Podcasting is a fantastic tool for educators and learners. It provides opportunities for teaching and learning using different ways of learning to what traditionally is used. This provide scope for learners to engage in learning a range of places and times, not just in the classroom.
What is Podcasting?
Podcasting was initially an audio file which was shared through the internet. Now technology advancements have meant other rich media including images and videos can also be included.
There are many different sites for you to find podcasts on a wide range of subjects including language, history, science, education, radio shows, tv shows, technology, commentary etc. You can subscribe to podcast series you enjoy through iTunes etc, and they are automatically downloaded into your iTunes library when new ones are added by the creator. Podcasts can be downloaded to your computer, then put onto your iPod or MP3 player and listened to or watched when you wish.
Or you can create your own podcast, by pressing the record button on your computer’s sound program ( Audacity – PC or Garageband – Mac), or iPod or MP3 player or other digital recording device, create an MP3 (audio only) or Mpeg4 (audio and images), send the file via email or direct upload to their iPod or MP3 player, to share with specific people, or to the internet to share with the world.
How to use podcasting in your classroom
Podcasts can be used in many many ways, here are just a few.
- direct recordings of a lesson. Just press record at the start of the lesson, and students will have your notes to go over as they need it. Great for exam revision or students who are not present for the lesson.
- using podcasts to generate discussion topics. Find a relevant podcast, and share with your students. Discuss issues etc.
- Exam revision/key concepts – use simple slides and voice recording to highlight key points students need to revise for exams etc. They can then listen anytime any place – how much cooler to be listening to your iPod on the bus than reading a textbook or school notes.
- Specific skills – whether threading a sewing machine or using a lathe, it is very handy to have a visual aid to assist when students are required to complete a task independently. I have seen some very interesting podcasts used in TAFE to assist students in the building trade areas covering a range of skills and OHS issues
- Presentations – instead of writing responses they can be spoken and submitted, this can be particularly useful for students who have difficulties with the written word, thus catering for students individual differences.
- In language classes students can listen to authentic sounding linguistics of the languages they are studying.
- Classroom radio – issues facing the students are discussed and uploaded to share with other students, great for preparing debates or analysing issues.
- Excursion reflections – as podcasts can be made on many portable devices including mobile phones and iPods/MP3 players real time reflections of an excursion can be made as they are happening.
There are of course many more potential uses.
The nitty gritty
Creating your podcast – you can use a range of tools, the simplest (unless you have a cool mobile phone or voice recorder) is to use your computer to record it, as you can edit it – I usually get it quite shorter taking out all of my ums and ahhs. Creating a podcast was once to domain of Mac users, who were able to seamlessly create and upload their podcast to iPod. It did not take that long for the PC users to catch up and it is just as easy now on either platform. I have created vodcasts (video) and podcasts on my PC, and now am exploring using the Mac.
On a PC you can use Audacity – an opensource audio editing software. Record your audio, to add images I have added my audio track to either Moviemaker or Photostory3. Save your file as an MP3 (audio only) or if you used moviemaker the smaller file size movie file, there are a range of options with differing results, best thing is to try what works best for you.
On a Mac you would use Garageband – File -> New -> new podcast. This gives you a series of options. The top track is for images, then you have different audio tracks and a track to add accompanying music. You then “Share” and can add it straight to your iTunes library, or save it to your computer as the appropriate file type as with the PC version, ready to share with the world via the internet.
Getting your podcast onto the internet.
You can set up an account with a site like Podomatic which is a repositry for you to upload your podcast files. Once you have uploaded your file, you will be able to share the URL (web address) with people you want to share your podcast with. You are also able to have your podcast added to the iTunes Podcast list, through your podomatic account.
You can upload your podcasts to your blog
You can also share your podcasts through places like PodcastAlley, where you add your podcast’s URL to their site, and others can listen/watch your podcasts.
– Your blog, a useful place to post your podcasts
– Podomatic, allows you to set up a space to upload your podcasts
– Podcastalley, showcases a range of podcasts
– iTunes, huge range of podcasts allowing you to subscribe to them, importing them straight into your iTunes library
I hope this rambling has made some of the potential of podcasting more understandable for new users. I have added some podcasts created in a few minutes using both Audacity and Garageband, so whether you are PC or Mac you can have fun either way 🙂