Best of both worlds

There are a number of us in Ontario who dabble in a couple of online worlds – blogging and podcasting.  Most people blog in their own space and voicEd radio is the premiere place in Ontario to host your podcasts.

So, it was with great interest that I read this article from Time Why Podcasts Are Taking Over The World & Changing How We Tell Stories.  And, of course, it got me thinking.

Years ago, I published a monthly technology news letter for my old school district and I created a podcast of the headline story for each month.  When that went away, I stuck just to blogging and my signature posts would be the Friday’s This Week in Ontario Edublogs.  Over a year ago, Stephen Hurley reached out to me and asked if I would do a podcast version of it.  I thought about it for quite a while because I really didn’t want to do it.  I put a lot of thought and time into the blog posts and it just seemed contrived to sit back and read my blog post into an audio file so that he could broadcast it.

Then, we came up with a different concept and that was to do a live radio show where I’d select a subset of the posts that would appear on Friday and do it live on Wednesdays. The show would be conversational in nature between the two of us.  It would also be recorded and made available for download later as a podcast from here.  This seemed interesting and unique so we gave it a shot and 70+ weeks later, there is a nice collection of shows.  Every now and again, I’ll listen to some of the early recordings and they weren’t very good on my part.  Stephen has a great voice for radio and he really carried me.  But, I like to think I got better.

I’m starting to enjoy working in both worlds; Stephen and I have actually recorded our show on the road and also in some odd vacation places.  But, back to the premise of the story – are podcasts taking over the world?  I don’t know.

Podcasting

Advantages

  • Our recording is live so there’s only one take.  It requires a great deal of homework to prepare
  • It’s quick.  We do our timeslot on Wednesdays and that’s it – good, bad, or indifferent.  There’s no time to proofread
  • It’s conversational.  Sometimes we even stay on topic but that’s not a requirement

Disadvantages

  • I always have and still do hate the sound of my voice.  I’m way too nasal
  • It’s live.  (See above)  If you listen to the show, there will be times when we stump each other with questions or comments and there are those awkward pauses
  • Mannerisms – I’m really bad for that but I like to, ummm,  think I’m getting better
  • Whether recording a radio show live and then republishing it is actually a podcast I suppose is still up for debate

Blogging

Advantages

  • It doesn’t have to be done in one session.  Since I schedule my posts for 5am on Friday mornings, I have in theory an entire week to find great blog posts to read, think about and then write the post.  Admittedly, that is very time consuming
  • It’s easy to do research as I write.  I just open another tab and get to work.  I’m never stumped (unless DuckDuckGo is)
  • The blogging media allows for links to external resources and images, screen grabs, etc. to help document a point.  You can’t do that effectively in a podcast
  • I never make mistakes.  <ahem>  Or at least mistakes that persist since I can always go back in and fix the odd typo.  The ability to proofread reinforces all those years I spent in English class

Disadvantages

  • It’s generally just me so I do have to work hard to address both sides of an issue rather than playing good cop / bad cop with Stephen
  • It can be time consuming – particularly if I’m searching for that perfect post – I’ll have the editor open all day unlike the 1 hour and done approach of our podcasting
  • It’s not dog walking portable.  With a podcast, I can download the audio file and listen to it while counting mailboxes

In my mind, there is no clear answer.  I see all the above points and there are probably more.  One of the things about both worlds is that they open connections to new communities and I’m learning from each of the communities.  Who could ask for anything more?  It’s a hoot when someone approaches you at an event to introduce themselves as a consumer of my work.

At this point, I can’t see dropping one for the other.  I think they complement each other nicely.

If I could only do something about my voice.

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6 thoughts on “Best of both worlds

  1. I kind of love the combination of both blogs and podcasts. I think that blogs also add the visual element to podcasts. I love listening to you and Stephen on the radio (I think you BOTH have great voices for it, and my teaching partner agrees — we’ve listened together), but I often find myself looking for the posts you’re discussing as you talk about them. They provide the visual for the auditory. This allows me to enjoy the post and the podcast that much more. I wonder if others are the same. Please don’t let go of your posts or podcasts!

    Aviva

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m with Aviva! I like hearing the back & forth between you and Stephen. I like being introduced to posts I might not otherwise find. I hope you keep up with both formats.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doug, I think I’m more of a blogger than a podcaster, but through some encouragement from Derek Rhodenizer, I have tried the podcast as well.

    I like to blog because it allows me to think and reflect and chronicle some of my own learning journeys within my classroom. I also blog with the assistance of my students, where they play and active role in writing and editing. Together, we think, reflect and write before hitting publish. There’s a sense of safety in this method as we are in control of what is being shared with the world. I enjoy sharing what both my students and I have written with the world with Twitter as the conduit and it’s always great to hear what others think of our posts. This has certainly helped my students understand the power of social media and has created many incredible connections for my students with classes throughout the world. I can’t tell you how pumped and overjoyed my students were when they listened to you and Stephen talk about what they are doing in the classroom (think Junior Water Walkers, The Snowflake and Shut the Box). It’s simply something I never dreamed of only a few years ago.

    I have tried my own podcast a few times and have been a guest on a number of few different podcasts. I do enjoy the experience as it’s a great way to connect and converse, but I certainly had to get comfortable with relinquishing some “control”. My podcasts are anything but perfect and there’s many time when I wished I had said more, less, or had chosen my words differently. Then again, as I’ve bee learning…learning IS messy and it’s never going to be perfect. I’ve found that it’s really hard to commit the time to schedule a podcast with someone else. Derek and I have been dabbling with a “slowcast” or “pocket podcast”. We’ve been using Voxer to have an ongoing conversation that we’ve been wanting to have for some time. Eventually, I suspect Derek will publish it. I’ve enjoyed this conversation with Derek as it has given me time to reflect before responding.

    I’ve also created a podcast series with my class. That’s been great fun! It’s kind of an “off the cuff” series. We podcast when we’ve had an “ah ha” or feel we want to quickly share our thoughts and conversation beyond or classroom. In fact, we ended up podcasting with Mr. Rhodenizer as well as Mr. Shreffler’s class from Florida. I do know that the parents of my students really enjoy listening to their kids’ discussions as well!

    I also have found that having kids podcast (or voice record) their writing or math thinking has been a game changer in my classroom. Tools such as iMovie, Quick Time, Photo Booth and Flipgrid has been amazing to help my students get their ideas down in a different format. Flipgrid allows kids the opportunity to respond to one another as well. In fact, I’ve done workshops in different cities and have had teaches give feedback and input using the power of these same tools. Now that I’m thinking about it, platforms such as D2L and Google Classroom allows my students to share their writing with one another as well as their parents. In turn, they can comment and engage. In essence, they are helping to push one another’s thinking and incidentally, making one another better writers.

    And then there’s platforms such as Google Hangouts. I use this type of platform all the time to connect, meet and share with educators from all over the globe. Sometimes the meeting are recorded for sharing and sometimes they’re not. M.A.D PD is an example of how technology has been used to allow people to share and learn together regardless for geographic location at zero cost. Stephen Hurley has continued the conversation beyond the single day in May when we host MADPD and is now engaging presenters in a “MADPD Spotlight Series” where on every Saturday morning though out the year he is interviewing one presenter and digging deeper into their M.A.D idea. And so, the conversation continues. Within the classroom my students have used Google Hangouts to connect with explorers, scientists, conservations, photographers, etc, etc from all over the world. Sometimes our conversations are private, one to one experiences and other times they’re recorded with many classes participating and engaging. My students have presented about being in a “connected classroom” to teachers spread over 5 countries using Google Hangouts. Come to think of it, I’ve presented a keynote virtually, when I wasn’t able to attend in person, due to an unexpected circumstance.

    So, in short (hold on…..this is really long!), I agree with you!
    “At this point, I can’t see dropping one for the other. I think they complement each other nicely.”
    In fact, I think they build off one another and will continue to move us all forward, bringing us to other platforms and allowing us to be comfortable trying them.

    By the way, my students’ biggest complaint, at first, is not liking their voice or seeing themselves on camera.
    We have to teach them to love themselves just the way they are!

    (Thanks for inspiring what will become my first blog post in awhile:))

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think that the second last paragraph is important. It’s something that I’ve had to come to grip with myself. I’m not a fan of my voice but then I started to think – it’s the only one I’ve got so I should learn to like it.

    I’m interested it your stories about dipping your vocal chords into the podcasting world. It does seem to me, at least, that the podcast is a bit more personal than the blog approach. Perhaps it’s because we can edit and re-edit a blog post until it’s just right. Editing a podcast isn’t as easy although I do know that some people really go to great lengths to get it just right.

    As for students, I think it’s interesting to give them a variety of media for exploration. They might just end up with something that really impacts their future.

    Liked by 1 person

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