In the last two years, there have been two technologies that have had a transformational effect on my personal professional development. The first of these was podcasting.
A podcast is a digital media file that is distributed through an RSS feed. I know, that’s a complicated, technical definition. Let me try again. A podcast is a an audio program that you can subscribe to. When new episodes are released, they are automatically downloaded to your computer. You use special software, called a podcast receiver, to manage these subscriptions. Personally, I use Juice because I have an aversion to most things Apple. You could just as easily (or even more easily) use iTunes. Once the shows are downloaded, you can listen to them right on your computer, transfer them to a CD for listening on a CD player, or sync them onto your MP3 player for ultimate portability. While they work pretty well with iPods, the digital media players are not really required.
Once you have installed a podcast receiver, you need to subscribe (for free) to some programs. You do this by adding feeds. Here are two podcasts about education and technology to get you started:
- Seedlings at Bit by Bit: This is a show by three teachers in Maine. They meet twice each month to discuss current topics in educational technology, and frequently have ideas, insights, and resources you can put to use right away. Here’s the feed.
- Connect Learning, with David Warlick: David is a well-respected speaker who travels around the country delivering lectures and keynote addresses on new media in education. He frequently records presentations and conversations with teachers from all over the country, and posts them as podcasts. Here’s the feed.
If you would prefer to find your own podcasts, here are some directories to get you started:
Assignment: Download a podcast receiver, subscribe to at least one podcast, and listen to at least one episode.