Are you using these tools to add audio in your class?

Neon sign that reads "You are what you listen to"
Photo by Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Podcasts for Learning

Last year, I wrote about my Podcast Love and my podcast routines, but this summer, I presented Podcasts for Learning multiple times, so I wanted to share a few additional ideas about using audio and podcasts in the classroom.

Finding Audio

During my sessions, I share two tools to help find podcasts: Listen Notes and ListenWise.

Listen Notes is a search engine for podcasts, plus it allows you to clip podcasts and create podcast playlists. Here's a clip describing what Listen Notes can do (from our @DigLearnRadio podcast!) and here's a playlist of our episodes about coaching. I also just learned that your can add this playlist and all episodes into your podcast player. Use this feature to create a podcast choice board, perhaps?

ListenWise is a tool from NPR that has "curriculum-aligned podcasts with accompanying teacher resources." The audio clips can be filtered for content area and grade level (5 - 12). For the free version, you get the audio clip, listening comprehension questions, and a Socrative import quiz code.

Recording Audio

In my session, I joke that podcasts fall on a continuum from "Kathryn talks to pre-schoolers" --> This American Life. Students (or you) can record quick, unedited audio clips OR you can create full-blown podcasts that can be shared with others.

Creating audio can be as simple as using a recording app on your phone. Getting the recording to the teacher is sometimes a challenge, but educators in my sessions suggested email, Google Classroom, and a shared Google folder. 

I discovered the Online Voice Recorder on this post from Free Tech 4 Teachers, and it's a super simple way to record (and do a bit of editing.) Once you record, you save the file, and you still need to get that "published" in some way. When the Insert --> Audio feature in Google Slides is fully functional (rollout paused on 7/24/19) that may provide an easy way to collaborate and share, but until then... Here's my sample slide with a recording from the Online Voice Recorder inserted into Google Slides. (I have the Insert --> Audio feature in only one of my personal Gmail accounts, but not my Google for Education accounts.)

Synth is a relatively new tool for recording audio, and I've tried it in a few of my sessions with some success. It's still in beta form, and I think it's a bit challenging to get it going, but the teachers in my sessions this week saw a lot of potential. There are a lot of features educators loved about it, such as the time constraints, transcriptions, and the option to include text comments. It also embeds beautifully into a website, its target audience is educators, and you can create "closed" classrooms. The audio below is from our session...all in unedited format, so you get bonus content of all kinds of background noise. 😉

Within this session, I also share Anchor for creating podcasts. I keep trying to get more people to share a recording in Anchor, but its entry point is not quite as simple. For educators who want to create their own podcast, and for teachers whose students are >13 years old, it does seem like the easiest platform to use for creating and publishing to the world.

Using Anchor, I collected all of the audio from this week's sessions and created a new "podcast" of all shared ideas.

Sharing Audio

On the #mfltwitteratipodcast, the hosts shared a hack of how to embed podcast players into a Wakelet collection. Using links from Spotify, you tweak the code to create a collection where the specific episode plays within the Wakelet.

For my recent Podcasts for Learning session, I decided to keep track of what I listened to and learned during a single week, and I added all of my notes to this collection. Here's my Wakelet without the hack (podcasts open in a new tab) and with the hack (players are embedded, also shown at the bottom of the post). The first ISTE Standard for Educators is Learner, and I definitely use podcasts to learn from and improve my practice!

If you want to create a podcast choice board for your students, this trick might be a great way to share the collection. You could also us this hack to create your "Podcast Tasting" PD session, as described by my PLN friend Meredith Akers.

Even More

Within the session, we briefly discussed creating more structured, polished podcasts, and I shared resources from the EduBlogger, ListenWise, and NPR about creating podcasts in classrooms.

Any other tools for recording audio? Any other favorite podcasts? I share my finds using #R10PodPD and would love to have more suggestions!

Listening and learning...

Check out my Wakelet with embedded podcast episodes!



Sketchnoting as a #GrowthMindset Journey

A couple of colleagues and I are facilitating a full-day sketchnoting workshop, and as an introduction, we plan to share our sketchnoting journey, so I wanted to take time to reflect and pick out key steps on my path. By the way, I have no art background, and I feel like I'm quite under-qualified to "lead" this session, but I'm working with fantastic colleagues, and we've had a great time planning the workshop.

I discovered sketchnotes in the winter of 2014, and I've been trying them off and on since then. I would like to be more consistent with my practice, so this post will also serve as my attempt to become more accountable. 😉

After I learned about Carol Dweck's work, I always shared the concept of mindset with my students. (Check out all of my posts about mindset.) That particular year, however, my students really struggled with the ideas of failure and risk-taking. I thought if I took up the practice of sketchnoting and shared my work with my students, I could show them my attempts and we could document my improvement over time. I still say, "I'm not an artist," and I continue to have a pretty fixed mindset about it, but I'm determined to practice what I preach!

I found a few sketchnoting resources and started practicing. I believe that's when Sylvia Duckworth started freely sharing her sketches too, so she has inspired me for many years!

At the same time, one of my teammates was finishing her dissertation (basically about notetaking and retention techniques) and she asked if we could try some visual thinking maps with our students. YES, please! One of our units was extra-heavy with vocabulary, so that's where we started. We asked the students to create graphic organizers/sketchnotes to show the relationships between the terms and concepts in the unit. Here's the only sample I saved (and it wasn't even my student) but I loved this student's design and use of colors.

At the end of that school year, I transitioned to my current job, and my interest in sketchnoting grew. Sketchnoting was the subject of my "Genius Hour" project in 2015, and I shared one of my very first sketchnotes with session participants that fall.
Since 2014, I watched countless videos and webinars about sketchnote techniques and tools. I read books, blogposts, and followed Twitter hashtags. I attended sketchnoting sessions at TCEA, ISTE, and at edcamps.

My sketchnote turning point was participating in the 2017 #sketch50 Twitter challenge. I completed all 50 prompts (on time!), learned new techniques, and grew my PLN. The daily prompts were perfect brain breaks, and every day, I looked forward to creating during lunch or as a relaxation activity after work. Here's my entire album of sketches, and it's so fun for me to see the growth and improvement in my sketches.

Another key from 2017 was participating in #ClassyGraphics. That course taught me about colors, fonts, and design, which really helped with my sketchnotes, too.

For the 2018 #sketch50 challenge, the focus was creating quick sketches and #ProcessOverPretty. I'm working to complete more quick sketches, but I still like to take a bit more time with my sketchnotes.

In 2018, I took #ClassyVideos and the subject of one of my earliest videos was a quick overview of my sketchnote journey.

Over the years, I have sketchnoted blog posts, TED talks, podcasts, personal learning, and books. I also try to sketch workshops, but I'm much better at creating sketches as reflections and to synthesize my work, rather than real-time sketching. I've included a few of my sketchnotes in past blog posts, and another goal is to start sketchnoting our podcast episodes. (We'll see.)

For 2019, I have 19 goals ("19 for '19") and one goal is to master 50 sketchnote icons. The experts say you should have 100 icons in your visual vocabulary, and I'm about a quarter of the way there. 😳

A sketchnoting highlight of 2019 was to host Sylvia Duckworth at Region 10 for a full-day workshop, so I learned from the best!

I continue to have a #growthmindset about my sketchnoting, and I'm always learning!

If you want to see the images that are too tiny to see in my Sketchnote Journey graphic, here's the entire album.


Inspired at ISTE, 2019 version!

sketchnote of 5 points from my ISTE conference
It is a privilege to be able to attend conferences, and I feel with that opportunity comes the responsibility to reflect and to share what I learned.

With 20,000+ attendees, the ISTE conference definitely qualifies as a mega-event, and now that I have attended four of these conferences, I have a (slightly better) grasp of how I "do" ISTE.

I've been able to share some key takeaways with my colleague Ashley, and I'm still sorting through my notes and other Tweets I curated, but here's a quick summary to explain my sketchnote and to help me document what happens next.
Takeaway #1:
Since reading Make It Stick in 2015, I've been so interested in the learning sciences, and now my interest has turned into a mild obsession. 😃 (Read more of the story here!) I was surprised that there weren't more sessions about this topic, but I found one presentation and added the presenter's book, Design Ed: Connecting Learning Science Research to Practice to my TBR list. I also learned about ISTE's new initiative called Course of Mind. It includes a podcast, blog, research, and coming-soon a course.

The other presentation related to learning was Dr. Scott McLeod's session and exploration of his 4 Shifts Protocol. (Here's a recent blog post about understanding one of the 4 domains: deeper learning.) He walked us through a couple scenarios, and we worked through a (re)design pivot to "up" the learning experience. I've looked at his 4 Shifts protocol several times, but his explanation and our practice during the session really opened my eyes. I can't wait to explore and implement his work! (And it added his book Harnessing Technology for Deeper Learning to my book pile, too.)

Takeaway #2:
The other big idea on my mind is equity. ISTE definitely made progress this year with more diversity in their keynote speakers and the number of sessions with "Equity" or "Cultural Responsiveness" in their titles, but there is still a long way to go for all of us. (There was some Twitter backlash about some glaringly un-diverse panels.) I think it was also at the forefront of my mind because the week prior to the conference, I worked in districts with vastly disparate device "situations." (In one district, the high school has been 1:1 MacBooks for 5 years. The next day, I was in a district where teachers were hoping for Chromebook carts in the rooms...but they had heard that for the past two years.) I also caught some Twitter discussions about the expense of the conference...how many districts or schools have the funds to send teachers to these kinds of learning events? Travel to Philadelphia and conference fees definitely added up. $$$

I attended the session Constructing the Culturally Responsive Citizen: Moving Beyond #DigCit, and I loved that one of the session norms was to "Be Brave" -- to step outside your comfort zone and to be willing to have harder conversations. We went through scenarios to analyze what bias was present and how to respond. We also had thoughtful discussions about how we equip our students with the language and skills to navigate these sensitive situations. Powerful conversations.

Takeaways #3-4:
Take time for creativity! I've been interested in sketchnoting for at least 4 years now, so it's time I do more with it! Several of the featured speakers emphasized the importance of risk-taking and sharing your failures, so I'm on it! I've sketchnoted conference takeaways from TCEA and now 2 ISTE's and I plan to do more sketchnotes as reflections.

I also enjoyed (more than I expected) our weekly podcast format, and I did almost all of the editing and "producing" of the episodes this year...but I know that can be better. I'm working on that, too! I attended one session about podcasting for students, and it gave me great ideas for our podcast, too. I'm ready to get more creative with our podcast. Stay tuned!

Like other conferences, the hallway conversations are often the best. Conferences like these often turn into reunions, and I also enjoy opportunities to expand my PLN. I also love supporting other #R10tech friends and strive to stop by their presentations.

Takeaway #5:
More about this news and process later, but I've spent about 6-months working on the ISTE Certified Educator process, and it was fun to be able to celebrate that accomplishment at this conference.

I'm a huge fan of the podcast Note to Self, and it was awesome to be able to hear Manoush share her Bored and Brilliant ideas (and other work).

Reflections for another day: I'm glad to see more conversations on topics such as teacher wellness, mental health issues, device distraction, and the importance of unplugging.

Attending a conference is a perfect example to apply John Dewey's quote:
We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.
Always learning!

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