Thursday, October 23, 2008

How about them podcasts...

There has been some discussion recently about if podcasts should replace lecture as a method of delivering course content to students (I guess that old Hatak is ahead of the curve in this concept...). Recently, teachers outside of AHS have asked for feedback on the podcasts that we have been using. Here is your chance to tell it to the world about what you think. Make sure that you are telling it the way you want other teachers to hear it.

You might include what you don't like, do like, would change, would leave the same, why you have used them, why you have not used them, issues with access, easy of access and anything else that you would like to say here.

Over the weekend, please return to this post and continue the conversation. You might see people from outside of AHS commenting or at least know they are reading what you have to say.


paigen said...

Personally, I really like the podcasts. It is really nice being able to read the book and take notes and then being able to watch the podcasts as reinforcement. It also helps that in class we no longer have to waste time lecturing on things we have learned already. We can mainly focus on the more difficult concepts but we don't have to worry about not learning all of the material. I think the podcasts are a great idea and it is really helping to cut back on my work load and I feel like I am learning more in class.

Paige N. and Natalie J.

sarahc said...

One of my complaints is that they go to fast. You have to keep pausing in order to write down all the notes.

I like how you can access it at any time of the day. They are easy to access, though with dial-up not so much. It is nice to be able to pause at our leisure, though it gets kind of annoying.

Some of us haven't used them very much because we have other activities that take up too much time, we don't have a large block of time to take notes. We have off hours, but if you don't have a headset, you can't look at them in the library.

Unknown said...

I really don't use the podcast because...I'm lazy. Ok that isn't the only reason. The real reason is my internet access from home is so slow I can't actually watch them. I also don't think they should replace lecture classes because there is no way to ask questions and see things multiple times. Obviously you could go back and watch again how to do it but one example is almost never enough and doesn't cover all bases. I don't like looking at a screen for so long either, it hurts my eyes. Basically, I think the podcasts are beneficial but no where near as beneficial as actual class time lecture.

kent said...

We enjoy the podcasts as another form of learning. The information on the PodCasts is very useful in understanding the material and studying for tests. The PodCasts are like you have a teacher in the palm of your hands. With the PodCasts, you are able to learn the material in class and then go home and view that same material to reinforce the concepts in your cranium.

Kent S. and Adam T.

Blair L. said...

The podcasts don't always cover what is on the test and they often go so fast that you have to pause every two seconds in order to get the material written down.
Another advantage as well as disadvantage is that it is online. It is nice because it can be accessed at home and can be watched over and over gain, but sometimes internet complications can make it challenging. Also in the podcasts it would be nice to have more examples. A challenge of a podcast is that you can't ask questions or clarify things that you don't understand so you have to watch the rest of the podcast and often go until the next day before you can ask the teacher to get clarification. Also, with podcasts you can't interact with other students and you don't have the social aspect of asking questions and discussing topics.

tim c said...

The podcasts are really helpful. They allow me to access the material in the same discussion that may have taken place in class that day. It also allows me to pause to take notes or go back and review any information that I am a little iffy on as many times as I need. It helps to better understand the difficult material and to go over any information that we did not get to cover in class.

Tim C. and Greg G.

jberry said...

I think that podcasts are extremely helpful. If you missed something in class or just need some clarification you can watch the podcast. If you really don't understand the subject you can rewind it and watch it again, that doesn't work very well with a teacher. I do not think that podcasts should replace lectures, though. You can't ask a podcast a question and it is easier to follow a teacher in class. Podcasts are just a good tool for extra help when studying at home. The podcasts are easily accessible. It would be helpful if I could access it through youtube or a website like that so I could watch it on my i-pod.

matt f. said...

I personally think that the podcasts are great tools. They definitely shouldnt replace the lectures though, or be required so that if you didnt watch them, you would not receive all of the information. I love the way that Hatak does it, where he uses normal lectures, and then basically records them/summarizes them in the podcasts. I usually use the podcasts when I'm studying for the tests, it's really convenient having the lecture at your house. I honestly believe that the podcasts have immensely helped me on the tests

AlisonB said...

Elizabeth, Jasmine, and Alison:

The podcasts are a useful tool for studying because they can be listened to repeatedly and can help increase understanding of the topic being taught. It is nice to be able to watch and direct the flow of info at our own paces!

Despite these benefits, we still prefer classroom lectures! We think that (overall) they are more entertaining/engaging than a computer screen, plus they provide opportunities to ask questions, clarifications, etc.

In a sense, comparing podcast learning to classroom instruction is a lot like comparing texting/IM-ing friends to actually talking to them. Texting and IM are useful tools to stay up-to-date with friends, but it is almost always preferable to talk to them in person.

We like the podcasts just the way they are; we can't think of anything we would change other than the level of interaction. Rather than being taught by one or the other, we would prefer to be taught primarily in class, with podcasts being used to reinforce the concepts learned in class.

KylieYoum said...

We feel like the podcasts are very helpful when we need some at-home review before tests, or some additional clarification on the topics of the day.

Plus, watching the problems carried out while being explained is really helpful at home when watching the podcasts. We basically feel that they are a great additional tool to add to our surplus of options for studying, and THE MORE THE BETTER when it comes to ways to get better understanding!

Plus, it's like our own handy dandy portable Hatak...what could be better!?

jordanc said...

Jordan, Emily, and Tessa:

We find that the podcasts are really helpful when it comes to understanding key concepts. It's helpful when the podcast works through examples of the criteria we are learning about at that time.

It is also helpful because you can pause the lecture to write down notes whenever you need to finish writing down a thought, this way you can never get behind.

We have never experienced any problems with access, which is really good.

Overall we feel that if you keep up with the podcasts, they can certainly help you to have a better understanding in the class.

endsleye said...

The podcasts have been really helpful in my A.P. chemistry journey. I really like how Mr. Hatak puts what the most important information from the chapter is. This helps me focus in on the important things of the chapter and make sure that I understand the contents. My only suggestion is to maybe slow them down a it . It is kind of hard to take notes with how fast they are moving.

I really appreciate Mr. Hatak making these podcasts because I know he is super busy and these look like they take some time!

endsleye said...

My previous post is from

Endsley, Rachel, Katie, and Megan

Unknown said...

I really like the podcasts. I just sit down and take notes. It's really nice that you can stop the podcast, so I can catch up. Also, it is much better than a powerpoint because you can hear the explanations in more detail. The examples are really helpful to see. The book is a little hard to understand and in the podcast its broken up and explained really well. Also, I like that they're accessible anywhere. You can even download them onto your iPod. Yeah!

maddyg said...

The podcasts...

they're great supplements to your notes. It's nice to be able to try to read the section on your own and then watch the podcast for more understanding whenever you want, without having to wait and see if it will be covered in class.

However, it is hard to find time to watch them. Maybe something they could use is big old titles for the different segments of the casts so it is easier to skip through the things you know.

Also, podcasts should never replace teachers because watching problems being solved, while helpful, is not the only process essential to learning. Sometimes small little questions about small little details that can be asked and answered instantly are the things that really make concepts stick. You can't talk to the podcasts. Or at least the podcasts can't hear you.

Kjerstinl said...

Zach said:

I have not used the podcasts very much. I think they are useful but, I cannot ask the computer questions.(and have it answer them. I guess i could save them for the class period, but then i can't do all the homework.

Kjerstin said:

I really like the podcasts. I find them helpful for when I'm at home and I have completely forgotten what went on in class that day. I must say that I am not a details person, so it also helps emphasize the smaller points. Altogether then, I can remember the smaller points with a longer explanation. I also enjoy how there are examples of problems that Mr. Hatak does.They help show what I need to for a certain problem so I can do the same form in later problems.

Annika_EP said...

We find the podcasts extremely helpful! The best part about them would probably be the problem examples. We usually tend to understand the concepts but get confused when it comes to actual practice. When they are worked out for you, step by step, and actually listening to Hatak giving instructions and explaining, it is a lot easier to understand. A lot of times, in power points, you don't understand why a certain point is worked one way. The why is the most helpful part of a podcast.

And also being able to watch them on an iPod, it is really convenient and easy to access. The biggest problem is simply finding time to actually watch them. Most of the time, this happens the night before a test!

We like them a lot more than the book, because it is a lot easier to understand what Hatak is saying, than the formal language of a textbook.

alexd said...

I also like the podcasts, they are a great supplement to the book and could serve as a lecture for an absent student. They could be recorded copies of the lecture with the power point. Mr. Hatak is great at this. It is a lecture of the future. for info about adavis go to

Andrewg said...

Andrew and Brett agree:

The podcasts are a great help in the learning process. After watching the podcast, and then coming to class, it makes the material click because you have already heard it once. It also is helpful to look back on prior to taking a test. It refreshes your memory on the important things of the chapter. Brett said "I appreciate them because they are easy to access, and are a valuable studying source". Because the podcasts can be added to an iPod, they can be viewed anywhere and anytime.

Josh H said...

I really like the podcasts. They do not replace actual teaching, but it is easy to receive help with concepts that I don't quite understand. Also, I can just skim the podcasts to study for tests.

Karl Fisch said...

@sarahc - FYI, there are USB headsets available for checkout in the library - just go up to the desk. And, of course, your iPod or other mp3 player headphones will work as well.

aleea said...

As many have said, the podcasts have been so helpful in this class. Not only do they help us review the concepts we are learning, they help us narrow down what is really important to understand in order for us to succeed. I use the podcasts to review for tests and quizzes to make sure that I really understand everything. It's really nice that we can pause them as we go along, allowing us to work out example problems and then watch how Mr. Hatak does them. In a way, the podcasts are almost like a lecture away from school. I still prefer in-class lectures, but podcasts are great none the less. By watching the podcasts, we can cover more new material in class with Mr. Hatak there to help us instead of reviewing things we should already know. This prevents us from having to teach completely new concepts to ourselves on our own, which is stressful and hard. Although they usually run a little long, they are more than worth it. I’d rather watch a long podcast and understand all the material than watch a short one and miss out on something. With the combination of podcasts and in-class lectures, this class is teaching us a lot of material in a beneficial way that sticks with us.

Kathryn J said...

I'm a teacher considering the use of podcasts so I am very interested in this feedback from the students. One of my biggest concerns is whether the students will have trouble accessing the podcasts, I noticed that some of you had problems.

What provisions are there for students who may not have a computer or internet access at home? Is there enough library time to view the podcasts? Have you considered letting the students borrow players from the library?

It sounds like many of you found it easy and very helpful to have the podcasts available. I especially liked Kyelieyoum's comment that it was like having a "handy dandy portable Hatak". I also noted that some wanted to ask questions right away.

It sounds like overall, the experience with podcasts has been very positive. I look forward to reading more about it.

krump said...

kathryn j--As a student taking a few AP classes, I've realized the challenge of these courses is mostly due to the fact that there simply isn't enough class time. Personal learning is taken to a whole new level as we're forced to do more on the outside, finding a way to learn the material for ourselves instead of for a homework grade. This is why I'm extremely glad to have the podcasts-confusion at home can be cleared right away instead of pushed until "later."

However, on my computer at home, I've noticed that Windows Vista has trouble downloading the podcasts. It works eventually, but just takes about 20 minutes to load each one. Personally, the podcasts have been one of the major reinforcements of the material and whether I wait for them to load, find time in the library, or run to a friend's house, I usually make it a priority to get the podcasts.

Also, the portablility and duplicity is a plus! In class it always seems like there aren't enough Hataks to answer
everyone's questions and the podcasts help solve this problem; we can each bring Hatak with us wherever we go.

Kathryn J said...

Maria K. - Thanks for the additional info. I appreciate your perspective and also understand the lack of time in AP classes.

I am intrigued because this is the first time I've seen podcasts used instead of classroom instruction rather than as a means of reviewing classroom instruction.

Karl Fisch said...

@kathryn j - to answer some of your other questions:

1. Most of our students have ample access at home.

2. We have a variable schedule, so these students typically have 4-6 unscheduled hours a week where they could access the podcasts at school, plus before and after school time. They could either watch them at school or copy them to a flash drive and take home if they have dialup.

3. Brian has also made DVD's that they can take home and play in a regular DVD player if they don't have a computer they can use (very, very rare for our students, but we wanted to be sure).

Kathryn J said...

@karl fisch - Thanks for the additional info! That certainly seems like plenty of options.

I look forward to hearing more including how the change has affected Mr. Hatak's planning and instruction. What specifically is he able to do with the extra class time? What will be the biggest benefit?