One of favourite online learning activities is DS106. I've blogged about it here had have a whole blog where I publish my DS106 learning.
Ds106 is a rather unique experience, it is an undergraduate course at the university of Mary Washington(and other places) on Digital Storytelling but anyone in the world can join in.
Last Autumn I took part in the Headless 13 iteration of DS106, a course without a link to a 'real' class for open online participants only.
I enjoyed the course immensely and was a amazed at the creativity and energy of my fellow participants. At the end of the course one person, Mariana Funes, posted a reflection on the course in 106 bullet points. Mariana was interested in teasing these ideas out a bit more and asked me if I'd be interested in helping out with a podcast and internet radio show. I was delighted.
We are planning 106 episodes, each 15 minutes long, to be broadcast at 8pm on Sunday evenings on DS106 Radio. They will then be archived as a podcast, currently in EDUtalk.
The podcast is called in punning fashion “The Ds106 Good Spell” and we are having a bit of fun around. Imagery, slogans, and audio branding.
The idea of the show is to think about DS106, online learning, creativity and collaboration. Like some of Mariana's bullet points DS106 can, at first, feel a little had to understand from the outside, hopefully we can help decode both bullets and the course in a way that is interesting and informative to others and fun for ourselves.
If 106 episodes are not enough we started with Episode 0 giving some background:
If you going to the Scottish learning festival this year I would like to invite to contribute to EDUtalk.
EDUtalk is, among other things, an open to any contributions podcast. EDUtalk started at the Scottish learning Festival in 2009 when David Noble and myself invited any of the attendees to submit audio to a podcast SLFtalk (lost when posterous stopped). We were trying to provide alternate sources of information and reflections about the festival and make it as easy as possible for people to both contribute and listen to the contributions of others.
This year given the ubiquity of personal mobile devices is even easier to contribute to EDUtalk.
Here are three simple ways:
Audioboo an application for both iPhone and android, Audioboo allows you to record short segments of audio and upload then to the Audioboo site. If you tag the ‘boo’ #EDUtalk they will be brought in automatically to the EDUtalk site.
Just record some audio on anything a computer on smartphone whatever you got. Then you can email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll take it from there. There are usually a few computers on the floor at a SLF that are connected to the Internet many of these will have built-in mics it should be pretty easy to record something there and email it to edutalk.
Another app you can use is a ipadio, this is an app like audioboo – available for android and iOS to record audio and sent to ipadio. Again if you tag it #edutalk we’ll pick up automatically and post it to edutalk.
So what do people talk about. You could talk about a session you been to. A keynote. You could talk to a colleague or friend.
You can have conversations with anyone about anything educational, at the coffee bar , in a quiet corner. it can be about whatever, educational, topic you like. Your thoughts we want them.
With the huge changes going on in Education this is a chance for us to join in the conversation, to talk across boundaries, of local authority, of hierarchy and think about what really matters today.
Listening to audio is more time consuming that reading. It is hard to bookmark interesting section, to scan quickly through content and to skip back and forward.
Alternatively audio provides extra information, the sound of voices. Audio can also be consumed while doing other things, driving, washing the dishes walking the dog etc.
We have had many wonderful folk send us audio and a tremendous lineup of guests on our live show. Well worth listening to.
On the site
Podcast and Radio EDUtalk
You can listen to both podcast and the internet radio stream just by using the players on the site. The audio should be played via html5 players when possible falling back to flash. You can also download the audio using the links provided.
Listening on the site or downloading individual audio files is fine for casual listening but there are other ways to get the content with less effort and while you are away from your computer..
By subscribing to the podcast feed
The podcast has an RSS Feed. This allows folk to ‘subscribe’ to the podcast with podcatcher software. This software will automatically check the feed and download new audio that appears on the site automatically. Most podcatcher can be configured to discard older audio files and can organise the audio in different ways.
The best known podcatcher is probably iTunes. iTunes runs on mac and windows pcs. You can subscribe in iTunes simply by clicking on the Subscribe to Edutalk with iTunes on the sidebar of the Edutalk site.
Having podcasts on a mobile device is very useful. It means you can listen to podcasts as you travel. Personally I listen t opodcasts while comuting.
If you use iTunes you can sync your podcasts to an ipod or iphone.
There are also apps which will sync podcasts directly over wifi. Apple provide the podcast app for free. I use Instacast 2, version 3 is now avaliable.
You can also listen to the stream of Radio EDUtalk in a whole variety of ways. Appart from listening to the live shows, the radio plays random and organised sets of audio from the site. This can be a great way to find something unexpected.
On a computer
On the Radio Edutalk page ther are links to listen to the stram in a variety of applications including:
I like listening to podcasts. I usually listen to them while driving. I use instacast to play podcasts on my iPhone. Instacast allows you to subscribe to podcast feeds, it downloads episodes while you are on WiFi for playback later. I subscribe to a few educational podcast, some mac ones, the Scottish Poetry Library and Machine of Death. I change these about occasionally.
Sometimes though I want to listen to individual podcasts episodes without subscribing to the whole feed. Recently I’ve been doing this by downloading the podcast media to dropbox, making the files favourites on my phone while on WiFi(which downloads them onto the phone) and listening later. To speed this up a bit and to allow me to do this from my phone or an ipad I have a folder in my dropbox with an AppleScript Folder Action attached to the folder. I add a text file with the url to a media file to this folder (typically with droptext) and it is automatically downloaded to my desktop in a dropbox folder. I then can favourite etc as normal.
This still leaves a bit to be desired, I need to remember to favourite the files while on Wifi so that they are ready to play in the car.
Huffduffer looks like it is made to solve this problem. It is a service that allows you to create a podcast feed from episodes of different podcasts or just mp3 files found on the web. You use a bookmarklet which finds any mp3 files on the current webpage and adds them to your podcast.
Earlier this week I saw a link to huffduffer and created an account: Johnjohnston on Huffduffer. The only problem is I created the account on my phone and left it a few days to install the bookmarklet on my desktop. By then I had forgotten the password!
Attempts to reset my password failed, and perhaps because it is the weekend, requests to get this fixed have not been answered yet. It looks like a few other folk have the problem
So today I decided to try a wee bit of DIY with AppleScript. I’ve already got a few dropbox folders set up with Folder actions to do some automation 1 so had a rough idea of how to go about this.
What I want to do is, on iOS copy the url to a webpage, switch to droptext, make a new text file containing the url and save it into the folder. The Folder Action script then parses the webpage for mp3 and m4a files and adds them to a RSS file. I’ve describe to this file in instacast so don’t need to think about it much other than opening instacast when on wifi and letting it download episodes.
The script basically adds the mp3 urls to a text file along with the date they are added. This text file is parsed to produce an RSS feed. The script certainly lacks any polish, but it works. Here is the RSS feed in my dropbox. And here is what it looks like in
As you can see, the feed is quite minimal, the names come from the mp3 file name. The script (I’ve uploaded it here), needs lots of work. I briefly tried to get the titles from the tile of the webpage, but ran into some odd characters which threw things off. I’ve also hard coded file paths into the script and it would be better not too. Most of the script, dealing with detecting the files added is a lift form the examples that Apple ship. My bit just process the url. I’ve also adapt this to run from a mac grabbing the front url from Safari, this script is in my FastScripts folder s oI can run it with a keyboard shortcut.
Not sure if anyone is interested in this stuff here, but it fascinates me and posting it is one way of keeping track.
On Thursday evening I was lucky enough to be in conversation with Gillian Penny, Dan Bowen, John Johnston and Fraser Speirs as part of the Edutalkr series. Iain Hallahan kept the conversation organised as chairperson and David Noble did the background tech.
On Friday evening I went along to the evening presentation and discussion part of this event. There had been an afternoon training workshop on the practicalities of field recording run by the evenings presenters which was limited in numbers. My attention to the event had been aroused by a tweet from @scottishmusic I guess because I post the odd recording to the UK Sound Map. The evening was a little bit different from the educational conference/teachmeet meetings that I am more likely to be found at but I am really glad I went.
The first presentation was by theatre maker Tim Nunn of the company Reeling & Writhing. He spoke about his work in progress Formel, inspired by Chaucer’s Assembly of Fowls the play uses field recordings extensively. Tim spoke about how he wrote the play working back and forward between text & field recording each affecting the other. A lot of the sound was recorded on Islay and he played us fragments of a force 10 gale and rooks mobbing an eagle. Here is a taste of the play I found on the Formel page
As someone who is as musical as a turnip I can’t really comment on the work, other than to say I enjoyed listening to it. The Blast Beach images & sound was interesting in being a very much polished combination of photos and edited found sound. As someone who takes phone photos and records the odd sound when out and about it shows where the idea can go give a deal of talent in photography & music.
Ian Rawes spoke about several sound map mashups. Starting with his own London Sound Survey which features London maps, ambient sound recordings, sound maps, local history & London wildlife. This is a site to get lost in, the quote on the front page Perhaps the most ambitious and comprehensive approach to sound mapping I’ve yet to see . . . an all-around wonderful site! (from Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute) rather understates it! Ian is the Vault Keeper at the British Library sound archive (I think). Ian briefly showed us round the London Sound Survey playing recording of a street preacher (there are quite a few) and a Common Pipistrelle bat recorded with a Magenta heterodyne bat detector set to 45 kHz and Edirol R09-Hr digital recorder which gives you an idea of the range of the site if not the depth. He also showed us the London map with present-day streetmaps, historical maps and sound recordings.
Ian is also the person behind the UK Sound Map , I’ve blogged about this before and contributed a few boos to the map. what I love about the project is the fact that it is open to anybody to contribute, it is easy to do so and it mashes maps & sound.
We then saw the Acoustic map from 12 Gates to the CityThe acoustic map is an ever-growing collection of 1 to 5 minute sound recordings embedded on a world map at the exact location of each recording. created by Jonathan Prior, an Edinburgh-based creative researcher, who was sitting in the audience. Johnathan’s map is interesting because it uses UMapper rather than google maps, it looks and sounds good. We heard the underwater recording of periwinkles grazing on algae which sound nothing like you would expect. It looks as if there is a lot of interesting stuff on 12 Gates to the City.
The Inukjuak Sound Map is another map sound mashup this time created by Montreal sound artist Nimalan Yoganathan. The map has cultural and natural sounds, some with images. It uses google maps. We also watched Charles Veasey’s Hmsg Spiral Map which I had seen before, but it was interesting watching with other people on a large screen rather than in one’s own home with multiple on and offline distractions. The Hmsg project is a flash/video/google maps mashup.
One of the main impressions I got from the event was the quality of the audience’s listening, this made the evening quite quiet and contemplative, quite different from, say, a TeachMeet or educational tech event. I had not taken a laptop or ipad to take notes, but if I had I would not have used them, I didn’t take any photos either although I had a phone with me. In googling the links for this post I re read Inukjuak Sound Map and Hmsg Spiral Map on Ian’s London Sound Survey blog:
The Spiral Map looks and sounds very impressive as it progresses smoothly through its 30 different sound recordings and videos. Most of the videos have very little motion in them and much more action is heard than seen. It’s a great way to set a balance between the ravenous eye and the patient ear.
I came away straight after the event, an empty stomach and dinner waiting kept me from the pub, with open ears, walking to the train station listening more than usual. At the station I was surprised that the announcement and the clicking and clacking of the high heeled shoes were louder than the train.
I’ve also been thinking of how this could relate to the classroom. Here are some ideas off the top of my head:
I’ve often used photos and sometimes video as stimulation for creative writing, following Tim Nunn we could add recordings as a great stimulus. Children recording sounds from a trip as well as taking photos and videos could be an powerful addition to stimulate writing and discussion back in the classroom. I’ve also had children record poetry with backing music, perhaps found sound could be used as well.
I’ve often involved pupils in creating movies from still pictures adding their voice with iMovie. It could be really interesting to add recordings Timothy Cooper style I think some children could be excited in working this way.
I’ve been building picture and gps map mashups for a while now, occasionally incorporating audio and recently mapped my boos this could easily be adapted for a school trip or for a collection of schools to work together. Or perhaps schools could contribute to UKSM itself. Playground sounds across an authority or skipping songs could be a starter.
In the afternoon workshop there had, I think, been a lot more technical information. Ian provides a Budget binaural stereo microphones guide on London Sound Survey. A lot of the Field Recording crowd seem to know what they are talking about kit wise, I was somewhat relieved when Ian appropriated the Best Camera quote: The best microphone is the one you have with you.
In talking about UMapper, Ian said it was in some ways easier to use than google maps. This is probably right, but I like the way google maps can be use to auto update, using the api, so that things are added without automatically, without crafting
Finally what I’d take away was the quality of listening shown by the audience & presenters. The time taken. Timothy Cooper’s Blast beach gave plenty of time to look at the images: audio can be slower. I am thinking again about Ian Rawes’ “the ravenous eye and the patient ear”, Tim Nunn’s theatre performances in the dark.
From the above you can see I’ve gathered a great number of links, sites not only to visit but to revisit. It is not often you get the chance to hear periwinkles eating.
This week on my Work blog: DSi at Dykehead Views from the pupils at Dykehead Primary on using DSi in class. Cathedral Podcast in Cathedral Primary School demonstrating podcasting to Mrs Shearer, Emma and Olivia from Primary Seven, they will be podcasting soon!
I was also delighted to listen to this podcast: The Egypt Topic P3 I had worked wish some pupils at Woodlands Primary School in an after school club, producing some podcasts, this is their first independent episode and I hope to listen to many more.
AudioBoo: Podcasting in the Classroom an audio extract from my Glowing Thursdays presentation (the whole thing will be published later).
On sunday evenings I often take part in EdTechRoundUp. EdTechRoundUp is an informal group of educators, interested in talking about technology. originally planned as a planning meeting for a podcast the meet has evolved into a meeting that becomes a podcast. Planned on the edtechroundup wiki the meeting takes place in a Flash Meeting. Flashmeeting (described as the YouTube of videoconferencing) is a lovely free service for educators to hold online meetings with video, audio and chat elements.
The chats are a lot of fun and a good place to find out about many exciting uses of ICT in the classroom. Anyone cxan add to the agenda on the wiki and anyone can join in. The meetings are often chaired by Doug Belshaw who tidies up the audio for publication on EdTechRoundUp.com.
The audio is recorded not live but from a replay of the flashmeeting by volunteers. I have taken that role a couple of times and used WireTap, as I recall, wiretap pro could be used the same way as wiretap (an older free version) for free but I recently moved macs and downloaded wiretap studio. This worked fine for a couple of weeks and then I got to the end of the trial period. From the information on the WireTap Pro FAQs page I think I could download a version of pro and still use it that way but I’ve found another solution.
I missed the meeting on Sunday but got a tweet from Doug looking for someone to grab the audio. I said I’d do it and then found out that WireTap had timed out.
Soundflower is a Mac OS X (10.2 and later) system extension that allows applications to pass audio to other applications. Soundflower is easy to use, it simply presents itself as an audio device, allowing any audio application to send and receive audio with no other support needed. Soundflower is free, open-source, and runs on Mac Intel and PPC computers.
Quick to download an install, soundflower gives you a couple more options in the Sound input and output preference pannel:
All I need to do was to set Soundflowe 2 channel as the default input and output, I then replayed the flashmeeting and used Audacity to capture the sound. SoundFlower comes with an app Soundflowerbed (I’ve not tried it yet) and has a lot more features but this did the trick for me.
The other bit of software I used was The Levelator, once I had recorded the audio I exported it as a wav file and dropped that file onto the Levelator:
It’s software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It’s not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three.
The Levelator smoothes out the ups and downs of volume which you get form several folk talking in different places with different microphones to something that is surprisingly clear.
After that I just need to export the output from the Levelator to an mp3 and send it to Doug via dropbox. I had a listen to the audio on the way home from work yesterday and the audio sounds not too bad, the content sounds very good indeed, and I am sorry I was not there, well worth a listen once Doug sorts it out and put it on EdTechRoundUp.com.
I can also recommend joining in the flash meeting anytime you are free on a Sunday evening, a very welcoming space and I’d guarantee that you come away with a few interesting ideas or thoughts. Details are always on the front page of the wiki.
EdTechRoundup is a new podcast from an open group of UK educators which I have become involved in.
EdTechRoundup is a place where a group of UK-based educators come together for discussion and collaboration around the use of technology in education. We believe in pedagogically-sound uses of educational technology, but don?t believe in ramming Web 2.0 (or anything else for that matter) down people?s throats?
The dual presenter with input from a guest is going to be the pattern for the show with a different set of presenters taking over for each show. A fair number of UK educators are involved (see the edtechroundup » Contact Details page) and the podcast is open to anyone to join in. In good social media fashion the podcast has been organised on a wiki and a series of FlashMeetings. The Meetings are announced on the wiki so it is easy to join in.
Apart for planning the podcast the meetings have been good fun and a lot of interesting areas of tech and social media discussed. If the first show and these discussions are anything to go by EdTechRoundup should be a good feed to add to iTunes or other podcatcher.
Tom Barrett and myself will be hosting the next podcast which should be out in a couple of weeks.