Friday, August 12, 2005

Stuff on my mind

Okay, here I am freezing in the NIE library computer centre an hour before the last lesson of the week... which of course happens to be geography. We're starting our microteaching stuff today... wonder how it'll be like?

Before that however, I just want to reflect on (this is a mirror, after all) the whole podcasting thing of yesterday's lesson. I just want to make it clear that I think podcasting sounds exciting so far, despite my own fidgeting and slouching yesterday - a bad habit when I'm agitated about something. In this case I was a little annoyed by the emphasis on using the iPod and the iBook (no offense to Mac lovers). Here are my reasons:

  • Most of us don't own a Mac, much as we may be tempted to. It would have been helpful to go through some programs that are Windows-friendly as well (besides the cross-platform iTunes, of course).

  • Most schools still don't use Macs. I know my secondary school has yet to have a Windows system that works properly, much less a Mac. -_- Oh, I know the Mac-niacs (?) will probably say Macs are more stable, and yes that may be true, but the fact remains that many schools are still locked into Windows.

  • Even when using a Mac, as far as I know you can just buy a cheap clip-on or PC mike and plug it straight into the computer and record into that... right? so no need to transfer back and forth between the computer and the iPod.

  • Garageband looked like an exciting application, but I have come across it before and as far as I know, it is exclusively for Macs.

  • Podcasts were presented as being targetted at Creative and iPod users only, but as far as I know, can't older-fashioned users burn MP3s to CDs to listen to on their ancient CD players? Would this technology then seem so new, or irrelevant, since educational tapes and CDs have been around for decades?

  • ... well, that's basically why I didn't feel very impressed with what looked to me like a 3-hour advertisement for Macs... *grins*

    All that petty stuff aside though, I think podcasts do sound quite interesting. I think I'll have a lot of fun with this stuff, and students are always interested in such new things. As was mentioned, though, so far it seems more useful for language teaching. Geography is about the world around us, so it doesn't seem very relevant at first to a subject that emphasises so much on fieldwork. I only have one suggestion: since users are likely to be listening to the podcasts while travelling, they are already out in the field. So we must try and make them aware of that fact in our podcasts.

    But as I mentioned elsewhere, I do wish we could be taught how to make diagrams and videos and other 3D stuff for geography with those cool 3D rendering programs. That would really catch students' attention! *grins*


    At 1:04 AM, Blogger voyager said...

    hallo :-)

    you've made several pertinent points :-)

    just to address two - yup, absolutely no problem plugging in a microphone into any PC or Mac (most Macs have in-built mics, as i'm sure most Windows laptops do) - no need to use the iPod as the intermediary recording device, unless of course the recording is done in the field :-) *hint*

    second, no problem about playing back the recordings on any medium at all, including discs - they are, after all, just mp3 files (unless one goes the AAC route).

    keep posting!



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