Today's Washington Post published the article iPods Fast Becoming New Teacher's Pet by Fern Shen on page B01. Don't let the title fool you, it is mostly about podcasting, not iPods. Fern did interview a teacher from my school and me about Radio WillowWeb. She writes:
The article also mentions other "interactive technologies" like blogging and handheld computers. Unfortunately, the article says nothing of listening or recording podcasts with Palm or Windows Mobile computers. But we know better: Podcasts can be heard on all sorts of computers and devices–anything that can play an MP3.
Teachers say the benefits of making podcasts are clear: The trendy technology and the possibility of a wider audience motivate students. "My students research better, read more, write better and understand the material," said Beth Sanborn, a fifth-grade teacher at Willowdale Elementary School, near Omaha, where students have been making podcasts since last spring.
Podcasts at the school -- on such topics as the Constitution, Native Americans and electricity -- are not only filled with kid humor and snappy music, but they are also loaded with facts. Teachers hope they'll be used as supplementary curriculum material by future students.
...To make a podcast on the Revolutionary War, Sanborn had her students spend a couple of weeks researching their material in books and on the Internet before shaping it into a script. They were graded on the written script, but what really motivated them, Sanborn said, was the hope that their work would be chosen for the 8 1/2 -minute podcast.