Mathcast Central

2/06/2007 01:08:00 pm

I decided to podcast all my classes this semester. The tech at my school is helping me as we try to make this "push button easy." It's not quite there yet -- I'm on a bit of a learning curve. Using a mac has been of tremendous help!

I created a site in iWeb (click a few buttons). It's hosted on my school's server. I record the podcast in GarageBand . Intro and outro music are preselected from the canned list of jingles and placed in advance. Before each class I simply delete the audio track of my voice from the previous class and record a new one in its place. At the end of class I select from the share menu > [Send podcast to iWeb]. (Audio file sizes between 30Mb and 50Mb+ result in this being a little time consuming ... I'm working on this.) In iWeb, from the file menu I select [Publish to Folder]. Then, using Transmit , I copy the contents of that folder to the server. Done. (This sounds more complicated than it is; total steps after recording podcast = 3.)

Using the new Blogger I've added a feed window to the podcasts in the side bar of the class blog . It shows the most recent 5 episodes. 

I was going to do this with all my classes this semester but have scaled back to only one as I learn the mechanics of making this as easy as possible. I'm also intersted in exploring how this practice changes my pedagogy and improves student learning. So far, the greatest impact has been on me.

Publishing everything that I say in class has made me more conscious of what I'm saying and how I'm teaching. Also, knowing that my students (or other members of the audience) wont be able to "see" what I'm talking about has resulted in me restating questions that students ask and being more descriptive about what I'm doing as I'm doing it. After only two classes like this my teaching is more deliberate. I'm also constantly thinking of catchy titles for each episode which makes me situate the content in a larger context -- generally, the history of mathematics as told through stories. ;-)

Another thought: Education researchers often look for classes within which to pursue their investigations. With all my classes online there will be a source of easily accessible raw data for people doing research in mathematics education. I will continue to make this content freely available online. I ask only that if you use it in some other context that you please share back your learning or observations. I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve what I do. I'm still working out some technical glitches like the sound quality. If anyone decides to listen to any of the mathcasts from my class (to be added to iTunes soon) let me know what you think.

On another note, Chris Harbeck shared a new tool with me, writetomyblog. I used it to craft this post (how does it look?). It may be a solution to easily typing some math and other special characters on the web too ... I'm droping a link to it on all my blogs.

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