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Aspen School District may try podcasting

Katie Redding
kredding@aspentimes.com
Aspen, CO Colorado
Katie Redding | The Aspen TimesJoseph Cooney, a freshman at Aspen High School, listens to his iPod in front of Wagner Park on Thursday. Aspen High is considering using podcasts of teacher lectures.
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ASPEN, Colorado ” Here is a typical scenario at Aspen High School: midway through the last period, the lacrosse team leaves to catch a bus to their game ” missing half their last-period lecture.

But what if the athletes could watch a podcast ” or vodcast ” of their teacher’s lecture on the bus?

That’s an option the Aspen School District will be looking into this summer, thanks to workshops created by Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams, two chemistry teachers in Woodland Park, Colo.

“I just know we want to get some people to these so we can explore whether or not it’s a fit for us,” said Superintendent Diana Sirko.

On their website, learningformastery.com, Bergmann and Sams point out that podcasting can also be a useful tool for students who miss classes due to illness, who tend to stop paying attention in the middle of the lecture ” or for students who process information more slowly, and need to hear a concept a number of times.

Bergmann and Sams have found podcasting to be so useful they have actually flip-flopped the way they teach, they say. Students in their classes now listen to their lectures, by podcast, at home ” and then use class time to work in small groups, do experiments, and solve problems in an arena where teachers are available for help.

“Instead of being the ‘sage on stage,’ we play the role of a coach,” write the teachers on their website. “We are in amongst our students helping them to stay on task and do their best.”

Bergmann and Sams go so far as to suggest that podcasting can be used to create a classroom where students move ahead at their own pace ” taking tests to show mastery of content before they watch the next podcast.

But Sirko says the Aspen School District doesn’t yet know how it will use podcasting ” it just feels it ought to explore the new technology.

“It has a lot of uses, I think, for the future, and certainly capitalizes on the fact that a lot of these kids have ipods,” said Sirko. “Anytime you have a high-speed Internet connection, you can download what happened in class.”

kredding@aspentimes.com


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