cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by Asja.: http://flickr.com/photos/asjaboros/6520949843/
In total, 366 podcasts (actually 368 because two applications merited extending to two podcasts) were recorded, representing almost 16 hours of audio. The reality was a little more demanding however since many applications were new to me and needed a degree of exploration prior to producing the podcast. Each podcast also required assembly of a blog post through which to deliver it and though brief, wherever possible a supplementary resource was sourced and added; sometimes a video, sometimes an artefact from the tool. All told then, preparation, recording and writing the blog for each post took between 15 and 30 minutes, sometimes longer. In other words, producing 366 occupied over 120 hours i.e. three work weeks.
Bang for buck?
Was it all worth it? Did the benefits outweigh the costs? I guess there were two beneficiaries: anyone who might have chanced on a post, found something of use, then took that away to develop further. Unfortunately I’ve no way of knowing the extent to which that happened since the viewing figures data from Posterous are notoriously unreliable and I find it hard to believe that any of the Boos I made attracted over 100 listens (The top Boo apparently got 832 listens!). Even then, with few comments posted, and there were few, it’s difficult to know if anyone found anything of value in the podcasts or blog posts. I must say here though I’m grateful to John Johnston & David Noble on Edutalk Radio for their continued support and encouragement … and am honored to be included as a member of the Edutalk community.
I can write with a little more confidence about the second beneficiary – me. Right from the start I wanted to learn a little more about podcasting and whether I had the ‘right stuff’ to produce them. Well there’s no question that I learned something! I certainly find it difficult to speak with the ease and fluency that most of the other podcasters I listen to on Edutalk, EdtechCrew, Tightwad Tech, EdTech Talk and elsewhere seem to do. But part of that’s the format I guess; I’m not loquacious enough to talk into a mic. on my own for long (Couldn’t help but marvel at a recent podcast (Episode 397) from Wes Fryer where he spoke with clarity and focus for almost an hour solid … whilst driving home from a conference!). I guess I’m more of a listener and responder, perhaps better suited to dialogue rather than monologue.
I also learned a little more than I normally would about the new tools I came across. Usually I’d simply bookmark and tag them for future use, but if I was going to be talking about them in 366, I needed to explore them a little more fully. As a result I found several that have now become part of my ‘go to’ toolset that I return to and refer others to regularly; that rarely happens with tools I don’t take the time to explore more fully.
What might I have done differently?
Although I decided at the project outset what I ought to include in each podcast, I soon departed from that and tended to ‘wing it,’ often perhaps being more descriptive rather than as analytical or critical as I might have liked. I sometimes wondered whether the supporting blog post was really necessary; could I have done the majority of it through AudioBoo by making greater use of the description and tag fields? AudioBoo have also recently introduced ‘Boards’ which can hold Boos having a common theme, a potentially useful addition for grouping my Boos, by tool-type perhaps. I did feel however that including a video with each podcast (where possible) perhaps provided a different perspective and also might have been more appropriate for those who prefer visual explanations rather than just audio.
Another area which gave me pause for thought was the attempt to try to categorise each tools using the SAMR model. Trying to pigeonhole a tool in this way is not without problems as the blog posts in the ‘About’ page explain. My hope was that offering a tentative level might spur debate about the ways in which the tool might be used, how that could be interpreted and challenge us to think beyond a surface level of simple usage to a deeper appreciation and understanding of how we might use it. Why am I using this tool and am I (and my students) getting the most from it?
End of the line?
The year is done and the project over. Or maybe not. Given the degree of commitment required to produce a podcast/post per day, I’m not sure I could sustain that into 2013; I also have other avenues I want to explore. However new tools continue to emerge and in order to better understand their potential, I do need to give them more than a cursory glance. Perhaps then this offers a way to extend 366 and use it to review and record Web2.0 tools on a continuing basis, albeit with a less demanding schedule.
Maybe there is life in the old dog yet?