Before I begin, I feel the need to apologize for the title to this blog. I have no other excuse other than I couldn't come up with anything really creative tonight.
The Beginning (or at least somewhere in the middle)
Where to begin with podcasting? Probably one of the most familiar and widely used web 2.0 tools out there. I’ve had some experience with creating podcasts in the past few years, but I would hardly consider myself an expert on the subject. Primarily I’ve tinkered around with creating a podcast through a program called Garage Band that can be found on Mac computers (yup, another Mac plug from me). If you haven’t had the opportunity to play with Garage Band, get your hands on a Mac and have a blast. It is a fun application that cannot only help you create podcasts, but entire musical scores as well. It is extremely easy to use and once you start, you’ll find time vanishing before your very eyes (or finger tips).
Enough about Mac’s. To try something different with podcasting, I thought I’d try out audacity. I found the simplicity of audacity as the first major benefit to the application. For those will little or no experience, Audacity was very non-threatening and simple to use. All you really have to do is click the record button and start your podcast broadcast! However, I became bored with it quickly so I returned to Garage Band where there was more “stuff” to play with!
“Podcasting in Plain English” offers some great introductory information to the rookies of podcasting. The major points I took away watching the video were as follows.
• Time does not matter with podcasting. When you download a podcast (or subscribe to one) you can then listen to it whenever you want, wherever you want. It is at your disposal on your demand.
• Podcasting is easy to do (to both post and listen). All you need is a computer, microphone, video camera (optional), and a computer that is networked to the Internet.
• There are all types of topics for all types of people available through podcasts
• You can subscribe to podcasts so you automatically receive new shows from the publisher.
• Listen to podcasts on computers and mp3 players.
• You can access podcasts anywhere once you’ve downloaded them!
The apple education website offers some great info on podcasting and how it can be used in education. It also speaks to the opportunity to spark student interest by enabling them to tap into their creativity digitally. They also offer an excellent video series on podcasting in education. I found these very useful as they gave a much more thorough description of podcasting that you would find in “Podcasting in Plain English”. The first video is an introduction to podcasting, the second is “Meeting Standards” which addresses how podcasting is used in education to meet curriculum goals with specific examples from an educator from Mayberry Middle School. The final episode is from an administrator’s standpoint of podcasting. Now, obviously there is a strong Mac bias in these videos and they talk specifically about Garage Band and how to “fiddle” with a podcast. The videos are a little on the long side, but they are very informational. I would not necessarily recommend these videos for the first time podcaster, especially if you are not using a Mac.
Another helpful site is PoducateMe.com. This site offers a guide to help educate readers on the benefits of podcasting in the class and the how to’s of podcasting. This site is also very thorough and offers pages and pages of information of how to make and publish podcasts. I would say that there is too much detail here for the average podcaster, but it definitely gives you the opportunity to read more if you wish to.
Guides and Tutorials.com (ttp://www.guidesandtutorials.com/podcasting-in-education.html) offers many examples of how podcasting has been used and is being used in K-12 schools in America. There are many good examples that provide ideas for those new and experienced in podcasting.
Play Time for Darryl & Kids!
As I’ve mentioned above, I have had the opportunity to play with podcasting before and when I explore different tools to publish podcasts, I always seem to return to my application of choice, Garage Band. What I really love about Garage Band is that there are so many pre-recorded sounds available to add to your podcast. Now, there is a drawback to having so many tools at your disposal, TIME! Time very quickly passes when you’re playing with different sound effects that you can add throughout your podcast. Oh well, it’s not like I’ve wasted time on less productive things in the past! So I played. I’ve inserted various special effects into my podcast so hopefully you can pick up on them as you have a listen (I know, you’ll probably be hysterically laughing too loudly to hear them the first 5 times through).
I did run out of time to add pictures to my podcast so they would change as my podcast played. This is on my things to do for the future. I had the pictures picked out but again; time wasn’t on my side (it wasn’t on the turkey’s side this weekend either).
Challenges / pains in the rear
The first challenge to consider when using garage band is how you are going to save your podcast and export it. It took a little refreshing (since I hadn’t done it since last school year) but I remembered that I must convert it to an mp3 file. So, first I had to export my podcast to itunes, then in itunes I had to convert the file to an mp3 from an m4…something or other (as you can see I don’t get too hung up on names…visual recognition is big for me). This is when the pain in the rear began.
Pain in the rear!
I’m not sure if I’ve exhausted all my efforts yet or not but far as I could tell, I could not directly upload my podcast onto my blog in blogspot. So, after watching a quick 2 min. tutorial (can’t say I’m a big fan of these as I usually find more than 1/2 of the info a waste of my time) I did come to the conclusion that I had to first upload my podcast to an online file storage site. I was very selective in what I chose (the first one listed), box.net. So, I had to create an account and then upload my mp3. When uploaded, it provided me with an address to include in my blog so I could link to my podcast. Unfortunately there was not an icon put into my blog. Instead, my title to my blog became the link to my podcast via box.net. Once you click on this, you had the choice to download or listen to my podcast. I’m not overly pleased with how this worked but I’ll have to live with it for now. I’m sure there must be a better way to access my podcast through my blog but the literature on blogspot doesn’t support this. Hmmm….so I’m left scratching my head (once again….thankfully not as a result of lice).
Pain in the read aside, I found this a very valuable exercise. I can definitely see the learning possibilities using a blog (another post as this one has already gone on too long).