I have been looking forward to this "Thing" very much. It is easy to imagine how podcasting can be used to enhance our services, image and credibility. The creation of multimedia, the personal involvement, the authentic buy-in potential of this medium makes it a truly valuable tool for motivating students as well as learning. The project I just completed for Read Across America involved photographing students and recording their voices. It was amazing to see students who had only shown their retiring side, suddenly blossom before my eyes. It was very powerful and humbling to be a part of the growth which occurs when a student truly finds a voice. Literally. So personally, the part I am more interested in is the "how to" portion of the lesson. Reading the podcasting tutorials made me feel that I will be able to do this. I already have experience with Audacity.
Searching for podcasts was a somewhat frustrating experience. The tutorials merely took me to Yahoo's search page. In each case I was asked to download something in order to listen to a podcast which I wasn't sure I wanted to hear. At this point in this class, I don't mind signing up for more free accounts, but I'm not sure about the wisdom of downloading much more. I need to do some weeding first. Finally, I determined that I find podcasts fairly easily serendipitously, but I am glad I have the resource to look for podcasts should I have a particular need. The great part of this was that I would not have thought of subscribing to podcasts in my Google Reader page and I am finding this to be a great new possibility. I went to NPR and subscribed to a number of podcasts including Children's Literature with Daniel Pinkwater. I'm not sure when I'll get around to listening to them, but conceivably they could run while I am on the computer doing other tasks. It is likely that I will try it and then weed my feeds, as I did when I first started using Google Reader.
The fact that I didn't automatically make the jump from subscribing to RSS feeds for blogs to subscribing to podcasts makes me reflect. So many of the ideas are not inherently hard or technically difficult. It is more a problem of the difficulty of keeping up, learning to continue to explore a tool past the initial learning curve has us complaisant. I wonder why I never really learn the tools I am using thoroughly, why there always seems to be so many layers left to explore. I would like to blame it on the fact that there is always another thing to learn to keep abreast of the profession. There is too much to learn and too little time. Part of me realises, however that this is not an acceptable explanation. I am currently reading Daniel Pink's A Whole New Mind and am very aware that it is important to make the connections between things. So subscribing to podcasts should have been a no-brainer. This will be another thing I will be striving to cultivate as I incorporate the web2.0 tools into my life.