Fast forward! Winning a trophy for the first time became a reality last evening at my retirement celebration. How surprised and humbled I was when Robert Karl, from the School District of Philadelphia’s Office of Educational Technology, presented me with a beautiful "Excellence in Podcasting" trophy in recognition of using this form of digital publication and communication with students. Engaging in this work has been a joy for me. Robert Karl, fondly know as the “podfather,” spearheaded this initiative and has kept it going with his expertise and encouragement. Thank you, Robert, for guiding me in this digital direction to celebrate the voices, interests and talents of my students.
I am grateful that the School District’s Office of Educational Technology continues to offer training and support for using this tool. Podcasting provides students with an opportunity to not only develop literacy skills of reading, writing speaking and listening, but also to enhance their technology skills as they put the pieces together. Researching topics, writing scripts, practicing narration, and selecting pictures and music require decision-making skills, which prepare them for responsible digital citizenship. With the approval of principals (Michele Hayes-Flores and Kathleen McCladdie) and the enthusiasm of students and staff, Overbrook Elementary School produced around 100 episodes posted on the School District of Philadelphia’s Server since 2006.
For the next two weeks, I will proudly display my trophy in the computer lab so students will know they are the reason for this accomplishment. On June 24th my beautiful trophy will find a place of honor in my home to remind me that my teaching life has been blessed with many opportunities, wonderful colleagues, ongoing learning experiences, and now cherished memories. Then I will begin to “pay it forward” as new avenues and new opportunities unfold in the life of a retiree.