Grades: I’m currently doing this with 2nd graders but it could easily go down to Kindergarten with a little modification
Resources: iPad or iPod Touch, SonicPics App, A host site for the podcast
A couple weeks ago I convinced a couple of our 2nd grade teachers to let me try a daily podcast with their classes. It’s one of those projects that sounds daunting and time consuming but I assured them that not only would the students be doing all the work, they really wouldn’t have to do anything at all except for maybe the occasional class discussion.
The idea is that each day, a different student will take an iPad and use it to take pictures of the things the class is doing whether it’s a project, a special, an assembly, or any other thing they find interesting. Then, at the end of the day, he/she will use SonicPics to create a short slide show about the day with narration from the perspective of the class (“we did this” rather than “this is me doing…”). We already have SonicPics installed on all our 2nd grade devices and the students know how to use it pretty well. The trickier part is the publishing which is where the teachers often start to get nervous. It’s not easy to take 5 or 10 minutes out of your day, especially at the end of the day, to publish a podcast, so I devised a way to make it easy enough for the students to publish it themselves.
First I set up a series of bookmarks in the bookmark bar on Safari for the students to use. I arranged them in the order that they would be using them.
- Sonic Pics – This one links directly to the IP address of the iPad the students are using for the project. Because each device has a different address, I have to ask that the teacher designates one iPad as the “Podcast iPad” so that the link will always work. Sonic Pics downloads files directly from the iPad through a web browser using this address.
- Convert – Unfortunately, our wiki doesn’t play nice with the video file that Sonic Pics creates so the students need to convert it. It’s a step I was hoping to avoid but I found a site that is easy enough to use and so far the students haven’t had any trouble with it.
- Wiki – The wiki we use is simple and easy to use and our students already have experience with it through a storytelling project they have been working on all year as well as the class wikis they use to post their finished tech projects. The wiki also has a blog and podcast section so with just a few clicks, students are able to post the video file to the podcast section of the site.
So far the project has been working out very well and the quality of the podcasts have been improving with each episode. To make it easier on the teachers and myself, I’m introducing the project to one class at a time, trying to add a new class every 3 or 4 days (although I’ve admittedly gotten busy this week and fallen behind in that respect). I take 2 or 3 of the more tech savvy students in the class and train them to be the trainers for the class. I work with them for a day or two until I am confident they understand the process and don’t need me anymore. Then we let them work on the podcast for a few more days to get really comfortable with it before starting to turn it over to a different student each day. From that point on, a new student will be responsible for the content of the podcast each day while the trainers help guide them through the publishing process.
I’m hoping to have this pushed out to all my 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms before the end of the year. After that, I’ll evaluate whether or not I want to try introducing it to the 1st grade team.