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Here I am, on a lovely and sunny Sunday morning about to commit to another day of good old digging in my back yard. We have a steep section, and I just seem to end up doing a lot of digging in it. Mainly to terrace it off and make flat spaces for the day I organise a TALO swapmeet over at my place.

Anyway, yesterday I had the bright idea to break out the old MP3 player and load it up with some audio. I’m not a big fan of music, though I do have a huge collection of very nice tunes from CCMixter, but I crave insights, ideas, debates and stuff. So I had a quick hunt for some audio, and all I found from the news reader was this recording from Australia’s Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)’s Radio National Law Report looking at Creative Commons (silly buggers took the audio recording away!!) But apart from that, I found very little.

I can’t remember who (Brian, D’Arcy, Alan) ah! it was Alan who is also noticing the drop in podcasting, but reckons audio publishing is still going strong. Just to be clear, I’m referring to education stuff – sorry to be a bore..

In 2005 when I was super keen on audio recordings from conferences and the like, it seemed that everyone was putting stuff up. At the time podcasting was the flavour flave, but that’s not the way I found my listening. At the time, and still to this day, my internet access was always limited by data caps, and every month I seem to go over that cap. At NZ$49 per month I can’t really afford to upgrade, and nor can I afford to subscribe to podcast feeds that will load me up with stuff without me being able to say yay or nay to it before hand. So, I’ve always simply reviewed the synopsis of the pending audio recording before deciding whether to load it up.

Back in 2005 is when I discovered the mighty Stephen Downes and his near over whelming amount of audio recorded presentations. I guess I could have another listen to those again… they certainly are worth reviewing. It was through Stephen’s recordings that I found myself in all this edublogging anarchy. His ideas, ethics, and principles struck a cord with me and gave me the voice I was looking for. At the time I was hungry for more audio, and did a lot of listening of many others during the long commutes to work I used to do. I still remember getting totally freaked out in the van as a I drove home one wet and misty night, listening to eLearning Queen’s recording of her thoughts about Boliva’s El Luison. I still get shivers..

But now I don’t commute so much, and don’t really have so much of that valuable time for listening, contemplating, reflecting etc. Today though, I have a very large hole to dig, and it would be a perfect time to fill my ears with the ideas of SD or anyone else of similar presentation / ideas / ethics / political caliber (in other words, worth listening to). So I have the dusty old MP3 player plugged in, I’m trawling the news reader, but its largely empty of audio! I actually have to go out and search for it! That’s a big change from 2005. Before, if people weren’t publishing their own audio, then they were pointing to it. Now, it seems very few people that I have in my reader (some 300 or so) are doing either.. is my experience common with others? Have we all lost our time for listening? Lordy knows I still pump out a lot of media, and audio is still right up there, most recently the 10 minute lecture series about online learning communities, but I can see that they have had only a few downloads… perhaps we are all slowin down (or is that speeding up) to a point where audio is just not high on the agenda..

I’m sure its just me.. I’m sure its just a reflection of how long its been since I updated my subscriptions and that all the tired and used up old edubloggers I’ve been reading for the past 3 years are starting to lose their energy. Or its because I haven’t defended my listening time from the encroaching administrivia that I have stopped watching out for it.. either way, this morning, its a searching I will go…


Sometimes, people come into my office area and in an effort to strike up conversation or something they say, “lectures are so old school don’t you think..?”.

I don’t know what to say to a statement like that. I don’t want to discourage their attempt to show how progressive a thinker they are… but I also don’t want people thinking that Educational Development equates to anti lecture!

For the record, I think lectures are great, and I like the readings/lecture/tutorial model for teaching and learning.. when done well. But I do agree that there could be more to a lecture than the usual 1 hour in a theatre, blink and you miss it type affair..

Apart from those flippent and strangely self concious remarks we get from the occasional visitor, the fact of the matter is that the vast majority of teachers I have ever worked with prodominantly use some variation of the lecture tutorial model. So while we do challenge people to reconsider their lectures a bit (ideas such as breaking the usual 1 hour lecture into a series of 6 x 10 minute lectures, webcast lectures, audio/video recorded lectures, well produced movies that say the same things, guest lectures and student lectures, and just simply improving the use of slide presentations… in all these instances we are sticking with simple variations lecture format.

Below are some links to concepts for new ways of presenting the lecture, some are good, some are terrible, some are a good idea with room for improvement:

  1. Ted Talks
  2. 10 minute lectures/webcast/recorded
  3. Berkeley on Youtube
  4. Presentations in Second Life
  5. Using Sketchup instead of Powerpoint
  6. Instant Message backchannel with a movie
  7. Wiki lecture notes
  8. Podcasting lectures

A new connection to me – made via pingback comment, is with New Zealand blogger Rachel at Contented. I quick scan of her recent posts reveals a pointer this this little beauty – BigPod, a New Zealand podcasting service. We need more of these services in God’s Country… according to the IT support guys here, our bandwidth costs are more and less reliable when we post and drag content from foreign servers. So – provided BigPod keeps in servers on home turf, this Podcasting service might be a more reliable tool.


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