Before school starts up again, and designed to get you involved with new skills for the new year, TEC Professional Development Center in Dedham is offering a course for K12 teachers to get them (you) up to speed with “21st century skills, Web 2.0 tools, digital stories, webquests, podcasts, blogs and wikis”. All of these skills involve making effective use of the Internet with computers in and beyond your classroom. Students can benefit while they are with you and continue to benefit when they go home or go to study in the local library.

For more information, contact: TEC Professional Development, PO Box 186, Dedham, MA 02027

More info may also be available through the TEC Web site.

One of the activities included is, as mentioned, podcasting. Fundamentally, it involves recording some audio into a format like the open format OGG or other computer format like MP3 and putting the file onto a Web site or blog where other people can get it. Aside from the details (which the course is going to teach), it sounds pretty obvious. However, the US Patent Office has recently granted a patent for podcasting to a company called VoloMedia.

Let’s hope the impact of this patent is minimized, especially for educational purposes. Giving audio and, more recently, video to students through the Internet is certainly a powerful way to engage your students in a style that is apt to attract their attention.