Portable Radio: Podcasting from the Portables

Jane Smith, Nathan Toft

In the summer of 2006 Nathan Toft downloaded ApplesiTunes software, curious about  the 99-cent songs hehad heard about.  This move introduced him to the exciting world of podcasting. He quickly got Jane hooked and the two teachers, who are both  joggers,loaded up their iPods with a vari ety of shows theydownloaded from the I nternet. This was the start oftheir pod-casting adventure.

We have been team teaching Junior  grades for  the past five years. We share a similar interest in technology and its application in the classroom. This year, we are each teaching a 5/6 class, and we plan our units together and combine our classes whenever possible. We both maintain class websites and blogs and collaborate on the  portableradio.ca website. We also act as “computer contact  teachers” in our school, assisting staff with all things technological. Being teachers as well as techies, we surfed the Net and found two podcasts in particular,  Room 208 and Radio WillowWeb, that we were eager to introduce to our students.


What is Portable Radio?

Portable  Radio  ( portableradio.edublogs.org) is  a  podcast made by our two  grade 5/6 classes at A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary School,  just  outside  Ottawa. We named  the show  Portable Radiobecause our classes are housed in portable classrooms and podcasts are played on portable MP3 players. Of course, podcasts like ours can also be listened to directly on any computer with Internet access.

Our classes produce a podcast about every two weeks. Each podcast is about 15 minutes long and showcases both what’s going on in class and what our students are interested in. It’s like having our own variety show that gives our students the opportunity to interview people, make radio dramas, read their stories, and provide audio highlights of our field trips. The shows are a


student using laptop and smiling

The Ontario Social Studies/History/Geography curriculum offers potential connections to Google Earth on nearly every page of the 212-page document.

three etfo members posing together

In October 2009, ETFO members Mali Bickley and Jim Carleton approached the  Simcoe  Teacher  Local  executive about becoming involved with