The June 2007 Podcasting Grant judging is completed! Congratulations to three 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 three Grand Prize winning teachers.

Jason McDougald, Woodson School

Swannanoa, NC 28778

LESSON TITLE: Expedition Diaries from The Woodson Wilderness School

I am a teacher at a therapeutic wilderness-adventure school operated by the North Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Students are enrolled in our program for 32-days and spend most nights camped in the wilderness as backpacking expeditions take them to different adventure activities such as rock climbing and whitewater paddling. The program is designed to develop self-esteem and build life skills such as communication, patience, team-work, and problem solving. Academic curriculum is integrated with the therapeutic adventure program. For example, students conduct water quality monitoring on the rivers they paddle or they learn about geology while they are rock climbing.

The pod casting equipment would be used to create “audio expedition diaries” of students’ learnings and experiences while they are in our program. Students would write a script and record a journal entry twice a week to reflect on academic learnings, character education lessons, and their general feelings from the program. Then, the audio files would be brought back to our base camp facility where students could use lap-tops and the pod casting software to edit their diary entries. At this point students could personalize their entry by adding clip art, sound files, and music to their files. Finally, once a week, each student's diary would be broadcast on the Web Page Station server for subscribers to download. Court counselors, social workers, parents, and other teachers in the department could subscribe to the pod cast in order to receive updates on students' progress in their own words.

This is a unique opportunity for our students because many of them come form urban environments and have never slept outside, swam in a creek, or seen how brilliant the stars can be on a moonless night. This format would allow them to share these experiences with others in a creative way. Also, a typical student in our program has limited literacy skills so the audio recording equipment would provide a unique educational accommodation for these students to share their experiences and learnings with others.


Joyce Muckinhoupt, Tuttle Elementary School

Maiden, NC

LESSON TITLE: Climb Aboard the Freedom Train
The Underground Railroad is a topic that fascinates fifth grade students. As the students explore this topic, there is the initial confusion of not being under the ground or a railroad. But as the investigation continues, the students begin to be aware of the heroism of the slaves who made that journey and the people who helped them. The students will benefit from this project by getting the opportunity to put themselves into the position of a runaway slave or an abolitionist by creating dialogue of a runaway slave or an abolitionist. The students will also benefit from the experience of working with Podcasting hardware and software. Usually about one half of my students do not have technology available for their use at home, so the experiences they get at school are their only chances to learn about what is available.

Each waypoint, or stop point, along our virtual Underground Railroad course will explore one event that could happen as a group of five slaves attempt to run away. The students will create a Tool Factory Web Page that simulates the look of a map in the 1800’s from North Carolina to Ohio with five waypoints, or stops, along the map trail.
• Waypoint 1: At a plantation in North Carolina and planning to escape to the North
• Waypoint 2: Stopping at a home of an abolitionist
• Waypoint 3: Traveling through the woods and hiding from the fugitive slave hunters
• Waypoint 4: Stopping at a home of a Quaker abolitionist
• Waypoint 5: Crossing the Ohio River and arriving at a safe point

At each waypoint, a group of 4-6 students will create an episode that will reflect the thoughts feelings, attitudes and ideas of a slave experiencing this journey and/or of an abolitionist who is helping the slaves with their escape. The students will use the following Tool Factory tools to help themselves recreate a virtual Underground Railroad experience. The students will:
• Use the Tool Factory Storybook Plot Planner to determine the experience that will be shared at this location.
• Use the Tool Factory Storybook Character Worksheet to develop the characters of their event, the runaway slave and/or the abolitionist.
• Use the Tool Factory Setting Worksheet to describe this waypoint location on the Underground Railroad.
• Use the Tool Factory Storybook Dialogue Worksheet to create the script for their episode.
• Open the Tool Factory Podcasting software, name the podcast, name the episode, determine the chapters needed, copy and paste the script and assign the actors, record, edit the wave track and add sounds as needed. Create the completed recording to be published at our Tool Factory Web Page.
• Create ‘artifacts’ that could be found by visitors to the virtual Underground Railroad Course at this waypoint and referred to in the podcast. The artifacts will be chosen from the Tool Factory Clip Art Station and other sources. The artifacts will be hyperlinks at each waypoint on the Tool Factory Web Page.
• Create an activity sheet that will be completed by visitors to the virtual Underground Railroad course.

Initially, I planned to incorporate this lesson into a GPS Garmin eTrex Legend C activity by plotting the Underground Railroad course on the campus of our school. The students would then use the GPS to locate each waypoint to complete the activity sheet with examining the artifacts and listening to the podcast. My students would act as docents for other visiting local fifth grade classrooms. I’ve decided to still do this part of the activity and have my students create the virtual Underground Railroad after they have participated in the simulated course. I think the experience of walking through the activity will give them a better perspective to complete the virtual activity. I also think this adds another dimension to the project by providing the students a simulated activity and the virtual activity side-by-side, so that they can compare and contrast the two types of activities.

The students will use many reading selections to help gather the needed knowledge to create scripts, artifacts, and pictures that reflect a realistic portrayal of this time period. Some of the materials that will be used are:
• Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransom
• Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
• Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling
• The House of Dies Drear by Virginia Hamilton
• Bound for the North Star: True Stories of Fugitive Slaves by Dennis Brindell Fradin
• Library of Congress, National Archives, American Memory, “Born in Slavery”, Primary source accounts;
• Internet research

This will be the initial experience that I will do with the Podcasting grant. Future projects will be the creation of a virtual wax museum of famous historical Americans. Each student will create a likeness of a historical person which will be scanned or a digital picture will be taken. I will work with the art teacher and the technology support person at my school to help the students create the likeness of the historical person in many different ways using art medium supplies and/or technology. Then, that student will create a podcast, pretending to be that character, creating dialogue and recording a podcast of that person that explains the importance of his/her life in American history. The virtual wax museum will then be published to the Tool Factory Web Page. The students will complete a ‘wax museum’ that will have different rooms or hyperlinks that are for different periods in American History as the period of Exploration, Colonial Period, Western Expansion and more. Each room will reflect that time period in the background and have displays that will represent each historical person with his/her likeness and a background. The visitors to our virtual wax museum will push (click) on a button at that display to hear the words of that person created by my students.

I believe that Podcasting will give my students a connection to famous people and events of America’s history. Often, it is hard for fifth graders to relate to the past and make the connections. I feel that it is important that students recognize the heroes of our country’s past and tie the present to the past through the use of technology.

Marsha Quinn, St. John Greek Orthodox Day School

Tampa, FL

LESSON TITLE: Podcasting in Paradise
At St. John we consider ourselves fortunate to live in the Sunshine State! All 3rd through 8th grade students travel the state to explore and validate classroom curriculum—to learn by experiencing. We visit different, fascinating Florida locations to gain knowledge, and also to perform a community service for the locations we visit. What better way to share the remarkable experiences and discoveries than by podcasting. In keeping with our mission to serve others, our final, polished podcasts will be shared with the organization that sponsors the location we visit. A compelling script delivered by a group of students who have recently visited and performed a community service on the property, posted on the agency’s website, will encourage others to visit and to act with caring. Imagine how rewarding it will be for students to have their work linked to an official website from a place they have recently visited.

During the 2007-2008 school year students will learn about sea turtles on St. Petersburg Beach, the Calusa Native Americans at Weedon Island Preserve, fossils and prehistoric animals at the Silver River Museum, sea life with the Mote Marine Laboratory, diverse habitats at Myakka River State Park, early explorers in St. Augustine, swim with the manatees in Crystal River and live for 4 days on canoes in the Everglades. Tool Factory podcasting technology will be used for each of these trips. Here is an example for one of the trips.

Podcasting in Paradise

Sixth grade city kids from St. John move to the Florida wilderness for 3 days each October. Their job is to document the history and the diversity of habitats in the Myakka River freshwater and wetlands environment, and to perform a service for the park. Working from the Myakka River State Park website, groups of students plan this trip for themselves. They live in log cabins, travel by boat, bicycle and on foot, and eat meals they cook for themselves. In the past, students have documented their findings with photography and power point or print presentations. We asked a group of rising 7th and 8th grade students what they thought about adding Tool Factory podcasting technology to future 6th grade Myakka trips. This is how the 6th grade trip gets better:

Set up an “on the road” publishing station in the common lodge at Myakka
1. Be sure the Guide to Podcasting manual is available.
2. At the end of the first day, each cabin group sends a “hey there, no worries here” email podcast to their parents. Use mike and head sets to record, 3 school laptops loaded with Tool Factory software to edit and upload, Myakka internet access, and Web Station hosting.
3. During all of our time at Myakka use the Olympus Digital voice recorders to:
a. record interviews with the rangers and scientists who guide us
b. use the voice activation mode and the memory capacity to wait for sounds in nature and record them
c. Record our observations as they occur-there is ample memory
d. Use the flash technology to move our photos/videos into the digital memory
e. Organize our work into the 5 file folders (5 students in each group)
4. During the evening of the second day, each group will create and broadcast a “we’re having fun, wish you were here, can’t wait to share our adventures” podcast to be shared with families, students, and faculty via the school website.
a. Use Tool Factory Worksheet Station worksheets to guide the episode and script processes
b. Use Tool Factory software to prepare scripts, add and edit data,
c. Insert data saved on the digital voice recorders
d. Use the headphones to hear all of the pre recorded data and clips from Clip Art Station
e. Use the microphones to add voice
f. Use a school laptop connected to the internet
g. Use the Web Station Hosting to post the messages
These communication activities will be useful to our school community and allow us to practice creating episodes, writing scripts, and using the publishing tools.

“Finding our Voices”(Chirtea and Sweeney) or NOW WE GET TO THE BEST PART
Back at school working in our lab:
1. Publish 15 consecutive podcast episodes about Myakka River
2. Post the episodes from a link on the Friends of Myakka River website
3. Work in teams of two/three
4. Vote on a name for the podcasts
5. Develop episode ideas (“egret calls at daybreak”, “those logs have eyes”, “at home on the Florida prairie”) as a class with input from the Myakka Park rangers
6. Use Tool Factory Worksheet Station worksheets to organize our episodes around the Myakka topic, and to plan each of the scripts
7. Use “find the listener’s motives” to stay on track
8. Use our “in the field” well-organized folders to access information gathered on the trip that is saved in the memory of the Olympus Digital voice recorders
9. Save our information on the school server so that the voice recorders may return to the field for another group
10. The microphones will allow us to add “out of field” comments
11. Use Tool Factory software to write scripts, edit audio, insert photo/video, save work and ultimately upload to broadcast
12. Use our or your jpeg clips from Clip Art Station to change the link graphic each episode
13. Access to Clip Art Station will add professional sounds and music. No copyright hassle, Yeah!!
14. The microphones and headphones will make working easier in our crowded lab
15. The Tool Factory school license will allow all of us to work in our school lab at the same time and to work in our classrooms. It allows school laptops to be in the field working, while students are working on campus.
16. Upload to the Web Page Station and broadcast via the Friends website.
17. Internet access to Worksheet Station, Clip Art Station and Web Page Station allows us the flexibility to work in the field and at school.

Read the applications of the 3 runner-up finalists.