Have you checked out Our City Podcast lately? Recent additions include episodes from Fort Myers, FL, Hannibal, MO, Richton Park, IL, and Lynbrook, NY. Also, the episode from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands has been published. This is the episode I recently wrote about and described the preproduction process. It's probably the first podcast by Caribbean students and is quite interesting. I have spent several weeks in St. Thomas and I still learned a lot from their episode.
I have described ways in which Our City Podcast can be used in the classroom. One of the best activities is giving feedback to podcast creators. Typically feedback on episodes are text and are send by email. Recently, I had fourth graders from Wesleyan Academy in St. Thomas make a short video for students in Omaha that produced an episode of Radio WillowWeb. The Omaha students loved seeing and hearing students from a couple thousand miles away. It was so great for the Omaha students to know that others are enjoying their work.
Recording video feedback was also a valuable activity for the St. Thomas students as they prepare to podcast. I had students take notes as they listened to the podcast from Omaha. They recorded things they already knew, things they learned, questions, and compliments on a sheet of paper. They then used this to figure out what they would say in the video. The video was recorded directly into iMovie using an iSight camera. It featured students talking into the camera. The video was quickly pieced together, exported, and emailed to Omaha.
I encourage you to send feedback, whether by text, audio, or video, to producers of Our City Podcast episodes. Each details page has an email for the teacher of the class. Keep in mind that many episodes were produced last school year, so you may want to reserve feedback for episodes published this school year.
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Furthermore, I know that many teachers are looking for partner classrooms for video conferencing. Software like Skype and iChat make it easy to video conference. Listening to each other's Our City episodes before video conferencing will give valuable background and spark questions for the conference. Since email addresses are listed for each episode I suggest using them to bring some great collaboration into your classroom!
Speaking of feedback, it would be wonderful if you could take a minute to write a comment in iTunes for Our City Podcast. Podcasts with comments tend to get more attention in iTunes, and I think that the hard work of so many students and teachers deserves all they attention it can get!