176 Podcasts (including poetry) in Two Days

I know it’s not a numbers game, but I was pretty surprised the other day when I noticed that in two days of using our iPod Touch devices (and one Blue Snowball microphone for our Poems for Two Voices project) for podcasting with Cinch, my students had posted 176 podcasts.

I have 80 students, so the numbers do make sense, but for me, the sheer volume shows the ease of use with the device, and the app, and the desire to make their voices heard in the world.

Here are some of the Poems for Two Voices — I grabbed them off of our Cinch site and put them into my Box site for easier grouping, sharing and embedding.

But you can also wander through our Cinch Podcasts at the Cinchcast site, too.

Peace (in the poems and podcasts),

Responding to Because Digital Writing Matters

We had a very rich discussion about the book Because Digital Writing Matters at our National Writing Project iAnthology networking site in recent weeks, and I decided that too many of the thoughts were too good to just remain static. So, I grabbed comments from various folks and created this video montage of their ideas around various chapters in the book as our discussions unfolded:

Peace (in the book),

My 2,000th Blog Post

I find it hard to believe, but technology never lies, right? According to my blog dashboard, this post is my 2,000th post that I have written and published here at Kevin’s Meandering Mind. Oh sure, I write in other places, too, but this is my digital home — the place where I see the most of own online identity. The screen for my voice.


Good Lord.

That’s a lot of writing, and while I notice the trend of many other bloggers stepping back from their blogs with the advent of Facebook and Twitter, I still find blogging a useful venue for reflection and sharing my thinking about teaching, writing, music, books and more. I still find it useful to have folks out there in RSS land who read what I write (you’re a bunch of saints, my friends, and there are close to 4,000 comments approved here) and I give thanks to those colleagues and acquaintances of mine who periodically add their own thoughts to the conversation.

I began this blog after a week-long technology retreat with the National Writing Project back in 2006 (I think), thanks to the encouragement of my friend, Maria, from DC, who knew I was blogging with my students and asked why I wasn’t blogging as a teacher. Why not, indeed? I jumped in, and never really stopped writing and blogging since. I’ve since added podcasting, and video production, and more experiments than you can shake a virtual stick at. Even with the uncertain future of the NWP, I still have many of those NWP folks in mind whenever I sit down to write. What sharing can I bring to the table? What ideas can I garner from them? That reciprocal nature is how I envisioned this blog, even if a lot of days it is just me typing for myself.

Thanks for hanging out with me. I appreciate your company.

Peace (in the posts),

PS — it was just by chance that I peeked at my Dashboard this morning. Otherwise, the celebration post would have come and gone with no notice from me.

“Meet the Book Characters” with iPod Podcasting

Yesterday, I pulled out our suitcase of iPod touches for the first time in my class (although it is not the first time they have used them — they did an interesting science project on cell mitosis with the touches) But I wanted to see if we could do some podcasting with the devices, using Cinch as our app. (It’s free!)

I have to say — it mostly worked like a charm. Even though I had to first “talk” through what they needed to do, since I could not connect the device to my board, they were on the app in minutes and podcasting around the room with ease. And the only glitch, which I realized later, is that some kids turned off the iPod before Cinch had a chance to finish its upload of files online, and it seems like a few of the files may be gone now (I had hoped they would sit in “pending mode” on the device until it powered up again but I guess not.)

I had them use an entry from their independent reading journals, in which they introduced a character from their book to me. Here, though, the audience changed — from me, to the world. They changed the introduction to “Dear Listener” and adapted the writing to fit the podcast of their piece.

We now have an “album” of character sketches at our class Cinch Page, and I have downloaded some of the podcasts into my Box account for easier sharing as a folder. I am pretty impressed by the audio quality, and by the confidence of my students to jump right into the technology.

The activity yesterday was to prepare them for tomorrow, when we will be doing more podcasting of their Poems for Two Voices with a partner which they have been working on in class. It’s going to be a bit tricky because I was hoping to find a way to connect two headphone/microphone sets to one iPod, but that didn’t work. So, we will have them huddle around a single microphone and go from there. They are surprisingly resilient when it comes to Mr. H’s Workaround Magic.

Peace (on the device),