Archive for February, 2010

An Update to Free Podcasting in the Classroom

Posted on February 18, 2010. Filed under: General, Podcast |

by Tim Cushman

Gcast made podcasting incredibly easy.  With Gcast, a user could record a podcast by phone (for a minimal cost) or upload recordings from a computer for free.

I was first introduced to Gcast a few years ago during a workshop by presenter and teacher extraordinaire, Chris Craft.  Using a cell phone, Chris created daily podcasts during his morning commute that were automatically posted and broadcast by doing nothing more than calling an access number and recording a message.  This feed could be subscribed to by students via iTunes or accessed through the classroom website.  [Note: Chris now uses BuzzSprout.  It is a pay-only model, but includes some nice features.]

It appears that Gcast is no longer an option with the site freezing new registration and blocking all new uploads effective February 1, 2010. Gcast was unique in that you could create a podcast for free if you opted to record in a program like Audacity, save it as an mp3, and then upload the audio file.  This was an effective means of distributing student-created podcasts.

While I liked Gcast, I have found that is a suitable alternative for distributing content at no cost. Think of as on-line storage with sharing features (up to 100MB for free).  Just create a folder, or “drops,” and add your files for free. is built to be social so audio files easily become podcasts.  Each drop has its own call number assigned so that the user can create a podcast by calling and recording a message.  Teachers can continue to record student podcasts in Audacity and upload the file to  These recordings can then be tied to iTunes for syndication.  The steps for creating a “dropcast” can be found here.

The uses for extended beyond podcasting.  This is an amazing tool and worth exploring.  Make sure you start by watching the short “how to” video.

There are several ways to integrate podcasting in to any classroom.  Explanation of podcasting projects like book talks, literature circles, drama, meet the author, science logs, art critiques, historical audio diaries, and oral histories can be found here.  I have resource materials for blogging on my website at

How have you used, or plan to use, podcasting in your classroom?

How else could you use to support learning?

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Effective Teaching Strategies Implemented

Posted on February 6, 2010. Filed under: Elementary School, Interactive Whiteboards, Science, Social Studies/History, Teachers | Tags: |

Fran Mauney

This week was one of those weeks when I was proud to be a teacher and part of this profession!  Teaching poetry to first graders during Literacy Week by using the Smartboard and the Flip camera energized me. Teaching fifth grade students, during their Arts Day, to make movies using Movie Maker inspired me. Demonstrating the use of Activexpressions to third graders while they reviewed for their Civil War test motivated me, and showcasing excellent teaching strategies to student teachers validated why I became a teacher over 27 years ago.

I was honored to showcase one of our Title 1 schools that has raised the bar for technology integration to a higher level. Dr. George Lipscomb, from Furman University, brought his Technology Integration class over to Hollis Academy to see real life examples of technology integration in the classroom. They were able to observe two lessons which actively involved all students, engaged the learners, and set high achievement goals for students by using technology.  Students from a third grade single gender classroom performed a Reader’s Theatre play as a news team from the Civil War.  Students rehearsed their parts, then the teacher filmed them using the Flip Video Camera.  While he worked with the small groups, others were doing SSR, and others were on the computers working on Compass Odyssey and Fast Forword. He later made a movie using Movie Maker and shared it with his class and others on Teacher Tube. The fifth grade class was reviewing for their science test.  In preparation for the class, the teacher used her Flip Video camera to videotape two students  at a time reading the review questions. She inserted each video clip into an ActivInspire Flipchart on the Promethean Board, and the students used their Activexpressions to answer these questions. She reviewed the results at the end of the test, exported them into Excel and the class decided if they were ready for the test or if they needed to review more. They were able to analyze the data and make an accurate decision based on their results.

This has inspired me to make a Scope and Sequence chart for the new ISTE standards and I need your help.  I have created an online brainstorming wall at  Could you add some project ideas that correlate to the ISTE standards by visiting : ? I think you will find this website extremely helpful as you brainstorm ideas with others.

One last thought, the Winter Olympics begin soon, so here are some websites you might enjoy using with your classes as you plan lessons that can be integrated with your standards.


Enjoy teaching next week!

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    The School District of Greenville County – Instructional Technology Department


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