A few months after first considering the idea, I introduced podcasting by phone to the upper school today. Why start here when our students and teachers already have laptops? Because it adds something to our program that is qualitatively different and we don’t already do. Our teachers already post a few audio files online, and that aspect of our work will grow. However, most of the podcasting that interests students the most does not happen in class or when they have their laptops. It happens when the students are at athletic events, on outdoor education field trips, and traveling abroad. Will they call into the toll-free number and update the rest of the school community? We will find out.
Podcasting by phone may have greater direct application to school business in the middle and lower school divisions. The middle school is already very excited about conventional podcasting. The seventh grade group applied for and received a grant to set up a podcasting infrastructure. They have already recorded one set of complete science class presentations and are planning on world cultures, music, and weekly assemblies. It would be a pretty short jump to carry this enthusiasm to off-campus events. The lower school was already interested in podcasting student book reports, and they might go for podcast-by-phone field trip reports on their annual overnight.
I am fully prepared for this to either completely take off and become really big or not get too far. It is fun to live with this uncertainty and then be surprised (one way or the other) when time has passed and the results become clear.
Oh, by the way. I settled on GabCast, for its toll-free number, relatively large storage quota, multi-episode Flash-based player, and support for multiple channels.