Dan Myer points to this GREAT post from Kathy Sierra on the theme of mediocre to kick-ass. Can I express my deep regret that I did not discover Ms. Sierra until she quit blogging after some very public cyber-harrassment and threats?
Here is my reflection on this…
One thing I’ve noticed about podcasting is that you can spend enormous amounts of time on making them perfect, but sometimes you just need to do the project. Last year, I did a weekly podcast with my class. It was not fancy, and I did really minimal editing (and no music, etc.) This made it possible to do weekly (I recorded it over lunch, and edited in 20 minutes after lunch while my students did SSR). They were not polished, but they got done.
On other projects, I try to take more time and effort adding music tracks, fixing sound levels, doing fades, etc. That shows craftsmanship, and makes me try harder, and forces me to improve my skills.
Those are two schools of thought about doing podcasts. I think that it works best to have a routine podcast that is not fancy, but is listenable, because if you try to make every podcast a work of art, you might not get anything done. But, if you don’t occasionally take time to make something better, you won’t get the skills needed to make something really great. As you use the higher level skills, they will become second nature, and even routine projects will improve.
An example of this can be seen with Dan’s stacked bar lesson, where he digressed briefly from paper and pencil and did some data entry on a GoogleDocs spreadsheet. Nothing came of it in that lesson, but that may be the first step in adding GoogleDocs to a subsequent lesson. Try something new, it can’t hurt. I have to admit, I still love seeing the bright messy colors of the hand-done graphs. Really it’s all good.