Thursday, October 12, 2006

The ITEC Conference is a huge success!! . . . and so was my Interactive Web workshop

Well, the ITEC Conference is over and it was a success.

Over 500 educators attended and they had an opportunity to meet with old friends and make new ones.

The hottest topic of the weekend was podcasting. Podcasting, blogging, and wikis were on everybody's minds. I must admit that part of my perception might have been biased because I did a workshop and a session that involved using these 21st century tools in the classroom.

My workshop, Expanding Classroom Opportunities Using the Interactive Web, was quite successful. Although we had some Internet access problems, I was fortunate to have a room full of techno-veterans who were able to work with the challenges. This workshop was meant to demystify the Interactive Web. Throughout the 2.5 hour span, we explored the wonderful opportunities provided with blogging. We explored a number of examples and each attendee created his/her own blog through Blogger. I must admit that I like the tagging capabilities of Wordpress.com better, but it's a lot faster to make a blog on Blogger.

We followed this by exploring the wiki-world. I had a couple of folks who had never even heard of the word, Wiki. I reminded them of the Wikipedia. We visited Wikipedia and even added a sentence on one of the entries. (Don't worry, it didn't affect the meaning.) I then directed them to the wiki I had created for the conference, ITECconference2006. When you look at this wiki, you will see that I created a page for each of my presentations. This was intended to provide a place where folks could access our resources and add their own. (I was kind of hoping that they would make the changes during the presentation, but that didn't happen.)

Anywho, each of the attendees created an account on wikispaces. There are others, like Peanut Butter Wiki, but this is the easiest one to do in a short period of time.

We finished with podcasts. I had intended to provide each learner with the opportunity to create their own podcasts - even had microphones. Unfortunately, we ran out of time so I asked them if they would like to see me make a podcast from start to finish. After their resounding cry of "YES", I began my venture.

I began with Garageband (check out the tutorials) because it is so simple to add background music and edit. I created a quick 30-second audio recording. We then selected music for an intro and an outro (Like that name? I just learned it last week from the Apple website.) We added those musical clips and placed them appropriately (along with the proper "ducking.") We transferred the podcast to iTunes where it immediately started playing. We needed to convert the file to an mp3 format for the podcast, so we used the convert feature on the Advanced menu. Finally, we had to use the "Show File in Finder" command to find the mp3 format of the file so that we could move it to the desktop.

Confusing? It can be. I hope that Apple makes this process MUCH less complicated in iLife '07 or sooner. This is also why I supplied each of the attendees with instructions on How to Make a Podcast Using Garageband. (I will post these soon.)

The most difficult part about giving a workshop on creating a podcast is deciding where to upload the podcast so that it can actually be heard. Usually, we geeks have access to a server where we make special accommodations for them to upload their work.

I found an alternative!!!!! I found Pod-serve.com
This is a site where you can upload your podcast and, belive it or not, it does all of the RSS magic there too. This means that you just need to upload your podcast and then you can immediately subscribe to it. I must admit that I don't know much about this company, so you should check it out before you use if for your workshops or classes.

Elapsed time for making a podcast? 15 minutes from beginning to end. Would you believe that I just checked on the podcast that we made and it already has 51 subscribers? Must be a slow day in pods-ville.

This workshop was my first one covering these 3 tools of the Interactive Web. I hope to do many more. I have applied to NECC 2007 to make a similar presentation. I truly hope that it is accepted.

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