Thursday, December 14, 2006

A test of economic lesson podcasting 

About a month ago I wrote about podcasting for education and mentioned there were ideas I wanted to try. I had hoped to do it this fall but got too busy. So as the semester winds to a close I came back to the idea.

William Allen, a professor at UCLA, was at one time president of the International Institute for Economic Research there; its funding came from Union Oil. One of its outreaches in distributing economics was a three-minute recording that ran on KBIG in Los Angeles from 1979 and eventually syndicated and lasted for fourteen years. Each would have Allen making a fundamental point about economics and applying it to current affairs. I recently was given by a friend eleven pamphlets that contained the essays Allen wrote and read. (Some of the essays were re-released as a book ten years ago, but I do not think it is in print.)

I think a three-minute point may be the best we can do with teaching students, and I have thought it might be good to have a set of these for a principles course. Doing them as stories and parables rather than dry chalk-and-talk or one of those multimedia CDs may be more effective, in my usual less-is-more philosophy. So I have read one of Allen's very early radio essays and put a little music behind it (a bit of Robert Fripp doodling on an early King Crimson album.) It took me less than two hours to do, and if it would have taken another two hours to write the script, well, you can see it might be not the most efficient use of time. But maybe it is.

Anyway, if you're interested, here are two mice.