WE HAVE EXPERIMENTED WITH MICROCASTING for the past 12 years on the Clonmel campus of the Limerick Institute of Technology. With the help of a dozen students, I'm getting an inside view of what microcasting means.
MORE THAN 10 YEARS after I shared my first MP3 clip to readers, I've started culling gigabytes of spoken content into places where the major listening networks can find the audio clips and share them. I'm now experimenting with pulling some of my most recent content from my station on Anchor.fm into a easy to remember subscription called Bernie on Anchor.
I NEEDED A laptop to effectively manage three fourth year students and after a two year wait, I finally got a Dell Latitude 5480 that should serve me well for my final 900 days as a third level lecturer. This is the first machine I've used without having admin rights and that's a bit awkward. Here are a few first impressions.
SOME OF MY BEST STUDENTS want to write with pens on paper. I try to balance their needs with the easy cross-checking that follows well-oiled digital media in the classroom.
I've been teaching third level classrooms for two decades in each of two centuries, which means I've seen classroom technology evolve from loud and large space heaters with footprints as large as chairs to elegant and clever touchscreens that fit in purses. Today, my students are more likely to have a touchscreen tablet than a mouse. But with their technology comes a sort of addiction that needs to be pared back in respect for the learning environment.
I have never abandoned the written word--those peer-reviewed paragraphs inside hard cover textbooks guide our accredited curricula. During many of my lectures, I ask many students to spend time at whiteboards because I learned from chalk talks under the glaring eyes of nuns in my high school. I also remember completing quadratic equations in timed sessions at university level.
I remember the joy of accomplishment from those days and know I don't always need a computer-based game to make learning fun.
So it's a matter of trying to balance the new with the old. I want to distribute lists that hyperlink to deep reading materials and I want students to write journal items in unruled Moleskines.
A major concern I have when training students in the BSc programmes at the Limerick Institute of Technology is access to technology. Many of the immersive practical sessions can only occur by using computers with strong processors, plenty of RAM and fast internet access. During the past three years, access to those machines is time-constrained during the day and that means I encounter students working on assignments between 7-9 PM most weekdays on camppus. In the run up to the examination period, dozens of students are on campus on Saturdays, using labs and the WiFi access. We have adopted a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) philosophy by stealth. This means a young student often has no hope of finishing with top Honours without having either the free time to stay on campus or the resources to ow their own powerful laptop. The technology-laden classroom has become a portable facility in my field of work.
EVERY TWO WEEKS, I cobble together a five minute clip comprised of 15-20 voices using the Anchor.fm ecosystem. This week, I decided to give top mention to a question arising in my mind: Do we hear a person's color (or creed or sociodemographic background) when we hear their voice? It's part of a clip hashtagged #voicesofanchor below and in a YouTube playlist.
I'M GLAD THAT I HAVE a relatively quiet weekend ahead because it's going to take a few hours for me to decompress several significant outcomes related to a field trip our creative media students completed in Dublin. The five students got specialised attention while inside Workday and Google. We got tailored content and special treatment.
The pacing of the day was so fast that I didn't take time out to record any audio snippets. In fact, we were asked not to record some of the things we heard and saw.
WE GET AN INSIDE VIEW of Google's accelerated mobile publishing along with deep insights about a current Adwords programme when visiting Google's Dublin offices with a small crew of creative media students from the Limerick Institute of Technology. I appreciate the work Conor McGann is doing to create an incisive session.
WE'RE TAKING A SMALL CREW of creative students into the Dublin offices of Workday and Google on the 17th of November. These sorts of field trips always pay dividends for both academic staff and our students.
AFTER MORE THAN a year and a half listening and talking on Anchor.fm, I can most assuredly say I've encountered dozens of very contented people using Anchor radio. It's a small community (probably no more than 550 active members) but there's enough diversity to make my Anchor experience the equivalent of a multicultural audio scrapbook.
Every fortnight, I try to cobble together "voices of anchor" by scraping 15-25 different snippets into one five minute collection like the one I'm sharing below.
Where I work, we teach people to create. Sometimes the creative process starts with reading or listening. Other times, creativity happens by talking about your work and speakerphones are part of that sharing process. And sometimes you share what you play.