Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t ALWAYS listen to educational podcasts in the morning when I mysteriously find myself at the local YMCA gym, or on my commutes to and from work. The fact that I CAN choose between music and high quality, free educational professional development when I turn on my iPod is a remarkable feature of life in the twenty-first century infoverse, however, and an option I enjoy exercising fairly regularly.

This morning, I opted to “get educated” with some new podcasts, and throughly enjoyed listening to Episode 5 of “The Practical Principals” podcast by Melinda Miller and Scott Elias. Most of the podcast is a discussion of reasons to consider switching from a Windows-based PC to a Macintosh laptop, but they also discuss a host of other sites and technology tools which I found both interesting and enjoyable. Like the Seedlings podcast and the Technology Shopping Cart podcast, all the referenced links are included in the episode shownotes.

I had not heard of the Jumping Monkeys podcast, and have added it to my podcast subscriptions which I maintain on PodNova. (These podcast feeds sync to my iPod and iPhone via iTunes and JuiceReciever. All these software tools are free.) While visiting the Jumping Monkeys’ website, I found the link to their Tumblr site. Tumblr is one of the MANY web 2.0 tools I’ve heard about and saved to my social bookmarks, but never taken the time to use and explore. It really does look like a cool way to share a LOT of different things you find online as well as create. I’m very interested in digital documentation of learning (DDL) and will likely be exploring more tools which permit DDL this year. I hesitate to say I’m interested in “electronic portfolios,” because many of the e-portfolio systems I’ve used and seen are implemented by schools in very prescribed and limiting ways– definitely within an “instructionist” rather than a constructivist frame. So that bit of incidental learning I credit to Melinda and Scott via their latest podcast.

I also appreciated Scott’s recommendation of Sylvia Martinez’ presentation for K12Online07, “Challenging Assumptions About Technology Professional Development.” I haven’t heard that preso (and many others) from the 2007 K12Online conference, and will be sure to listen to it later this week.

When linking to the Seedlings podcast tonight, I noticed that Bob Sprankle is beginning to go through the K12Online07 presentations and posting reflections, starting with David Warlick’s pre-conference keynote. I think it is SO GREAT the presentation content for K12Online remains online for professional learning like this to continue ALL YEAR LONG. I wonder if we should find ways to network and discuss our learning about the conference sessions at different times this spring? One of the things I thought about the K12Online conference this year was that the content was great as in 2006, but the time available to synchronously engage with the content and the presenters was too short and compressed. I’m sure there are ways that can be made even better in 2008, both formally as well as informally.

If you haven’t already, check out The Practical Principals podcast and add it to your personal podcast subscriptions! I am enjoying the “smart playlist” feature of iTunes to provide updated and new podcasts for me each time I sync my iPod and iPhone, and that’s why their latest episode crossed my “attention radar screen” today.

radar screen on an iMac

I have JuiceReceiver set to automatically change the genre (if it’s not already set) of every podcast episode I download to “podcast.” Then, I have a smart playlist which randomly selects 25 different iTunes files in the genre “podcast.” That’s how I came to hear the Practical Principals today! This learning path is a combination of intentional learning (because at some point in the past, I DID subscribe to their channel) as well as random or accidental learning, since one of their episodes happened to be selected my iTunes the last time I synced my iPod!

I love the opportunity to learn from others in the 21st century infoscape! Thanks Melinda and Scott for teaching me some new things today, and sharing several pieces of your mind via your GREAT podcast! I look forward to the next episode! 🙂

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12 Responses to Morning with the Practical Principals

  1. Scott Elias says:

    Thanks for the mention, Wes, and glad you enjoyed it! Looking forward to getting back into the podcasting again next week.

  2. Cheryl Oakes says:

    Hi Wes, it was just today I updated my ipods and found your new podcasts and then came to view this blog. I love when things come around again, k12onlineconference 2006 or 2007 are both still lively!

  3. Wes, iTunes is now blocked in my district. I’m working on getting it unblocked, however, using PodNova and Juice seems a bit clunky. Is there a better solution?

    Also, would you share your OPML file for educational podcasts–the comprehensive list–with the rest of us?

    With appreciation,

    Miguel Guhlin
    Around the

  4. Wesley Fryer says:

    Miguel: I’m sorry to hear iTunes is blocked… Thankfully you can still subscribe to podcasts with Juice and you don’t have to use iTunes. Here is the link to my OPML podcast feeds from Podnova. I’m not sure what a “better solution” is in terms of podcatchers. Since I use and love both my iPod and iPhone, using iTunes is a natural for me, but I do like the online feed management offered by PodNova and supported by Juice Receiver. If you can’t use iTunes at all, I’d say use JuiceReceiver. The benefit of using PodNova with it is you can point Juice Receiver to your PodNova subscriptions, and it updates them whenever you run Juice.

    I’d be interested to learn what others are doing in terms of podcatching. I’ve had to switch laptops a couple of times in the past 2 years and I’ve found it to be VERY handy to maintain my podcast subscriptions on a free, web-based service. I like the fact that I can always add a new subscription from any web browser too, as I did today with the Jumping Monkeys.

  5. NetNewsWire seems a great alternative with its connection to Newsgator. I’ve been exploring the NetNewsWire 2.1 Lite version (no-cost) and it’s been interesting to be able to access my feeds across multiple machines. I’m actually considering purchasing the full version, which provides podcast support.

    I tried Juice and Podnova’s client and I hated both. Hated is the right word here. What a clunky interface. When you compare these tools to iTunes–which I’d rather not use, esp with it being blocked at work–I keep coming back to NetNewsWire for the Macs in my life, Newsgator for everything else.



  6. Wesley Fryer says:

    Does NetNewsWire just aggregate podcasts, or does it actually download them and transfer them automatically to your mp3 player? I agree the interface for Juice is not super slick, but I’ve been able to get it to work fine. It does load slow, but since it’s free, it works, and it does stuff I don’t have any other programs for, I’m still happy with it.

    I’m just familiar with NetNewsWire as a feed reader/RSS aggregator, not a “podcatcher.” Podcasting News has a long list of podcasting clients (what I would call “podcatchers”) for both Mac and Windows. You might give one of those a try. iPodderX is listed first but its domain has apparently expired, so I don’t know what is up with that. NetNewsWire IS listed among the clients… Based on what I see there and have visited, I’d give Yamipod a try. I can’t vouch for it tho, haven’t tried it and probably won’t as long as Juice/PodNova/iTunes keeps working for me. I’d be interested to know what you think if you try it or another solution that will not only download podcasts but also transfer them to your iPod, iRiver, or other mp3 player.

  7. NetNewsWire does download podcasts as enclosures, then transfer them to iTunes (or it can just download them to a folder on your hard drive). Read this:


  8. Robin Jans says:

    It has been a long time that the PodNova client was build from the same codebase as Juice. Did you give the PodNova Desktop Client 2.4 a try?

  9. Wesley Fryer says:

    I haven’t tried the new PodNova, Robin, but I will later this week. Thanks for the heads up. It HAS been a long time since an update…

  10. Scott McLeod says:

    Just wanted to say how delighted I am that you found and recognized Scott and Melinda’s work. They’re both doing great work, on their own blogs, with their schools, and on the Web!

  11. […] Bit #2: On a tip from Wes Fryer on his blog, I’ve subscribed to the Practical Principals podcast. In the first installment I […]

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