Learning With and About Podium.. Our First Podcast Proper.

I have been playing with Podium for the last couple of weeks on and off. Last week I posted about how one of my colleagues had used the tool with her year 4 class, and this week I have been working with year 3 to draft visual scripts.

Presenting orally to a group can be really difficult, and many adults find this diffficult being heavily dependent on written scripts, with the inevitable consequence that we tend to read our slides, rather than use them as prompts to innovate our presentation around, and the resultant "death By PowerPoint" scenario. Observing students using PowerPoint to talk to groups recently I have become increasingly aware of this as an issue, and is something with which I felt I needed to begin engaging. I decided to use visual scripts with the year 3s because I wanted them
  • to become familiar with the content they were to talk about
  • pick out highlights and significant events from their visit
  • rehearse and share their content as they wrote
  • to engage with the oral basis for the written text they were creating
  • have a scaffold upon which to hang their text development process
I know from experience that having a group of students in a whole class situation who are familiar with how to carry out a process is always really useful. So I began the process, by working with a small group to model how we transfer pictorial and writen text into an oral text format, through a "pre teaching" session. The Podcast file was very quickly set up in about 2-3 minutes. Working together we scripted the podcast using photos from their visit and the 2 create a story files we had been working on previously as prompts. We used the scripting tool to share out the story we were going to tell, and then as a group we rehearsed the script. This was a really interesting experience, and why I referred to PowerPoint above. The tendency from the students, naturally I guess, was to use the script as an autocue. They however began to read the text very mechanically. This lead to a brief discussion about how our listeners might respond. Was the way we were reading interesting to listen to? This was particularly pertinent as the students had become so concerned in the performance to say exactly what they had on the page, they had not made the link between their writing, speech and the listener. We quickly recorded one or two readers, and the children began to see that they were not using expression, and returning again to rehearse the script, they began to think about how they were saying things rather than what they were saying. This for me has particualr significance, when we are thinking about comprehension skills, where we want the students to begin inferring from content what might come next, or reading on using the "gist" to help. As we rehearsed some of the children began to make small improvisations on the script, while others, took their time and rehearsed the whole text object, but thinking about how they might say what they were reading. The outcome of this session is something I am really excited about, the students were initially very self conscious about the sound of their voices and their reading. We were working in the library today, and as the session went on the work they were doing began to attract increasing attention from other students, drawn to see what they were doing, and asking when or if they would be doing this. The interest expressed by other students made them feel special, and seemed to spur them on to improve what they were presenting. In under three quarters of an hour we had completed the task, and for a first attempt I am really pleased with the outcome, in addition I also have a group of children who will be able to help me out when others have to record their episodes and a model I can share with their classmates. I have also learned one or two lessons myself about the quirks of the software, and a few additional things I will need to think about when managing the process with small groups working independently with my new class next year.

Points to Note:
Using the chapter tool to organise turn taking is still I think a really good idea, with emergent users, however what I didn't realise was that the script created was not for the whole episode, and each chapter needed to be scripted seperately. So next time, I will need to either encourage the children to record using the script to create a whole chapter, or encourage the children to create their script elsewhere and copy and paste sections into the individual chapter script windows. If you have used or have a copy of Podium perhaps you will try this out and see what I mean.

I also had some difficulties this evening uploading the podcast to our ftp space, and this is something I will have to explore further with my LA and technician, as I feel it probably has more to do with the firewall in school, than it does with the publishing process described. Eventually with a bit of playing around I managed to get the podcast so far published to a colleague's LA space, but this is not going to help in persuading my colleagues about how amazing this tool is. The learning benefits I have begun to notice this afternoon and from previous observed sessions, far outweigh the barriers that a few technical difficulties are currently causing, and I must get these resolved. If you are interested in having a listen, then here is the rss link for Y3's first report on their visit to the SS Great Britain. To subscribe to the feed, we are recommending to colleagues in school that they use iTunes as an aggregator, though some of you may use others such as Juice.

Subscribing to this podcast Using iTunes

click and drag to select the link and then copy it.

Open iTunes and in the advanced menu click subscribe to podcast, paste the link into the window that appears, then click OK. You may have to click the "get" or "refresh" buttons if the file doesn't download immediately, but we hope you enjoy, as much as we did. Why not pop by over the next few weeks and refresh iTunes to see if we have added other episodes.

Year 6 talk about awareness week

1 comment:

Linda said...

Excellent stuff.

I've been playing with Podium for a bit and feel ready to take it into the classroom too. The points you've made about presentation are a concern. Perhaps your children could listen to podcasts from another (anonymous)school that they could criticize more readily. If I get a podcast done before the end of term, perhaps I'll send you a link which I'm sure would provide the necessary fodder!