Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Let's Talk About Podcasting, Social Networking, and Wikis....

The three technologies I have decided to explore are podcasting, wikis, and social networking. If you have had the chance to read through my blog, you probably have found several articles, videos and websites which I have chosen to post. All of which have become very helpful to me in explaining, showing, and providing ideas for how each technology works and how to incorporate each within the educational setting.

Let's start by discussing podcasting. At first, I had no idea what podcasting was or how it even worked. After reading several helpful articles and websites, I have found that podcasting is a new way of delivering online media. Anyone who has a computer can download talk shows, T.V. shows, and even college sports...the list is endless! The great thing about podcasting is once the audio or video file is downloaded, you can listen or watch it anytime, anywhere, and any place as long as the hardware is available. You can even try to get creative and create a video or audio podcast of your own. Check out my post titled, "Step-by-Step Guide to Podcast Production" for a complete list of hardware and software you can use to create your own. For this project, I have attempted to create my first very own podcast. Check it out under the "Examples" heading in my blog. A great way to use podcasts within the educational setting would be to have students create their very own school talk show. Groups of students could work together to update the rest of the school on monthly events, accomplishments and news. Teachers could download the school talk show right to their computer at the beginning of every month and students could watch the podcast right in their very own classroom! This would be a very fun, and quick way to broadcast school updates and news, while at the same time delivering very important messages to a large group of students all at once.

Now, lets talk about wikis. Basically a wiki is a website that can be edited and updated at anytime and by anyone. The most widely know wiki is Wikipedia. On any wiki you can find a variety of topics to explore. The only catch is that all the information presented may not be 100% accurate and it is created by a group of people, not just one individual. Therefore, many views may be present. The post titled, "Which Wiki is Right for You?" will direct you to a website that mentions the pros and cons of several different wikis. Check out my example of a wiki and you can read about one way I intend to use it within my classroom. You will not be able to edit my wiki because I have set a few controls which only allows members to make changes.

Lastly, I would like to discuss social networking. The most current and popular social networking sites among most pre-teens to young adults are MySpace and Facebook. Although I say pre-teen to young adult there are plenty of others within various age ranges who also join the social networks. With that said, like almost everything there are pros and cons to social networking. I am not going to get into the specifics of each, but would like to discuss the features of social networks and how I feel they can be used in a positive way within the classroom setting. Social Networks are places where people can become connected to one another socially through some common theme. Whether it be through location, friends, high school, or college, social networks allow people to become connected. Once connected, you are considered that person's "friend" on the network. You now have access to a variety of information about that specific person based on the limitations they have set on their profile. You can read about their favorite songs, books, movies, see photos of them, and find other friends through their friends. If controls are set, limitations can be placed on how much of the person's profile can be viewed and which parts. You often hear of many negative stories about social networking sites, however I also believe there are several positives as well. I know I have kept in contact through MySpace with several friends who I had originally lost touch with since high school. As an extension to my telecollaborative project, eventually I would like to try and set up individual profiles for each of my students through a social networking site. I would then ask the other class in San Francisco who would be participating in my project to set up student profiles as well. Then, students would be able to see and learn more about the other students in the class they will be collaborating with. Of course, parents would be notified first and permission would be asked along with many controls set within the networking site. Just another way to learn more about others who may live across the U.S.... and in a quick way. :)