Friday, March 10, 2017

Anchor Adds New Features for Simple Podcasting

Anchor is a simple and free platform for creating short podcasts. I started using it in December to publish occasional podcasts. A couple of things initially drew me to Anchor. First, recording is simple of matter of just holding down the record button on your phone then releasing it when you're done talking. Second, when I started using Anchor you could only have two minutes of recorded audio in each podcast that you publish. That recently changed when Anchor introduced some new features.

The latest update to the Anchor platform moves it closer to full-fledged podcast network. The Anchor apps now let you upload external audio clips to include in your podcast. Those clips could be used as bumper music or those clips could be sound bites that you want to discuss. Speaking of discussion, Anchor now has a "call-in" feature that lets you include responses from listeners as part of your podcast.

Anchor has made a huge change to the way that you can share your recordings. On the new version of Anchor you can have your spoken words automatically transcribed and displayed in a video suitable for sharing on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. See an example embedded below.

Applications for Education
As I wrote back in December, Anchor's lack of comment moderation prevents me from recommending it for classroom use. That said, it could be a good platform for teachers to use to quickly create a professional development podcast.

Trace the Evolution of Phones - A Search Challenge for Students

A couple of days ago Alexander Graham Bell's drawing for his telephone patents was the featured document in the Today's Document feed from the National Archives. Take a look at that drawing and you might start wondering, like I did, about how many changes and improvements to that design have been made since 1876. The patent search option in Google Scholar can be used to help us find out how many subsequent, related patents have been filed since Bell's 1876 patent. In the following video I demonstrate how your students can use Google Scholar to trace product development through patent research.

Applications for Education
Using the patent search function in Google Scholar can be a good way for students to attempt to trace product developments over time. In this case the challenge for students would be to find the major, subsequent innovations in telephone technology. Of course, the concept can be applied to almost any product that has been patented at some point in time. Read more about the strategy and application here.

More Than 13,000 People Get Their Ed Tech Tips This Way

A few years ago I realized that while many people like to get ed tech news and tips every day, there are just as many people who would prefer to get to get that information at a slower pace. That's why I created the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. Once per week I share via email my favorite tip of the week and a short list of links to the week's most popular posts from

More than 13,000 people are now subscribed to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter. Subscribe to the Practical Ed Tech Newsletter today and you'll receive the first tip this coming Sunday evening or Monday morning (depending upon your timezone).

There is also a Practical Ed Tech Facebook page that you can follow for slightly more frequent updates including posts from other authors.