Monday, July 09, 2007

Podcasting and the power of comments.

I was introduced to Podcasting at the end of 2005 and started using it with my class in 2006. We thought that book review interviews would be a good way to start and we had very humble beginnings. Here is a transcription of one of our first podcasts:
Matt: Kia ora and what's up mate. I'm Matt and I'm interviewing Paora, He is sharing Jeff Wilson's book, Here he is now. Kia ora Paora, what is this book about?
Paora: Kia ora Matt, it's about Jeff Wilson and what his life is about in rugby.
Matt: Who is the author of this book?
Paora: The author of this book is Ron Palenski.
Matt: Do you have a favourite page?
Paora: Yes, I have two favourite pages, one page is on 111 and the other is on 194.
Matt: Well that's all we have for today folks. I'm Matt and we were interviewing Paora on his Jeff Wilson book. Bye

Mmm, I had a chuckle when I heard it, my favourite page is 111! I wanted my students to develop and learn in their own steps. So I posted the podcast. These students had produced a very good podcast with clear voice and expression, the only problem is that there was no content. That was my next step, I had to extend their language and ideas. Here is where the power of comments come in. This podcast generated 14 comments.

So the first few comments gave the students a bit of a kick, people had interacted with their podcast. John wished he could have a go at making podcasts at his school. The students were feeling good. The next lot of comments showed the power of conversation:

But here comes the real power of comments - critical feedback!

I didn't have to stand up the front of the class and wax lyrical about the need for more content in the podcast. With this succinct comment from John the boys self assessed and realised that the audience didn't actually have the book in front of them and couldn't see what was on page 111, so they would have to use more description.

Podcasting truly fits with a constructivist viewpoint of learning, students take the next step because they see what the next step is. It is Vygotsky's zone of proximal development in action.

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