. I seldom watch TV and could live without the radio. I’m a voracious reader and that must be why blogging works so well for me.

Naturally, my next thought is about learning. If I were still a classroom teacher, I would most likely use blogging in the classroom much more than podcasts or video interviews. That wouldn’t be as helpful to all of the learners in the classroom who get more from audio or video. Once again, seventeen years into education I’m realizing that it’s important to mix it up in the classroom, using a variety of instructional strategies.

Here’s where my thought has evolved and this is the thing that’s different about my thinking based on what I’ve learned through blogging. Instead of teachers directing the different kinds of learning, with all students being subjected to all strategies, connecting with some while their classmates connect more with others—we need to give our students opportunities for creative collaboration where they get to learn in whatever ways work for them. I know it’s being said a lot in the edublogging communities, but it’s about allowing our students to own their own learning with access to the wide, wonderful web with whatever format works best for them.

Can I say again how thankful I am that I started reading and learning online, which has allowed me to evolve into a better teacher and administrator? I keep hearing and reading that it takes getting school leaders involved to make a difference in schools. As a high school principal, I can say with experience that I do have the power, and the responsibility, to make a real difference for our students. As do my colleagues.

  1. It’s kind of amusing, since I’m a librarian, but I find I have a terrible time listening to audiobooks.

    Blogging is definitely more my niche. However, I got an iPod for Christmas(yeah!) and the wonderful thing I have discovered is using it to create my own radio station in the car. I seem to have no trouble listening to shorter podcast stories while in the car and I have found a lot of fascinating podcasts. The other thing I’m enjoying is it helps me stay enthused but I don’t have to read.

    In my job, some days I get so tired from skimming so many articles or reading email online that it is nice to learn something new while listening instead of having to use my eyes.

    And I also like that I can subscribe to podcasts of interest and they come to me–I don’t have to seek them out.

    I have to confess though, I didn’t feel this way about podcasts until I had a way to make them portable. That has made the difference in their usefulness to me!

  2. So much of the news can be read and even watched online now. Many times when I lookup information online, I am given a choice of reading the article online OR watching a news clip containing similar information. I almost always chose to read the article rather than watch the news clip. My husband, on the other hand, always chooses the news clip. He is a visual learner; I like text. I just don’t get as much from the news clip……..I like to read the words and reflect on the message behind them.

    Every learner is different. This is why we can’t expect all students to learn using the same methods. Not all students are going to be interested in blogging. Others won’t want to listen to podcasts. I think giving students options for how they complete their assingments is the best way to resolve this. As long as they learn the content, and they can prove they learned it in a valid way, it shouldn’t matter the format in which it is delivered.

  3. Podcasts have their place. For people with a commute they bring the beauty of blogs to those whose eyes are busy with other things like driving. I have found them useful for recording class so students can listen who miss class for sports.

  4. I agree – I can’t do books on tape either!

    BUT I love what Cool Cat Teacher is doing over at her blog. She is recording and podcasting her classes so that students have access to class discussions. Link here.

    If I had this in high school, or if I had access to it as a teacher, I really think that it might have made a world of difference. I don’t learn this way – but I respect that lots of kids do and I always wanted to make sure that everyone had access to my content area.

    I’ve been playing with podcasting and not sure how I would use it in my world – so blogging trumps podcasting for me too – at least for the moment!!

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