Saturday, February 7, 2009

What we can learn from popular podcasts

SmartBoard Lessons Podcast was probably my favorite out of the six podcasts I listened to. It was hosted by a couple of strange, quirky Canadian folks who had great chemistry with eachother, making the show flow effortlessly. It almost sounded similar to a morning radio show. They also mixed in humor which kept the content from getting too dry. The information presented was very helpful to future teachers as well, even giving websites where teachers can meet up and collaborate online projects. An interview at a teacher's conference in Britain gave this podcast a truly international feel.

Kidcast is a very instructional blog which helps use podcasts as an instructional source. The fact that there was only one host and no back-and-forth really hurt this podcast in my opinion. However, the speaker was very passionate about his subject and that in itself made him interesting. He really gets on the soapbox while talking about such things as students making podcasts solely for the sake of making podcasts.

EdTechTalk was neat for the fact that they broadcast live. Unfortunately, the hosts are very dry and seem to have no chemistry together at all. The production felt quite a bit disjointed to me. A good feature, though, were the interviews with parents regarding what they feel their role should be in their child's education. Another thing I noticed is that most of the contributors to this podcast were also Canadian. Are they really that much ahead of the technological game than us?

MacBreak Weekly really made a positive impression on me when I heard a familiar voice in Leo Laporte. I used to watch his show on the short-lived TechTV, "Call For Help", which guided new users in some of the basics of their "personal confuser". Mr. Laporte's charisma as an emcee really gives this program a smooth flow as well as a professional feel. The humor and small talk created a comfortable environment. I also like how it began with its own theme music. While I am not a user of any Mac products, I can see why this blog would be useful.

This Week in Photography stood out to me because it was the only blog I listened to with corporate sponsors. One feature I really liked about this blog was that it introduced the topics that would be discussed immediately, letting the listener know exactly what to expect. Another neat feature was highlighting pertinent topics in the news. The hosts of this podcast also made small talk and tried to convey a feeling of familiarity. My main complaint about this podcast is that is was over an hour and a half long. It is very hard to navigate through such a bulky program and I wonder why podcasts do not include bookmarks, perhaps similar to the scene selection from a DVD.

Unfortunately I was unable to find the Connect Learning podcast, so instead I substituted The Teacher's Podcast (Techpod), which can be found here. This program had a lot of helpful information for future teachers, I even learned things I didn't know about the progressive education system in Kazakhstan, a country I would have never expected to be on the cutting edge. While the chemistry between the hosts is not as good as some of the podcasts I listened to, they genuinely try to build up a good repertoire with eachother. Another good idea they had was specific theme episodes, such as one dealing with educational suggestions on how to handle President Obama's inauguration.

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