TOWN OF ADDISON - The next generation of global communication is
already in the day-to-day curriculum of Allen-ton Elementaryís
The schoolís fourth- and fifth-grade classes have spent the
year in production on the "Allenton Podcast News," a loose
bi-weekly podcasting series where youngsters develop and record
content with the aid of teachers Patricia Garcia and Marilyn
Garcia and Schmitt attended a podcasting class last May at CESA
6, a school in Oshkosh, and then spent the summer gathering
gadgetry, software and ideas for the project.
The result was APN: Allen-ton Podcast Network, available at
Allenton Elementary Schoolís home page, www.slinger.k12.wi.us/schools/allenton/.
"In todayís world, paper and pencil are fine, but their
jobs and what they do in the future is all going to center around
digital ways of expressing themselves," Garcia said.
On Friday, two students interviewed Stephanie Hof-mann and Paul
Backhaus, project technicians for the Wash-ington County Planning
and Parks Departmentís Land & Water Conservation division. The
two were at the school to honor students whose artwork was
recognized in a national contest.
The students utilize a single-microphone setup and conversations
are logged with basic - and free - software. The single mic is not
ideal, Garcia said, but the sound quality is better than she
expected when the project started last fall.
Students at first recorded scripts they had prepared with their
teachers, mostly discussing what they were doing in class. Schmitt
and Garcia incorporated the podcasts into their language arts
curriculum and students recorded "Readerís Theaters"
related to their reading assignments.
Cliff Wood, one of the fourth-grade interviewers, said his
favorite part of the project is researching into his own interests.
He surprised Hofmann Friday with a question about the Ice Age Trail
- outside her typical realm of expertise.
"I just think of questions that I would want to know
about," Wood said. "I like interviewing people. Itís
interesting to hear what they know about their job, and that they
The project has gone so well, Garcia said the school is looking
at adding a video casting component next year.
"So now Iím looking for a camera and I need a new
setup," she said. "I need to buy a box that more than one
microphone can plug into."
Garcia said she doesnít know of any other districts doing a
similar project with such young kids. One problem: Too many kids
want to get involved.
"They all want to do it. Thatís part of the problem.
Everybody wants to do it. Now weíve moved on to the other
classrooms, having them come in. Then mine are disappointed because
they want to do it again!"
Everything she is using for the podcasts was free, including the
software. Sheís searching for a similar free software for video
"Iím kind of becoming an expert through my failures,"
she said. "Playing with it, and then it works and you go ĎO.'"