The December 2007 Podcasting Grant judging is completed! Congratulations to four lucky winners who will each receive over $2,860 in prizes. Click here to see the applications from the runner-up finalists!

Here are the grant applications of our four Grand Prize winning teachers:


Jane Smith, A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary

Stittsville ON K2S 1G8

Lesson Title: Digital Duck Radio ALC
A. Lorne Cassidy is an elementary school located in Ottawa, Ontario, where two classes have already begun podcasting. We have a student population of approximately 700 students from Kindergarten to Grade 8. Our school mascot is the duck, leading us to name our podcast Digital Duck Radio ALC.

With this project, each class is encouraged to produce an entire episode of our podcast, with episodes likely lasting between 10 and 20 minutes long. Classes determine the content of their own particular episodes. Some shows may be focused on particular themes: a grade 1 episode could be about our community and its characteristics, a subject that they have studied this autumn. Some episodes may also have a variety show feel, showcasing examples of student work (poetry, singing, book reports, interviews, etc). Students have the leading role in developing ideas and planning podcast segments. Rather than becoming an “add on” to the classroom experience, the podcast provides an alternative method of presenting work already being studied.

Our school is dual track, with some students receiving their instruction in English while others are in a French immersion program. It is often difficult to encourage our students in the French language program to use their spoken French other than in class situations. Podcasting is a wonderful real world way for our French language students to practice speaking for an authentic audience.

As co-producer of a podcast (www.portableradio.ca) that is produced with my own class, I have witnessed the effect of posting student work on the internet. When students are aware that their work is being considered for presentation, they are more likely to fully research, edit, revise and rehearse their work. They develop pride, excitement and an appreciation of quality and a job well done. The sharing of work as a school or class also creates a collegial atmosphere contributing to school spirit and collaboration between grades.

By taking a school wide approach to podcasting, we can involve all our students and teachers in a project that builds upon work already being done in the classroom, by providing a wide audience for student work. The creation of a podcast allows students to become producers of material, rather than simply consumers on the internet. It teaches lessons about the importance of words and their effect on an audience. Podcasting also provides a window into our classrooms for our parents, community and the world.

Here is how we propose to use all the resources provided in this grant:


Tool Factory software - Tool Factory software contains all the software requirements for teachers (and students) to produce their own shows. To help encourage all staff and classes to come on board with the Digital Duck project, software that is accessible and simple to use is a must.


Digital Voice Recorders - Digital voice recorders allow flexibility for the classes involved. They are easy for teachers and students to use and highly portable. Students find them convenient for recording podcast segments in quieter locations such as the hallway, empty classrooms and even outside. They can be taken on field trips allowing classes to review and share their experiences after the trip is over. Voice recorders can be brought to any location to conduct an interview, just like a field reporter. Digital voice recorders are great for recording large groups, for example our school band, primary choir or any performance group.


Microphones and Headphones -Microphones and headphones are particularly useful for recording presentations done by one or two students. Students who are reluctant to speak in front of large audiences are often less intimidated speaking into a microphone in a private corner of the classroom. I currently have a physically challenged student who would benefit from the use of a headset microphone when recording, as it is difficult for him to control a digital recorder or handheld microphone. The headphones allow students the opportunity to edit their audio pieces in the classroom on the class computer without disrupting those around them. Our older students can also learn the techniques of audio editing, using Tool Factory software. This is another area where they can explore being original and creative.


Clip Art Station - With the variety of subjects that are covered by students in the Kindergarten to grade 8 programs at A Lorne Cassidy, it is wonderful to have access to an extensive collection of clip art to support the audio work being created. This improves the opportunity to promote our podcast episodes on our school website.


Worksheet Station - Our school podcast is designed specifically to support each grade level’s curriculum, particularly reading and writing. The Worksheet Station reinforces the work that teachers do with students. The sheets provide guidance and opportunities for research. They encourage the preplanning, writing and revising of student work. The podcast sheets guide the students through the process of producing a quality audio segment.

Web Page Station - In a school of 700 students and approximately 28 classes, web space is at a premium. We are currently hosting a school website, several class websites, a class podcast, and a School Council website. Additional web space will be required for new episodes, as our podcast grows.


Tool Factory's Simple Guide to Podcasting - Podcasting can sound a little scary to a teacher who hasn’t had much experience with the internet and sound editing. The guide presents information in a non threatening way that would help to convince more teachers that they can become involved in this exciting project.


Jennifer Smith, Monticello Middle School

Monticello IL 61854

Lesson Title: Super Science Sleuths Explain It All: Circumnavigating the Circulatory System
As an eighth grade teacher I am responsible for introducing my students to several scientific concepts that are new to them in addition to helping them become more personally responsible for their own learning. I accomplish both tasks through introducing topics, providing necessary and relevant background information, using guided instruction and experiments, and then assigning a capstone activity. Each capstone activity requires students to design a project that will illustrate their ability to apply learned scientific concepts.

The podcasting grant would greatly add to the effectiveness of our current class activities by allowing students to become more comfortable with different forms of technology, challenging students to create increasingly more unique capstone projects, encouraging students through the motivation derived from using technology, and allowing students to showcase their work for parents, peers, and the community.

The following is an example of how podcasting would enhance an anatomy unit I currently use in the classroom.
1. As an introduction to the circulatory system unit, the students spend time discussing what they know about the circulatory system. These discussions can be recorded and used to create a podcast. At the conclusion of the unit, students can listen to the podcast and evaluate the accuracy of their initial assumptions regarding the topic.
2. After the introductory discussion, I determine the information the students need to have clarified and the information that still needs to be taught.
3. While several experiments are conducted with each unit of study, whole group discussion is the primary vehicle for instruction. These lectures can be recorded as podcasts which would provide absent students with the opportunity to hear classroom lectures or help students study for upcoming tests by listening to the podcasts as a means of reviewing information.
4. While in their lab groups, students will create podcasts of circulatory system related experiments. For instance, students will record the steps of the experiment and take pictures with digital cameras to record the results of each step. During our circulatory system unit students are able to participate in a heart dissection. The steps of the dissection can be photographed and the students can create a podcast detailing the dissection. This podcast can then be used as a learning tool by students who choose not to participate in the dissection. These activities will also afford students the opportunity to learn how to document data and display it for a larger scientific community.
5. The capstone activity for each unit of study in my science courses requires that each student work alone or with a partner to creatively display their knowledge of the recently studied science topic. Students will be asked to create a podcast to share with the class at the conclusion of the unit of study. Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible when producing projects in the form of interviews, dramas, songs, radio shows, etc. Examples of past projects include student created dramas about the life of a drop of blood traveling through circulatory system, a news report detailing the path of blood through the body, and comic book depictions of red blood cells living in the circulatory system.

A. Students select their own topic from the unit which permits students the opportunity to further study information in which they are interested.
B. Students are then given time to research their topic in the library, online, and through professional interviews. Previous podcasts from the unit will be available for students to use as reference material.
C. Students will use the Tool Factory Podcasting Formats worksheet to determine the format that would work best with the scientific topic they have selected.
D. Students will complete the Tool Factory Listener Profile worksheet to help determine the content of their podcast.
E. Students will use Tool Factory Word Processing software to create outlines and type information for their podcasts.
F. Students will use Tool Factory Podcasting software, headsets and microphones, and Olympus Digital Voice Recorders to prepare their podcasts.
G. Students will use digital cameras, scanners, and Tool Factory Clip Art Station to insert sounds and photos into their podcasts. While working on their projects, students will use flash drives to save and transfer their podcast information to different computer stations.
H. Upon completion of the podcasts, students will review and assess each podcast based on a class created rubric, offering suggestions for improvement and praise regarding the final project.
I. After each podcast has been examined, the revised versions will be uploaded to the school webpage and the Tool Factory Web Page Station. Students will then be able to share information not only with their parents and the larger school community but also with their peers in other school districts throughout the state.


Joyce Pushpak, St. Michael School

Independence OH 44131

Lesson Title: A Nation Divided
I am a computer teacher working in a private school in Independence which is a small suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Much of my curriculum is driven by the curriculum of the regular classroom teachers. This year, the 8th grade social studies teacher, the 8th grade language arts teacher and I are going to work collaboratively on a project which incorporates the use of Internet searching, asking the experts, digital photography and video, and podcasting to create presentations which will chronicle the events leading up to the U.S. Civil War as well as the war and the rebuilding of our nation. The students will work in cooperative groups of 5 or 6 students, each assigned a chapter in their social studies book that covers one of the periods of the Civil War.

We will use our current computer lab and wireless laptops to do the Internet researching and online collaborations with experts in the field. Our language arts teacher will be responsible for overseeing the facilitation of the research process, including the use of graphic organizers, notes, citing sources, etc. The topic of plagiarism will also be covered.

The social studies teacher will oversee the presentation and the understanding of the content. In-class discussions about the Civil War and it's role in U.S. history will be conducted prior to the beginning of the project. The teacher will then serve as a facilitator in helping the students to determine appropriate and relevant content.

My role, as the technology teacher, will be to help the students understand and utilize the integration of technology into this project. This will include, but is not limited to, understanding how to evaluate a web site for authenticity and accuracy, a discussion of copyright laws and plagiarism, and teaching them how to create the end product - the podcast. The podcast will involve the students presenting reenactments of specific events as well as primary source documents, pictures and videos.

Throughout this project, students will also be practicing skills such as keyboarding, desktop publishing, Internet searching, use of a digital video camera, digital photography, audio recording and web site development.

The length of this project is projected to be a full quarter, consisting of 9 weeks. The students will meet with me in their computer class during their scheduled computer class time which is once per week for 40 minutes. The lab will be available to them during any non-class periods as well as before and after school. I will be available during those times as a resource person.

The project will be evaluated by all three teachers resulting in a grade for each subject. The evaluations used will be observation, rubrics (both self-assessment and teacher assessment), peer rubrics and the final presentation. There will be a specific time line provided to the students detailing due dates.

Assuming all goes well, we will post the final products to our school web site as well as to public podcasting websites. (This is assuming approval by parents for their students work to be posted in the public domain.)


Frances Lamb, New Paltz Middle School

New Paltz NY 12561

Lesson Title: The Omnibus Vodcast
During the 8th grade in NYS, the curriculum focuses on our nation's heritage. As part of their studies, students take a 3 day journey in April of 2008 to Washington, D.C. to take a look at our capitol's rich history and monuments. Our students will have studied about the nation's capitol and visit many websites about our nation's history before the trip. To make the trip more memorable and interactive for our 170 students, they will interview classmates "on the spot" about various sites they have studied about and now visited (e.g. Lincoln Memorial, National Air and Space Museum and other Smithsonian museums, Vietnam Memorial, WW II Memorial, National Zoo and The Arlington National Cemetery.)Students will be broken up into interviewing teams and must work cooperatively together to complete the assigned task. Each team will be responsible for creating their own questions based upon class lessons and team research of Washington, D.C., to answer while on the trip. Students will also use recording equipment, from the grant, and digital cameras, from the grant, while on the trip to capture memorable and historical highlights from this three day journey that relate to the team's developed questions. Upon returning, students will use Tool Factory software to edit their interviews, video editing and podcasting tools to be specific. Their final product will consist of video podcasts that will act as a digital scrapbook of the journey to our nation's capitol. Final products will be posted on the district's website for the educational community to enjoy and explore. In addition, this activity would likely be expanded to our 6th and 7th grade class trips based upon its success.

Educational Benefits
As a result of this project students will:
1. enhance their knowledge of the project creation process
2. learn or enhance public speaking and presentation skills
3. learn and use new technology, including digital cameras, digital video cameras, recording equipment and video editing software
4. increase their knowledge of American History, Science and journalism skills
5. learn script writing skills
6. practice teamwork and cooperation and a sense of responsibility to both
7. learn how to create and post podcasts
8. learn knowledge of process in a project from beginning to end
9. learn appreciation of our national heritage, technology and the animals we share this planet with

Read the applications of the 3 runner-up finalists.