My brain is overflowing after a great initial day at TCEA this year. I took in five great sessions and shared a presentation of my own, but in addition to seeing lots of friends and familiar faces here in Texas a big highlight was getting to hang out a bit with uber-podcaster Tim Wilson and learning some of his tricks of the trade. Tim is heading up the podcasting team for Apple Inc. putting together a compilation of different sessions and interviews with attendees at TCEA this year. He recently did the same thing for the Florida Educational Technology conference in Orlando, where he and others published about 20 sessions. (You can find those on iTunes by searching podcasts for FETC 2007.)

I recorded several sessions today, and for the first time was able to record using the “M-AUDIO MicroTrack 24/96 – Professional 2-Channel Mobile Digital Recorder.” WOW! What an amazing device! I was able to use it to jack directly into the sound systems in presentation rooms, using a 1/4″ to XLR adapter in most cases and a 1/8″ to RCA adapter in another. The sound quality captured by the M-Audio is far superior to anything I’ve ever recorded using an iRiver, iPod, built-in laptop microphone or $7 Wal-Mart microphone on a Windows XP computer. The quality should be better I know: The M-Audio’s retail list price is $499, but I think you can pick them up for around $400 online. The recorder doesn’t run on replaceable batteries (it has to be charged) but it does have a USB to AC power adapter that is handy and is supposed to record 4-5 hours without a charge up.

M-Audio MicroTrack

David Warlick shared a great presentation today that I recorded with the M-Audio, and I’m in the process of uploading and linking that up now to my podcast. That recording will also be included on the Apple TCEA 2007 podcast channel, but other than my own presentations it’s the only other one recorded for the Apple TCEA ’07 channel that I’m planning to also release here. David’s message is strong and clear, and I believe the more people that can hear and share it the better. Many thanks to David for giving permission to record and share his keynote today!

Tim also discussed the differences between condenser microphones with phantom power and dynamic microphones, which is something I’ve been wondering about for a long time. I think I’m going to save my money and at some point in the hopefully not too distant future, purchase a M-Audio MicroTrack. I did some additional recording today with my iPod and iTalk microphone, and the quality is definitely passable, but the M-Audio really lets you take podcasting to the next level. I want to go there! I know I’ll have to save up for a microphone as well, but at least I’m feeling a bit more comfortable “talking the talk” of microphone differences and thinking that I’ll be able to intelligently shop for one down the road.

I’m probably just going to publish David’s podcast this evening, but the others I recorded and plan to share soon (maybe tomorrow, depending on time) include:

  • My session on “The Case for 1:1 Computing” from today
  • The last half of Gary Stager’s presentation “Yes all kids should learn to program” from today (I missed the first half with David Thornburg unfortunately)
  • A conversation this evening following the iPod Palooza with Stef Paramoure, a very energetic science teacher from New Braunfels, Texas (she teaches in Comal ISD)

Lots of great ideas and lots of enthusiastic teachers focused on learning more themselves and taking ideas back to their classrooms to help improve educational opportunities for their students! This is what technology conferences should be all about. I love TCEA! 🙂

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2 Responses to Taking podcasting to the next level

  1. Wesley,
    Podcasting is great for providing content for people who cannot attend conference presentations, for example. However, what continues to bother me is that podcasting seems to be primarily used in education for content delivery, in my eyes a very limited use.

    To me, taking podcasting to the next level, as you title your post, means having STUDENTS CREATE podcasts for others. Examples of this include Tony Vincent’s Our City Podcast, and some of the work that students are doing in a mentor project we are running at Kent State University’s Research Center for Educational Technology.

    As much as people are blogging about the potential of podcasting for K-12, I’m disappointed in the lack of discussion about kids creating podcasts. It’s in the creating that most learning happens, not in listening to yet another podcast.

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    I agree with you Mark. I think people take readily to the asynchronous, non-interactive form of podcasting (which recorded conference presentations fall into) because most folks buy into the “education as transmission” paradigm. I definitely think we need more learners of all ages creating their own podcasts– these are the best to listen to, and the most valuable because of the processes the learners go through in creating them.

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