I sat down to do one thing and ended up doing something completely different. Planning to prep some podcastable media for my guest blogging appearance on Beyond School later this week, I transfered some voice memos that I'd captured on my iPod with my Belkin mic to my iTunes. And I realized that I have 31 untitled voice memo files that at some point I had grand plans for but now sit unrealized. So I decided to listen to a few seconds of each and give them searchable, intuitive titles. Well, a few seconds of each turned in to listening to entire conversations, class discussions, class readings of essays, tour guides from professional development trips, and so on.
This stuff is good. I've always known in theory that it'd be great to have an audio inventory of all the voices from a class or a conversation. But until today, I didn't understand how it could affect learning. I have a hard time getting into podcasting, in general. Not enough time, long episodes, unfamiliar voices, indulgent subject matter, etc. But all that was totally different when I started listening to familiar voices from my own experiences. I was right back on that trip to see Kent Koth at Seattle U's Center For Community Engagement; right back to that outdoor lecture with a docent at Seattle Art Museum's Olympic Sculpture Park; right back to those student-led Harkness discussions of The Poisonwood Bible; right back to close and active reading of creative non-fiction essays in composition last year. (I'm not even halfway through the voice memos at this point). And as a teacher, it's helping me find that elusive-at-the-two-weeks-before-spring-break center for my curriculum and projects. It's empirical, primary source material straight from my class, and in some ways it's a little different than the way my memory molded the anecdotes. As a student, I can only imagine how helpful this resource would be and the ways in which asynchronous audio can be leveraged as a learning tool.
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