Thing 19 (Week 16) Podcasting - Make your own!


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Image by pgoeltz on Flickr
Image by pgoeltz on Flickr
|| || Image by pgoeltz on Flickr ||

Introduction

As you learned in " Thing 18," a podcast consists of an audio file (in mp3 format) published to the web and an RSS feed (an XML file) that allows listeners to subscribe to your podcast using an RSS reader or podcatcher.

Technologically, producing a podcast is actually pretty easy. There are lots of free podcast hosting sites on the web, and many services available to help you host your own podcast and create the appropriate RSS feed. There are "pod-safe" music sites, offering Creative Commons-licensed music to enhance your podcasts. There are scores of recording devices, software options, and production tools to help you create polished, professional-sounding audio.

(After you have survived this "Thing," and want to begin making "real" podcasts, with sound effects, multiple segments and background music, visit the Podcasting Resources page to learn about Audacity and other tools for your podcast).

Producing a quality podcast is not so easy. When you are ready to begin podcasting with your students, you will find the real work lies in planning, writing, editing, developing quality content, rehearsing and creating meaningful assessments. Just as blogging begins with reading, podcasting should begin with listening.

That being said, who can expect teachers to invest in all that planning and effort if they don't feel confident that they can actually produce the podcast?

So, let's make a podcast...



Discovery Exercise


Create a brief 1-2 minute podcast using Zamzar and Gcast. You DO NOT have to join or register for anything to complete this activity.
(Feel free to record and render your podcast using Audacity or GarageBand if you know how -- you can still upload to Gcast).

This "Thing" asks you to just "dip your toe" into podcasting by using a free file converter (Zamzar) and a free podcast host (GCast). The goal here is for you to produce a legitimate podcast with as few "moving parts" as possible.

¤ NOTE: If you want to record and produce "real" podcasts, you will use audio recording/editing software such as Audacity, plus a podcast hosting solution of your choice. This is just meant to be a practice experience.

‡ HELP Tip: Be sure to plug in your microphone or headset before you get started.





What should my podcast be about?
You can make your podcast about anything you want (as long as it is school appropriate). You can tell a joke, share a story or recipe, provide a summary of a current event, present a book review, explain a concept, ask some questions...

Here are the steps, followed by both printable and video help resources:
Step 1: Record a basic audio file (WAV format) using one of the two options below:

  1. Option 1: If you are on a Windows machine, go to: Start > (All) Programs > Accessories > Entertainment > Sound Recorder.
    There, you can easily record and save a WAV file, then follow the directions for Zamzar and GCast (Steps 2 & 3 below).
  2. Option 2: Anyone can go to Vocaroo to record a WAV file, then select "Download this message" to save it to your computer.
    Next, follow the directions for Zamzar and GCast (Steps 2 & 3 below).
  3. Option 3: Use your phone!! You can use a site called drop.io and record your podcast via your phone. Using a specific phone number, you can call in your podcast and it is automatically saved as an MP3 (no converting!). Then login to the drop (www.drop.io/barrow23things, find your file and download it so you can then upload it to Gcast (see below). Long distance charges may apply as it is not a local number. I will send out the phone number in an email as everyone will use the same "drop" as a call in number. - Keep in mind the audio quality may not be as good as with Options 1 - 3, but you can skip Step 2
    below.
If you would like to see how to download a file via Drop.io, you can view an image with instructions here.

(Once again, Mac users can use GarageBand for the whole thing).
Step 2: Convert your audio file to MP3 format using Zamzar.

(NOTE: If your school blocks YouTube, you can also use Zamzar to convert and download YouTube videos for use in the classroom. Here's how.)
Step 3 - Upload your MP3 file to GCast to create a podcast.

(NOTE: DO NOT create your own GCast account. We will use a shared course account to host all of our podcast episodes. I will email out the user name and password)
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HELP Resources (Printable): external image pdf.png Publish a Practice Podcast using Gcast.pdf
HELP Videos: (Note - the following videos were NOT created by me. They are the creation of Shelly Paul).

Below is the Gcast player showing recent class participants' podcasts! (Click Posts to see a listing of all episodes). Please take a few minutes to browse and listen -- you may get a few good ideas! You can also access everyone's podcasts on our Barrow 23Things page.

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Task

Blog Post Thing 19


Write a brief blog post (ONE SOLID PARAGRAPH) sharing a bit about your podcast-making experience, including at least one idea you have for producing a podcast to support classroom learning (or your professional role). Be sure to include "Thing 19" in the post title.

Stretch Task

Embed the Gcast podcast player into your wiki page or in a blog post.