Blog, Education, Podcasts

Podcast: Owls and Ornithology with Emma

I made this as part of my graduate course in adult education, around the concepts of how we construct our own learning by creating artifacts and sharing them. I’ll continue to publish bits like these as they come up.

This is a podcast (an audio recording) I created with my ten year old daughter Emma about her fascination with owls, how she got interested in them, and what she’s learned about them (the image you see above is a quick sketch of Emma’s “logo” owl drawing). She’a a very bright girl (if I do say so myself), and as my wife and I have taken charge of our kids’ education through homeschooling, it has been a joy to help our kids find topics they’re interested in, and encourage them to explore. We try to let our kids, the learners. lead the way with what they want to learn, rather than focusing on “depositing” knowledge into them from a set curriculum. We feel like we have a lot in common with the “hackschooling” approach described by 13 year old Logan LaPlante in his popular TEDx talk (though we’re nowhere near as cool as his parents seem to be :-).

I made this podcast using the SoundCloud app on my phone, but there are lots of other tools and services that make recording and publishing a podcast easy (like Chirbit or Audioboo). We recorded the interview in my car (which can make a great impromptu sound booth), and it automatically uploaded to the SoundCloud service. From there, it was simple to grab the embed code and insert it into this page.

I can see us using a podcasts a lot more as we explore different ways of learning with our kids. There’s something easy and natural about just having a conversation about a topic, and it’s easy to hear the excitement and enthusiasm in their voices as you talk about things they have learned. Web and device based tools make it easy to make a podcast, and I’ll likely be asking our kids to make more podcasts about things they’re learning. Creating podcast as a digital artifact of learning is a a great way to construct and share knowledge.

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2 thoughts on “Podcast: Owls and Ornithology with Emma

  1. Very cool! I’m looking forward to your next installment.

    Anyone who thinks birds are “bird brains” or don’t have emotions hasn’t had much interaction with them. We used to have a pet cockatiel. “Chief Justice Bird” was a smart cookie and loved attention, especially being scratched around her head. When we would get home after school and work, having “ignored” her all day, she would give us the cold shoulder. She would go to the far side of the cage and then *obviously* look the other way. If we approached the cage, she would tilt her head even farther away. After a few minutes of the cold shoulder, she would then come back to the front of the cage and squawk and whistle for attention.

    I can only imagine how much smarter an owl would be.

  2. Some birds are definitely smart. I’ve become fascinated with corvids (crows and ravens), and their behavior. Lots of good books on the topic (I just got one from Powell’s called Mind of the Raven, which I haven’t actually started yet). One thing that’s interesting about corvids is their encephalization – the fact that their brains and heads are much larger than they need to be, granting them extra cognitive capacity.

    Some birds are actually pretty dumb, though. As the owner of several chickens, I can say that there’s definitely a spectrum of bird intelligence. :-)

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