Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Thoroughly Unimpressed Podcaster

So this weekend was my first experiment with podcasting.  Honestly, I would have liked more time this weekend to play around with it, but with so much moving this weekend, it make it kind of difficult to really sit down and play with Audacity and get everything out of my podcast.  That being said, I have to admit that I am really not too impressed with the idea of podcasting.  It definitely has its uses (such as the one I did as a "This Day in History" kind of podcast that can be reused), but it seems like so much work for very little outcome if you don't use it more than once or if the students completely do not use it.  

Then there is the whole "forcing them to use it" idea, which I don't like either because then they will be turned off from a media they may have otherwise liked.  My biggest gripe with this, to be completely and utterly honest, is the fact that it's TiVo for information.  I can see it's uses in the classroom, but to me these uses are quite limited.  For example, if a student is sick, he would have access to it, as well as other students who would not be in class for some particular reason.  However, I feel like it would be restricted to outside of class, otherwise it's just a video on information that you could just as easily have them do an activity involving the same information and would probably retain it more.  Unless you are using it to help a student who cannot be in the classroom, it seems rather superfluous to me.  

So yeah, it changes things up in the classroom, it makes things new and exciting, but it's so much work for it just to sound okay, let alone doing something that's going to catch the student's attention.  It just seems like more work than what it's worth to me.  

Anyway, I also read the 2010 Horizon report, and I have to say that I'm not actually sure I'm comfortable with the direction of the use of technology in the classroom.  I keep seeing statements about "keeping green" and other ideas about using electronics more and books less, but to be honest, in this regard, I'm a little bit of a Luddite.  I feel like the digitization of everything is getting to the point of losing grip in reality.  I don't know if it's just me (and I'm pretty sure it's not) but there's nothing like the smell and the feel of an old book in your hands, which sometimes even enhances the reading experience more than just reading it would.  For example, I have the first American editions of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and the feeling and smell of these old books help me feel like I'm in the story a little bit.  

I'm also fascinated by the little nuances of an old book: How did it get this tear?  Who was this Jonathan Rosenkrantz and why did he have this book? Why was it kept in such a condition? and so on.  I feel like with the digitization of these books and writings, we're losing the personal feel of these books and making them as impersonal as possible.  And exactly how "green" is this idea, anyway?  Think about all the non-biodegradable parts of your computer: Is it really that much more green than a paper that rots back to the Earth millennia before your computer will?  Just a little food for thought with this paperless revolution.  It may be deforesting many thousands of acres of land, but if that was done with more sustainability, there would be little need for this.  Well, that's my two cents, hopefully it was interesting!

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