I had grand plans for uploading videos to YouTube (did that), and sharing some that I’d found, but it won’t let me add my blogs to my YouTube account so that I can post. I ended up just embedding the file after a little help, but it would have been nice to be ale to post directly. The video I posted on my WordPress blog gave me problems when I tried to post it to Blogger. Don’t know why, since I could get other videos to post just fine. My dream is to make a short video documenting the different kinds of pupusas, so that may be one of my next projects.

I still have yet to make it to one of the discussions, between working many Saturdays of late, looking for a car, and coming home only to fall over asleep in my hamaca, which I have conveniently hung right by my computer. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back and listen to them all later on.

Podcasting ideas

For my students / teachers

Salvadoran / Caliche word of the day. For some reason, just in the past week, many of my co-workers noticed that I have links to my blogs in my email signature. They’ve been there for over a year now, which I mentioned, but they got a kick out of reading my translations of Caliche to costeñol. The academic director told me a whole bunch that I should add that are “che” words. That gave me the idea to get some of my conversation club students to help me present Caliche words and translate them to English, with explanations. My mp3 player has a mic on it, and one of my students works for a local newspaper and has a digital recorder. I think that could be fascinating!

I liked the idea of having students talk about different aspects of their lives and countries, like in Pod from the Tropics. I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to try this, since the majority of my teaching right now is teacher training, but maybe my conversation club students would be interested in this. It brings me back to the same problem of not having a lab to use with students that has (1) a decently fast Internet connection, and (2) no blocks on chat, audio, video, etc. My connection at home is more than sufficient, but I recently realized that I’ll be loosing that in about a month and a half when I move to San Miguel, in the Eastern part of El Salvador. Maybe I can work out a deal with Telefónica to transfer my service there, because I’ve come to depend on Skype for making international calls, and the Internet in general for finding resources for my projects.

Last year, when I was teaching international business students, I had the dream of having them listen to podcasts on conflict in the Middle East. BBC had a nice selection of reports, but I didn’t find the time or way to incorporate this into my class easily. About the same time, I made my first and only podcast to date, using Podomatic. It was a poem for Valentine’s Day, so I think maybe I’ll repeat this year, just to practice using Audacity and adding music. I tried Odeo last year as well, but was unable to use it in classes as it was blocked on our network.

I’ve had students do audio journals on before and post them on Blackboard, back before I knew much about blogging. They would post their thoughts on the topic, then I would post an audio response. Their classmates couldn’t listen at the time, but it’s been a couple of year ago, and I bet Blackboard can handle audio posts and responses now.

Even though I haven’t even been meeting lurker status in the other EVO session on Readers’ Theatre, I think that podcasting could provide an interesting extension of this into the online world.

For ELFs

One of the other ELFs had mentioned starting a podcasting program on ELF experiences around the globe, featuring short interviews recorded over Skype. I need to figure out how to do that, though, first. I downloaded a plugin from PrettyMay that is supposed to allow me to record incoming and outgoing calls and save them as mp3s, but I haven’t had time to test it out yet. Does anyone know of any other tools to do the same? And then I need to convince some of the other ELFs. It’s so easy to get busy with work, then really not want to do anything even remotely connected to teaching or language when one gets home!

I had fun looking for podcasts in iTunes, which I hadn’t used much before after a bad experience with iTunes reorganizing all my music folders maybe four years ago. I’d forgotten about Car Talk from NPR, which I used to love listening to Saturday mornings. I love their accent. I will be adding a couple of the casts I found to Gigadial, which I’ll post here later.

Purpose and Audience

One of the main purposes of podcasting, beyond motivating students through technology, is to provide additional practice in listening and speaking, with an audience outside of the classroom. Ideally, the audience would be the world, but that takes a bit of work. It’s a great way to expose students to different accents (like the Car Talk guys, for example), and new ways of getting information. I liked ISU’s academic listening strategies podcasts; and would like to try something similar if I can find enough students for my pronunciation course. There are many fabulous ideas for ways that podcasting can be used in language learning, whether it be for listening or taking part in the process of creation. In order for a podcasting project to be a success, it must be planned out in advance. Will all the editing and posting be done by the teacher? Are there students that know how to or are willing to learn how to do this (because I’m sure there’s many who wouldn’t want to)? Are there limits that the institution places on the use of these types of technologies? How long will the project last for? These are just some of the questions that I’m asking myself when I’m thinking about starting up some of the projects that I’ve mentioned. Engaging the students in podcasting might also take a bit of work at the beginning. Past students have been intrigued by the idea of putting their voice and thoughts in audio and video form on the Internet, but became discouraged by long upload and download times, among other technical problems.