Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~ John Dewey

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sospodcastLast week David Carpenter and I kicked off season 3 of the Shifting Our Schools podcast. It’s taken us a while to get this season going and I’m not short on the excuses why, so I won’t even bother getting started. Needless to say we are started and we’re excited to be back for a third season.

As usual I can’t keep well enough alone and decided to push the podcast just one step further this year. So now not only can you listen to use live and chat on the website, or download the podcast later via iTunes. This year we’re also going to try to open up the Skype lines to you listeners out there and allow you to Skype in with questions or comments during the show. We’ll see how this goes and hopefully will be able to make it fly this year. We’re live every other Wednesday at 8:00pm Bangkok Time (GMT+7). The best way to keep posted on the show is by following me on Twitter.

Click the button to subscribe to our iTunes podcast feed for free!
Click the button to subscribe to our iTunes podcast feed for free!

Each show revolves around an essential question which we try to stay focused on (really we do). I’m excited for our next show and if you are at an IB school or an IB teacher you surely won’t want to miss:

Can the IB curriculum be shifted?

I have strong feeling frustrations about the IB program as a technology person in my role. We’re excited to have Justin Medved joining us from Canada and it will be a great opportunity to open up the Skype Lines and see what others have to say on the topic.

I hope you decide to follow us this year as we have some fun from Bangkok, Thailand to Casablanca, Morroco.

SOS Podcast Links:
Subscribe to iTunes (Free)
Diigo Show link Group
Google Calendar of Show Times
Blog RSS
Skype

I had an idea the other day (don’t laugh…I do get them once in awhile!) that seems to be paying off.

We have these nice older iMacs sitting in our ES HUB (a.k.a. Library). We use one to sync our 10 iPods that the PTA bought for us last year and….well….that’s it. It’s sitting there with a 150GB hard drive and all that’s on it are audiobook files.

So I had and idea while running the other day that I could download podcasts to that machine and then share the library over the internal network so that any teacher or student could access them. In doing this we allow students and teachers access to the podcasts for learning, but do not take up precious space on their local machine’s hard drives. Students…who can’t save anything locally to the laptop cart machines, would still have access to the wealth of information in the podcasts.

This is legal….as far as I know…because the podcasts are all free to begin with. We are not sharing any music or the audiobooks that are on that machine. We’re only sharing the podcasts.

So here’s how I did it:

On a Mac: Go to iTunes- Preferences
On a PC: (I believe it is Tools-Options)

Sharing Library by jutecht.

Now we’re lucky as on our computer image we already had checked “Look for Shared Libraries” on all our machines. So by sharing this one library it automatically appears for the users.

Here’s what they see:

Then of course comes the fun part of finding podcasts (and putting out a call to teachers on what podcasts they like). So far here is what we’ve added.

(All links are to iTunes Store…click on them will take you to iTunes where you can subscribe for free to these podcasts)

1. Apple Quick Tips: A must have for any Apple School (do a search in iTunes…no store link)!
2. TEDTalks Video: We have some teachers addicted to these!
3. Students Teaching Students: Our very own podcast from 5th Graders.
4. CNN Student News: Found this while looking through the store…looks good!
5. SUPER WHY!: From PBS for kids (Great website as well).
6. Teaching with SmartBoards: Great videos…we have a SmartBoard in every room…do I need to say more.
7. SOS Podcast: Yes shameless self promotion…but hey I’m making the list! 🙂

So that’s where I’ve started. Anything else you would recommend adding to the list? Remember the audience is Teachers and Students.

The last thing I need to figure out is some way to organize them as they just come in as a stream with the newest download on top.

I’m pretty excited about this. A great way to spread PD across a school.

I like it when other podcasters share their set up. A thanks to Leo Leporte, one of my favorite tech podcasters….or is that netcaster. I’ve learned a lot about podcasting just listening to the different shows he produces.

I wrote this page for the Shifting Our Schools site to share with others the set up I use to stream, record, and converse all at the same time. I thought I’d share it here as well. You can find links to the different equipment I use at my Amazon Store as well.

Two recent lessons I have been involved in are using Google Earth with 2nd Graders and having 5th graders create audio books for Pre-K students.

Google Earth Lesson (2nd Grade):

Have students pair up. (I always have kids number 1 and 2, it makes it easy to say “OK, #1 your turn to ……)

Students start Google Earth and each person is allowed 5 minutes to explore the program. Click here, click there, spin the Earth this way and that. I find I have way less interruptions if you just give kids time to explore the program “their way”. Giving just 5 minutes gets all those “what’s this do?” out of the way.

After both kids have had a turn at exploring the program, they come up to the front of the room and we talk about what they learned or found cool.

I’m writing this to share with others as it took me way to long to find the answer on how to do this.

I’ve got two podcasts; On Deck and Gourmet Geeks that are syndicated via iTunes (here and here). I noticed that when you download them to your iPod that the Album Art wasn’t coming through so I did a little research.

I use PodPress on a WordPress install and thought (wrongly) that the Album Art for podcasts was picked up via the RSS feed like everything else in iTunes. But the Album Art actually comes from the ID3 tag on an mp3 file.

Confused? Yeah this is a bit geekie.

What is a ID3 Tag?

ID3 is a very popular audio file data tagging format in active use by
software and hardware developers around the world. ID3 tags are
supported in software such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, Winamp, YME, MusicMatch and hardware players like the iPod, Creative Zen, Toshiba Gigabeat and Sony Walkman.

tag editor tabSo I learned something new. Didn’t even know that this existed. So basically within a mp3 file you can store some date within the ID3 tag. One use for the tag is the Album Art.

So in order to get your Album Art to show up you need to have it embedded into the mp3 file. How do you do this?

You download a ID3 tag editor. I downloaded and installed AudioShell which works really well on my PC. It adds itself to the right-click preferences function. So you can right-click on a mp3 file and as the image shows to the left, add your album art right there into the ID3 tab.

I’m not sure how you add information to the ID3 tag on a Mac. But if someone could point me in the right direction in the comments I’d appreciate it.

I’m just getting back to things this morning after taking me week of Screen Free Time off. The first thing I did this morning was turn on my computer and start iTunes to download all the podcasts I missed last week. Interesting, I didn’t realize that was the first thing I would do until I did it. What does that say about communication and learning for me (I’m an auditory learner, BTW)? My hour bus ride is my podcast time and I missed it last week but did accomplish other tasks.

When I got to school I looked up last years post Back from Digital Darkness and reflected on what I wrote last year and how my experience was different last year compared to this year. Last year I wasn’t looking forward to the week, supporting my wife’s efforts at school as the elementary counselor was the reason.

This year I found myself looking forward to the week. Having an excuse not to get on the computer was very appealing. There are days I’m tired of being tied to technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love this stuff, but sometimes I’m just tired. It must be what baseball players look forward too during the All Star break. Just some time to take a couple days and not think about all of it….not have to be at a specific place at a specific time, or thinking…always thinking.

What I was most excited about I think was doing things that I continually put off in favor of or felt like I “had to” do.

So what did I accomplish last week:

Also my wife and I went bowling for the first time ever together and had some great walks around Shanghai just thinking and reflecting.

Why was this year different? I think I’ve come to understand that I do not need to be connected all the time, that the network is really good at holding information for me. I don’t have to be constantly connected to learn, I have the skills to go back and find out what I need to know. My network filters the best parts of the past week for me. Be it Twitter, RSS reader, podcasts, etc. I allow my network to tell me what I missed, from there I make a decision on what is important enough for me to go back and learn (What’s the skill here we need to be teaching?).

There is nothing that happened last week that is not there for me this week to learn.

There is nothing that happened last week that I can not search and find out about.

What I have come to understand is the web waits for you. It will hold the information for you until you are ready to learn it, ready to use it. It waits, paticiantly, always on, always gathering, catergorizing and remembering. I can take a week off because the web doesn’t.

I encourage everyone to take some time off. It doesn’t have to bee a week but two or three days in a row is a great experiment. It was funny listening to the elementary students who I think had an easier time with Screen Free week then their parents did. Many adults compained that they “just couldn’t” and others only did it from Monday to Friday claming the weekend doesn’t count. Why? Are we really that reliant on TVs and Computers during the weekend? What did people do on weekends before TV and computers?

I was on the computer during work hours, but only used it for work tasks (production time was amazing last week!) No Twitter, no personal e-mail, no RSS reader, etc.

When I left school at 3:30pm that was it, I would find other things to take my time and let the screens be.

Like last year, the cell phone was the one screen device that was allowed in our house. What does that say about that technology (no I don’t have an iPhone…just a plain old Nokia)?

So back to being connected, a book of ideas to write about, 682 things to read in my RSS Reader, and more songs to download to play on the guitar. 😉