Is that a podcast or a desperate teaching moment?

I’m in the middle of teaching this term and as a consequence… my ability to keep up with my weblog, spotty at best… is really challenged.

But I really had to share this one…

Not to jump on the ole podcasting bandwagon (if any technology is a candidate for the “peak of inflated expectations… *grin*)….

But I found a good thing out of a semi-desperate teaching moment. For my (fully online) earth and ocean sciences course, I ask students to go on a field trip (and report on it as well). They are free to do their own, or join in on one of the two that I run to Stanley Park. One of my students was unable to make either of the trips, so he asked about background info… and tips. I was going to write out some brief notes, but then I thought – hey, Cyprien and Brian and…. Well, just about everyone I know have been singing podcast praises so why not?

I asked the student if he had an MP3 player (he did)… so I sat in my living room and recorded a series of short clips that cover different stops along the way.

I’ve linked the first in the series meant to be listened to before one goes on the trip, in case you are up for hearing a rather dull podcast… .

It was actually pretty fun. We’ll see how useful it is to the student… I do know that he was able to download them and can hear them so that’s a start!

I go on the real field trip this weekend, so I am going to try and record some “real” audio this weekend. Hopefully get some student input into this as well.

I see a whole new world opening up… One of my students is in England and the other is in Hong Kong. If I can convince some of my colleagues to do something like this in their areas… we may end up with a field trip audio swap. Wouldn’t that ROCK? Hmmm… a geo-napster? How fun!

Actually, the better step would be to make a change to the assignment so that students can audio record their trips… gotta think about that.

Can’t wait to hear whether or not the files are useful to the student!

We now return to our previous program…

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8 Responses to Is that a podcast or a desperate teaching moment?

  1. BINGO! Podcasting gets really interesting when the _students_ start doing it. Your global distributed shared field trip sounds like an awesome idea. Now, imagine next year’s students having access to these trips, and having the ability to add/extend them, or add new ones. And so on… Must be a way to throw geocaching in there somewhere 🙂

  2. Michelle Lamberson says:

    Actually, this particular assignment lends itself to well to promoting student-to-student connections. The scenario I put in front of them is:

    “For this report, I would like you to imagine that you are taking one or more of your friends on a field trip. Your task is to describe what you are seeing in terms of the geological materials (the rocks or unconsolidated sediments), and explain the processes by which they came to appear as they do and be where they are (the interpretation).”

    Be powerful to have that be complemented with voice, eh?

    I love the idea of getting students engaged in this, actually… I’ve always been interested in how we enable the students to build the environment. I think we’re starting to see some tools that will make a really big difference.

  3. Alison says:

    That sounds cool Michelle! Imagine having a few motivated students in class, and start combining photos/videos with audio, or even just powerpoint presentation…

  4. Scott Leslie says:

    You might be interested in this then – I like the term too, ‘spatial annotation,’ as in ‘well isn’t that spatial’ (think “dana carvey’s chruch lady” here).

    Cheers, Scott

  5. Gardner says:

    Great stuff, Michelle. ‘Twould be cool too to get students interviewing each other via Skype or some such and podcast the results. Maybe an “enhanced podcast” with maps in there too?

  6. Michelle Lamberson says:


    This is an excellent pointer, thank you!

    I’m thinking that you need to do a little “superior dance” for that reference!


  7. Michelle Lamberson says:

    HI Gardner…
    That does sound a cool idea. I am going to try a few things this weekend when we have our face-to-face trip – see if anyone wants to participate and add to the audio I’l be recording. It will be the first time I’ll meet some of them face-to-face so it should be entertaining….

  8. V.Trenholm says:

    Great Idea, talk about taking the virtual environment outside…I can already imagine it–instead of biology trips spent flipping though field guides, students can snap a pic of the plant and then download info on it moments later.

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