A podcast is a digital audio, video or text file made available on the internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player. It is typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.
Podcast consumption and creation can fulfill two of your needs as an educator. Consuming podcasts is a great way to grow personally and professionally. Podcasts allow you to consume valuable content anytime and anywhere. You can use your morning commute to improve yourself and learn something new rather than settling for morning zoo radio.
Podcasts are available on just about any topic you can imagine. If your passion is duct tape wallets or learning more about technology integration strategies, there is a podcast (or two) for you.
I also encourage all educators to create their own podcasts. You are the expert in your field and its time to realize the value and power of your own voice. Why not share your knowledge with the world?
Having your students create their own podcasts is an excellent strategy that I recommend. Of course, you need to be comfortable with the technology and the process first. But students are always more engaged if you ask them to show what they know in a different way than a traditional paper and pencil test. And grading the podcast will be a nice change of pace for you as well.
Where can you learn more?
I entered the podcasting arena last year at the suggestion of my wife. She encouraged me to share my passion for education technology and technology integration with the world. Enter the “House of #EdTech” podcasts where I explore how technology is changing the way teachers teach and the impact that technology is having in education. I interview teachers, leaders, and creative people like you and have them share their stories.
My podcast is released bi-weekly and is available in iTunes, Stitcher and number of other outlets.
On Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m., Stacey Lindes (West Windsor-Plainsboro), AJ Bianco (Ramapo Indian Hills), and I moderate a conversation that revolves around podcasting for teachers, students, and education in general. The chat runs for 30 minutes and consists of two questions.
#PodcastPD also runs live on blab.im. Blab is a website that allows users to have live video chats with up to four people and also have participants in a text-based chat environment. As hosts we can bring other people into the live conversation, just like a call-in radio show.
You can find great education related podcasts through the Education Podcast Network (www.edupodcastnetwork.com). Their content includes podcasts related to technology, leadership, and general education discussion.
You don’t need to break the bank to enter the podcasting game. This is true for you as an individual and for your class and students. It is not hard to learn the basics of sound editing and podcasting best practices.
Here are my software and hardware recommendations for beginning podcasters.
- Audacity (Win, Mac)—free
- GarageBand (Mac)—free
- TwistedWave (Chromebooks)—free
- Audio Technica ATR2100 USB/XLR ($30-$60) (Win, Mac, Chromebooks)
- AT2005 USB/XLR microphones ($30-$60) (Win, Mac, Chromebooks)
These two microphones are essentially the same and both allow for growth in podcasting. They can be connected via USB to your laptop/computer or to an audio mixer. These connections can also be made simultaneously.
- TwistedWave online audio editor
- Audio Technica ATR2100 USB/XLR or AT2005 USB/XLR microphones ($30-$60)
- Podcast media hosting via Libsyn.com or Blubrry.com ($5/month)
What do you need to create to get you or your students podcasting?
- Audio files
- Media host
- Soundcloud, Pod-o-matic, Podbean, AudioMack
- Google Blogger
- The hosts listed above also give you and your students satisfactory web pages that provide you with an RSS feed.
A podcast episode is created when an audio, video, or even a text file, is associated with a blog post via a blog post enclosure. When your post is published, the media appears in the post’s RSS feed to which people can subscribe.
Christopher J. Nesi teaches social studies in New Brunswick Public Schools . He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.