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Enhancing Teacher Excellence: Connecting Science Standards to our National and State Parks through Podcasting

Coronado National Memorial

National Park News

 
For those of us over a certain age, many of the new technologies can be a little intimidating.  But for those under the age of twenty, technology is simply a part of life. With this in mind, Coronado National Memorial and Chiricahua National Monument partnered with Cochise County Superintendent’s Office, The Statewide Instructional Technology Project, University of Arizona, and Kartchner Caverns State Park to host workshops introducing teachers to podcasting.

The workshop was conducted in two parts.  Part one was an experiential learning activity in one of the three parks, designed so teachers could gather content information to support grade-specific Arizona State Science Standards.  Part two of the workshop was held at a high school computer lab where participants created a sample podcast.

Teachers learned the nuts-and-bolts of podcasting, where to post their podcasts, copyright issues, best-practices strategies, and how to implement podcasting with their students.  Participants received a guide to assist them in developing classroom lesson plans and student hand-outs along with links, resources, and ideas for routinely integrating podcasting into classroom curriculum.

Each participating teacher will work with a partner teacher to share the skills and knowledge developed through these workshops.  Both teachers will then schedule a special visit to the parks to provide students the opportunity to learn about the parks and then create their own podcast which could be posted to the web or used by visitors to the parks for audio tours.

Participants were excited about the experience.  The workshops “got me outside and opened the door to unfamiliar technology.”  “I loved my trip through the caverns.”  “It was great to actually work on a podcast, use the technology and share ideas.”  Teacher response was so enthusiastic, additional workshops will be scheduled next year.



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