I am a big proponent of allowing students to use the technology devices they have during school hours. There are so many opportunities to learn using these tools and while I understand the rationale for why they are often banned, I don't agree with it. There is never a wasted minute in my day because if I am in line at the grocery store / in a doctor's waiting room / sitting outside my daughter's dance class, I am consuming information on my phone. I can't even begin to articulate the knowledge I've gained during these times.
In addition to learning how their devices could be used to help them consume knowledge, students could also be taught how their phones could be used to create knowledge. Here are three podcasting lessons that students could complete using their devices' podcast recording functionality:
1. Ask students to share their family history by conducting interviews with family members and building a Family Podcast. Students could be directed to the Smithsonian Folklife and Oral History Interviewing Guide (http://www.folklife.si.edu/education_exhibits/resources/guide/introduction.aspx) for assistance.
2. Last year, I heard about a remarkable program in a NYLA SLMS conference session. West Seneca East High Librarian Sandy Eichelberger has created the award-winning Hometown Heroes Day (here’s a link to a SLAWNY publication with an article about the program - http://goo.gl/PSDDW). Eichelberger invites veterans into the library to share their stories with groups of students. They are designed to be interactive sessions with many questions and answers. In a similar vein, podcast interviewing could be used to capture these important stories from veterans. The LOC’s Veteran’s History Project (http://www.loc.gov/vets/) wants your podcast interviews of veterans (and other artifacts) to save for their research. What an excellent opportunity this would be to help with ongoing LOC research projects.
3. Students from health class could create Public Service Announcements against drinking and driving, dangers of drugs, Internet safety, etc. In Rochester, we have a popular BOCES-sponsored school radio station. Perhaps we could speak with them to see if they would be willing to run the PSA’s on the station.
The projects above could also be conducted via a computer for those students who do not have phones with recording capability. This would be a great opportunity, though, to encourage students to create academic content with their personal technology tools. It might even motivate them to independently develop other content that would further augment their information literacy skills.