The start of a new project… it’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and motivating all at the same time. It’s exhilarating to think of the goals that can be accomplished, the knowledge that can be gained, and the tasks that can be completed. It can also feel overwhelming to think of the work that lies ahead. Those are all of thoughts I’ve been having when I think of my new learning project.
The task: develop a curriculum-supported Digital Citizenship/Literacy resource.
It seems achievable, yet daunting. How do I create a resource for other educators that is actually beneficial and relatable? A resource that doesn’t just end up in another “read later” pile. A resource that doesn’t cause more work, but instead, enriches someone’s classroom or conversation.
I started thinking of how I like to learn, gain professional development, and access resources. Yes, I love to attend conferences and seminars, but it costs money. Yes, I own interesting books that can help me in my career and classroom, but it takes time. Yes, I want to spend more time meeting and planning with others, but it takes energy. How can I learn without adding extra stress to my schedule and already busy professional and personal life? I can listen.
I can listen and learn when I’m driving home from work. I can listen when I’m on my lunch break. I can listen when I’m exercising. I can listen when I’m cooking or cleaning. There are so many opportunities to listen. So, how do I create resource that benefits other educators and meets them where they are at? I will create a professional development podcast for other people to listen to, because we all have time and energy to do that.
My experience with podcasting is limited, however, I tested out a few platforms last semester and even started up a podcast myself. I have two podcast episodes under my belt and I’m excited to add more to my repertoire! If you are interested in seeing my work so far, you can search EdTech Endeavours: The Podcast on Anchor or any podcast streaming service. You can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts here.
Since podcasting is something I started, but didn’t quite master, I want to expand my experience and fine-tune the skill. It takes a lot of effort and time to record, edit, and produce, which is why I want to become more familiar with the podcasting platforms and the editing programs.
Along with recording podcasts, I will also compile my research and findings into blog posts. I want to reflect on what I learn and find other resources about the topic to share with others. Up until this point, I have only listened to a few podcasts here and there, mostly for personal enjoyment. However, I recently put out a survey with Google Forms to gather more information about podcasts, and more specifically, educational podcasts. The data was not only interesting, but very helpful! Here are some things I found out:
The majority of people (62.5%) listen to podcasts through Apple Podcasts. Less people use Spotify, Pocket Casts, and Anchor.
The majority of people prefer 20-30 minute podcasts. Only 10% would rather 45 minutes- 1 hour long episodes.
When people were asked what they look for in a podcast, these were some of the recurring themes:
- Quality research
- Good sound quality, audio levels, music, and editing
- Recurring segments
- Conversations vs interviews (with no more than 2 people)
- Suggested resources and “take-aways”
- Meaningful content rather than irrelevant banter
- Minimal ads
- Interesting and knowledgeable guests
- Structure with some flexibility
- Audience engagement
With all of that research in mind, along with my own personal planning and organizing, I came up with a proposal for my project- an outline of where I am at now, where I am headed, and where I want to end up.
Here’s the breakdown of my Podcast Project:
- Build my knowledge of Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, and Educational Technology by researching, connecting with experts, podcasting, and reflecting through blog posts. I want to become more digitally fluent throughout the process and expand my skills in blogging and podcasting. In turn, I hope to help other educators understand Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy in an authentic, relevant way so that they can use the information in their professional and personal lives.
The Materials and Tools
- The Equipment
- I already purchased a mic last semester (the Yeti Nano) and so far, I am pleased with the sound! All I need to purchase is a Pop Filter for the mic so that the sound is clear and the background noise is limited. I am currently looking at getting this one from Amazon.
- I have a MacBook Pro computer that the mic can connect to for recording.
- Editing and Recording
- I will use Garage Band for editing all of my podcasts and for recording any interviews that are face-to-face. I am familiar with the software, but I still want to become more proficient with it. I have heard that if I use Garage Band for editing the podcast rather than using the tools on the host site, there is more freedom because I own all of my own material. I am also going to look into using Zoom for long distance recordings and then detach the audio into a file that can be edited. I have heard that Zencastr, a podcast host site, is great for recording long-distance interviews, so I will look into it as well.
- The Platforms
- For my past podcasts, I used Anchor as my hosting site. I plan on continuing with this platform because it is user friendly and it automatically transfers the episodes to Apple Podcasts and Spotify, along with many more platforms. I use Apple Podcasts myself, and according to my podcast survey, the majority of people do as well. When I tweet out my podcast episodes, I will use the link to direct people to Apple Podcasts.
The Weekly Plan
- Research/ Connect/ Plan
- I plan on recording at least 4 podcast episodes from now until the end of March. It takes a lot of planning, organizing, and researching to produce a podcast, so I would rather have “quality” over “quantity”. During the “off” weeks, I will search for and line up experts to interview, research information based on my topic for the podcast, and come up with questions for the episode. I want to connect with experts that know a lot about Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy and have conversations with them.
- Record/ Edit/ Summarize
- During the week that I record the podcast, my plan is to record, edit, and produce. I will also synthesize my learning through a blog post. I plan on using my blog post entries as a way to gather my thoughts, relay any new insights, and summarize what was talked about on the episode.
The End Product
- I want to have at least 4 podcast episodes that can be used as professional development resources for other teachers to listen to. I want to be more comfortable with my podcasting abilities and hopefully continue on with the skill after the project is done.
- During the last couple weeks of my major project, I plan on compiling all of my podcasts and posts into an organized section on my blog through categories and menus. I plan on creating a curriculum-supported document that people can download from my blog. I will also create a list of resources and links that are easily accessible for educators and that relate to the topics covered during my Major Learning Project. Essentially, I want to have a “Primary Educator Starter Kit for Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy”.
- I want to become familiar with the Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum and the Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Policy Planning Guide so that I can use the content in my podcasts and posts.
- I want to learn what it takes to make a creative and motivational podcast. Before I do that though, I need to learn the basics. I will watch tutorial videos on YouTube as well as read articles online, such as Ross Winn’s Podcast Guide.
- I will use Twitter to connect with educators who are familiar with and are passionate about Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy. I’ll organize meetings and dates to record once I have an idea of who would be interested in speaking.
- It’s important that I have quality topics and themes for my podcasts. I will use the Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship for reference when I am planning my podcast episodes. Once I have the topics for the podcasts, I’ll brainstorm questions that I can ask the experts on the episodes.
My questions for you are:
- Should my podcasts specifically be for K-5 teachers who are interested in Digital Citizenship, Digital Literacy, and EdTech, or should I keep it more general and tailor it toward all elementary-based teachers?
- What are some topics or content that you want to see covered?
- Do you know of any experts that would be great to interview? Is there an educator you are dying to hear from?
Let me know what you think in the comments below!
It appears as if I have a long road of research, planning, organizing, and learning ahead of me. A road of making mistakes, celebrating successes, and inspiring others. I’m looking forward to diving into this new journey of podcasting and I hope you’re along for the ride too!