Using Audio in Schools

Module 11 of TEC-950 focuses on the recording and publishing of video and audio. I've created many videos for different purposes so I wanted to explore the use of audio. Typically, recorded audio is not something that I use in my instructional design because of my own need for visuals to construct meaning. But my experience and learning needs do not represent the needs of my students and/or teachers. So I spent most of the time exploring podcasts.

My experience with podcasts is limited but gaining momentum. During my long-time summer work providing teacher training to new corps members with Teach For America, curriculum sessions are created by an central instructional designer and then provided to curriculum specialists at Institutes nation-wide to customize based on their needs. In 2008, the instructional designer at the time made short podcasts of each session that talked through key points, potential hotspots, and suggested customizations. Listening to these helped tremendously in preparation to understand the original designers intent that sometimes is not communicated in written materials. Sadly, they were never redone and available in the subsequent years I worked for TFA.

Since then I haven't experienced podcasts much until only recently. As I continue to explore resources on Twitter, I've come across different educational podcasts that comprise of interviews with teachers or discussions of education issues with educators. Techlandia Radio and the EPT Podcasts are some of my favorites. Personally, I would still prefer a visual to accompany the audio but these make great listens as I drive to work where the visuals would be lost.

Within the classroom, podcasts having great value and potential.  They are much easier to create and publish than video because you only have to focus on one medium. This is a bonus for both teachers and students!  Many of my teachers are very reluctant to put themselves on video and podcasts would provide a great work around. Short announcements, directions for homework or projects, reminders for when their is a substitute, or even recorded books are just a couple uses that I could envision.  For students, recording their voice avoids some of the privacy concerns associated with using video or images. Audio samples of reading would be wonderful to gauge progress throughout the year as well as to encourage goal setting, thoughtful reflection and provide a rich source for feedback and reflection.

For the purposes of this assignment, I used SoundCloud for the first time to record directions for completing a particular self-assessment tool required for our BTSA Induction Program that I'm involved in.  Since it is a form that is visually overwhelming by the amount of text, it typically generates a lot of different questions each year, I created a Thinglink that describes the different components.  I can see a similar use in the classroom.  Student could "annotate" visual images with soundclouds embedded on a Thinglink.