My students have been listening to the podcasts, and I gather that they have found the recordings useful. These podcasts for reviewing for the final exam have been positive experiences for me and for them. So, after this test run of four, I’m going to try to produce 4 to 6 more for each chapter of our history book this spring. I’ll have a bit more time to work on them, since vacation begins on March 6. I think the next step is to teach them how to make them, and see what kind of information they pack into a podcast.
The more complicated issue is distribution. At the moment, they’re available on an internal intranet in the school, but they’re not available online or through iTunes or anything like that. I can upload them to my school blog, so that they get attached to a specific date. But it’s not possible to attach tags to those entries, which means that kids can search for them by date, but not (easily) by subject. In the long run this will be a problem.
In general, the structure of our school web is a little problematic. The website doesn’t get updated enough… we get significant updates every year, but not every week or every day. A guy who’s an expert on wikis points out that if you have an internal wiki, you have a place to put content text that your webmaster can then grab from and update from, and you have a regular source of info for keeping your website current. But… in order to meet with the potential new website designer today, I have to give up the only chance I have today to put stuff on my weblog — which is also the only time I have to grade papers — which is also the only time I have to contribute to a wiki, which is also the only time I have to meet with colleagues about students. It’s a significant problem.