Friday, October 26, 2007

tt4t_009 Podcasting with 3rd Graders

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It’s Friday, October 26, 2007 and welcome to Episode 9 of Tech Talk 4 Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. The podcast this week is a short overview of a recent collaborative project that I am right in the middle of that involves several parties. I am working with an Assistant Professor of education, two 3rd grade teachers, and several preservice teachers, and a local 3rd grade class on a special project named Project WOW. Project WOW has been in existence for several years at Eastern Illinois University and is a collaborative partnership between our college of education and a local elementary school. Previous years have focused on the creation of webpages but this year the group is venturing into a podcasting project. The 3rd graders are assigned an Illinois Hero and they are to do research on the selected individual and then create a podcast featuring that hero. We had our first recording last week and the Instructional Technology Center Lab was buzzing with excited children making their first podcast recordings!

Things went very well although having nearly 50 children working in two labs was a challenge logistically. As you can imagine recording multiple groups in the same room did present some interesting sound engineering challenges. Overall I was pleased with the quality of the recordings and the use of the directional microphones did help eliminate much of the background noise. The preservice teachers did great working with the groups of 3rd graders. We used the Audacity sound recording software loaded on four year old Gateway computers with the Windows XP operating system. The recording went very well and the 3rd graders did a wonderful job. We have a couple of more sessions planned in the near future so as I said we are still in the middle of this project. In a future show I would like to arrange an interview with the coordinator for this project if she is willing to appear on this show as a guest to share her wisdom and experiences with this technology rich project.

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week

The Copyright Site

My Technology Pick of the week this week is a website that provides an overview of copyright issues that teachers face regarding the production of media projects in the classroom. The website is called the Copyright Site and a link is provided in the show notes. One of the things that I have noticed is that students, especially elementary students, do not give copyright issues a second thought. This is quite natural in that young students have no experience with such an abstract concept. As teachers we need to do our best to model projects that respect the intellectual property rights of others and thus introduce this to our students at an early age. Modeling best practices at an early age reinforces the concept that you cannot just use any source of media without giving the owner proper credit and observing copyrights. Because computers have made media creation so easy obeying copyright laws is increasingly becoming a problem area for educators to address with their students. This topic definitely deserves a dedicated show of its own and in the coming weeks I will be gathering resources related to copyright and other Intellectual Property Right resources that teachers need to be aware of when producing multimedia classroom projects.

Show notes for this episode and previous episodes are available on the web at that’s techtalk the number 4 If you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for a Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at That wraps it up for Episode 9 of TechTalk4Teachers so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.


Anonymous said...

Hi Dr. Grissom,

This week my students and I are getting our first experiences podcasting as well. We are in the process of writing our podcast scripts. We will also be using Audacity software to record. I am struggling to find intro/exit music though. One of the teachers in our district was kind enough to lend me their Digital Juice audio cd library for use, but when I tried to import one of the music files into Audacity, it was the wrong format (.cda instead of something Audacity recognizes like .wav). Does anyone out there know of any websites that have legal music clips for use without a fee that will also work in Audacity? I tried, but the files there don't import into Audacity, either.


Angela D.

Tech Talk 4 Teachers said...

Yes, you are correct that Audacity recognizes the .wav format and not .cda. I have found it best to import podsafe MP3 files, you do this by importing rather than opening music files. To import a MP3 file go to the Project menu and select import audio, the MP3 file will be inserted into Audacity as a track. TO use the MP3 feature you must load the LAME encoder if you have not already. As long as you give the creators of the music credit you can use music from sites like:

Information about the terms of usage is provided at each site.

Another option is to use programs like Sony Acid Music Studio or Sony Extreme Music Creator to make your own loops. There are also file converting programs that can change from one sound file type to another. Let me know if you need anymore info.

Dr. Grissom