Okay. Before we begin, I have a confession to make:
My name is Ashley and I am a podcastholic. I am addicted to them and my life is so so much different now that they are in it. How could I live without them?
Now that is off my chest, lets begin to discuss one of my favourite forms of listening to audio - podcasting. My journey with podcasting only began a couple of years ago. Before I knew about them, I thought that the only way you could access podcasts were by downloading them to your iPod or mp3 player. I had neither, so I didn't worry about this new trend and thought that it would either: a) go away and fade into nothingness or b) I would eventually figure it out and decide to explore it.
Two years ago, I made the big step. I was over at a friends house and they had iTunes on their laptop. I was looking at it and they were exploring how they had access to audio content, not just their own music or music they purchased. I thought that this was pretty cool and decided that I would jump into the iTunes world and downloaded it to my laptop. I thought I would check out the 'Podcasts' section and hunt around and see what I could get for free.
The very first podcast that I subscribed to was Hamish and Andy. I thought that this was fantastic because I got to listen to these two guys (who crack me up) without being having advetisements or music interupting my listening pleasure. This was fantastic and I was well 0n my way to becoming addicted. Then I decided to venture in and look for some podcasts on another thing that I enjoy - Harry Potter! It is very sad that a 33 year old man loves Harry Potter so much. I think that I have read the books over 20 times. The first podcast that I got into was called Mugglecast. It was basically a whole bunch of people sitting around talking about Harry Potter. This was fantastic to me. I finally realised that I wasn't alone and my addiction to the world of Harry Potter was shared by others. Then some how I stumbled upon the world of Harry Potter fan fiction. Fan Fiction is an interesting concept and I was a bit sceptical at first. I then stumbled upon Spell Cast - the ultimate Harry Potter Fan Fiction Site. It was awesome. I didn't even have to read the story, it just came through to my computer. Finally, I looked into basketball podcasts (another passion of mine) and found out that there was an awesome Australian basketball podcast called 'The OT - with DJ Rod and John Rillie'. This was heaven to me. My world was becoming more complete.
Then a brain wave hit me (they happen about once a year!) Would there be any educational podcasts out there that I could use to aid my teaching or stimulate / give me new ideas? At first, I was disappointed. I found lots of things under 'Education' but nothing overly relevant to me and my setting. A lot of the podcasts that I found were very American and I was just about to give up.
Then I stumbled upon two podcasts that I follow religiously and do not miss an episode. The first one was Ed Tech Crew with hosted by Darrel Branson (The ICT Guy) and Tony Richards from itmadesimple.com. They discuss all things digital in education – technologies, issues, great websites, web 2.0 and much, much more! The thing that I love about it is that they content they cover is relevant and they have guests who are usually real teachers from out in the field.
The second one that I found was The Virtual Staffroom hosted by Chris Betcher. Chris states the purpose of his site is to provide those of us involved in educating young people with the opportunity to engage in conversation and dialogue which explores the impacts that these new technologies will have on our classrooms. I really enjoy listening to his podcasts as well.
I have used podcasting extensively with my kids in class and I will share my thoughts on that at a later date. Just remember - next time you suspect somebody is a 'Podcastholic' be sympathetic towards them. It is a real disease!
Please leave a comment below. I am interested on finding out some more educational blogs and would love to add them to my iTunes account!