Learning: Ouch, That Hurt

I have been dying to write this post this Saturday night! You will never believe what I learned this weekend…It is kind of a long story, but stick with me. I promise to keep you entertained and there’s a good lesson to be learned!

Some backstory:

Last week, my students and I read Aliens Are Coming, the true story of the 1938 War of the Worlds radio broadcast that duped over a million Americans into thinking Martians were attacking and it was the end of the world. As a culminating project, we wrote radio broadcasts either reporting on the events of the hoax or original broadcasts that also may have duped listeners in 1938. We recorded these broadcasts using the Voice Memos app on my iPhone so they would be more authentic with the intention of sharing them with our librarian (who recommended the book to me,) our tech coordinator, principal, and parents. I had the idea of posting them to the class blog I post to to keep parents in the loop with what we’re doing in class by posting pictures and recaps of what we’ve done on a daily/weekly basis.

Easy enough, right?

WRONG!

I settled in Friday night with an episode of Downton Abbey playing on Netflix, laptop on lap, iPhone snuggled next to me plugged into said laptop, ready to sync my Voice Memo Broadcasts to my iTunes and then upload them to my blog. As I perused Blogger.com for a way to upload the audio files, I naively tried to insert them using the video media button on my toolbar.

Yeah, that didn’t work.

(Of course it didn’t; they weren’t videos! But, I was desperately looking and was the only thing I could think of!)
Suffice it to say, audio wasn’t going anywhere on my blogger.com class blog. Had to find another option.

So, I turned to my trusty friend Google and found a video on YouTube that explained how to convert m4a files to mp3 using Adobe Media Converter, then post them using a plugin on WordPress.

Ooh! I thought, I have my personal blog on WordPress. Perhaps I can try there and see if this works and then migrate my blog and voila…audio files will appear.

Not.

It wasn’t until 8 or 9 minutes into this video that I realized the gentleman (who had created a very wonderful tutorial) was using the WordPress.ORG software, which included plugins. The new WordPress.COM does not.

So, yeah, that didn’t work either.

Next stop was realizing that I indeed had to migrate my blog over to WordPress if I wanted to host audio in any way. I used the Help tools to figure out how to do this and surprisingly, found it very easy to do so. Hooray, one thing had worked so far. My class blog was successfully migrated to WordPress.

So, I looked to see how you could host audio files on WordPress. The first option (which required no purchase of a space upgrade) prompted me to upload the files onto a file hosting web site and then code HTML to insert an audio player into my blog post.

Rewind. File hosting site. HTML. Huh?

Fast forward 2 hours, 18 tabs open across my Google Chrome browser, and 8 file hosting/sharing sites later: laptop still on lap, me banging my iPhone (ever so gently, yet with much frustration) on my bedside table, lovingly talking to my computer trying to coax it to cooperate with me and still no audio up on the blog.

I was seriously in PAIN. The cognitive dissonance was killing me. I had no idea what I was doing, but I wasn’t giving up and I was learning as I went. I was so tempted to throw something up on Twitter or Facebook or here on the Hub and get an answer in what I’m sure would have been no time, but I was too proud to do that. I had to figure this out for myself.

After several more attempts, I had finally mastered the art of the upload, copy URL, code to HTML, and post. The audio player showed up just fine in the body of my blog post, but I was met with the dreaded word….buffering. Over…and over…and over again. Kiwi6 didn’t work. Neither did MediaFire. Neither did every.single.other. file hosting site known to my 5 or 6 variously worded Google searches.

[Insert frustrated scream here]

At this point, I had been working on this for over 3 hours. I was mentally burnt out and was ready to chuck my phone and computer across the room, so I figured it was time to let it go and try again the next day. I was dreading it, but I did it anyway. On Saturday afternoon, I settled in again, ready to tackle this one more time.

After trying all of the file hosting sites again to no avail, I continued to read the suggestions for hosting audio on the blog. It seemed the only other option was to buy the space upgrade that would allow me to upload m4a files to my Media Library and then easily add them to my posts. Without the space upgrade only certain types of files (like picture files) can be added.

I cringed a bit but took out the credit card, purchased the space upgrade, and as if paying the 20$ had magically smoothed everything over, was able to quickly and successful upload my m4a files and add them to my post with ease.

However, I vowed that if I was going to spend this money on a space upgrade, it would not be for one project. Enter the start of a new initiative in 4th grade: weekly voice recorded recaps of our highlights in the classroom each week as well as a special radio broadcast just for Catholic Schools Week this week in which my students will get to detail their favorite ways we demonstrate faith, academics, and service in our school. I’m sure there will be more to come. I’m going to get my money’s worth of audio on this blog!

So, after several hours of researching, watching videos, reading blogs and forums, and excruciating (I mean it) trial and error, I learned how to do something completely on my own. I was really, really proud of myself and felt a very authentic sense of accomplishment. I was utterly astonished at my unfailing dedication to the task and my refusal to give up on it.

And then I realized again (as is happening so often these days now that I’m a PLPeep) that I am changing as a learner. I used the resources available to me on the Web, I wasn’t afraid to fail, and when I did (over and over and over and over again) I did not stop trying. I got frustrated; I got angry; I wished several times that Apple had created a little button on Voice Memos that says “Post to Blog.” But, I did not stop trying. Thanks to this community, I am making great strides, and my students (and their parents) are benefiting from it. I am learning that if you keep going, keep searching, keep trying, keep learning, there is success.

Moral of the story: Learning is painful, but is so worth it.

I went a little bit further ’round that previously unseen bend this weekend. And I am a better learner and person and teacher for it.

Looking forward to more road ahead.

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2 thoughts on “Learning: Ouch, That Hurt

  1. Enjoyed your post. The beauty of forming a good PLN (Personal Learning & Sharing Network) on Twitter is that if you are having a problem with tech or need ideas for teaching something you can post a tweet and usually get very helpful responses. Twitter for educators is an outstanding community of caring, sharing educators. A lot of my followers ask me techie questions and to get answers I retweet their question and usually in a matter of minutes my great techie Twitter friends come to the rescue.

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