Talkin’ about Podcasting

In one of the last colleague teas of the spring series, we talked podcasting. This included some production tools, ideas for teaching with the medium, concerns about how not to use this kind of technology, and of course examples.

As is often the case, we looked at some examples to get us started. Tim Fox showed us his podcast, The Supportive Classroom, and talked a bit about the process he used to produce it, including how to get it published in the iTunes Music Store. We also looked at some podcasts downloaded from the music store, such as a chinese language instruction series, and a recorded classroom lecture.

We discussed a few of the tools available for creating and recording podcasts, including:

  • Odeo – easy, web based software that allows you to record and store up to an hour’s worth of audio per session.
  • GarageBand – audio recording software for the mac that lets you publish directly from within the interface
  • Audacity – free, cross-platform software. Not as easy to use/install as some of the others.
  • iTunes U – an iTunes music store geared towards higher education organizations.

One question that came up went along the lines of “Why podcast?”. An answer seemed to be that it was an easy way to publish and distribute media – anyone with a blog can syndicate audio/video material which can be easily downlaoded onto an audience’s computers, or portable media devices.

As the conversation moved on, we looked at and discussed “videocasting”, “screencasting”, enhanced podcasts (such as narrated PowerPoints and chaptered podcasts). We talked about some of the challenges of teaching with such a tool, which led us to some more examples of how to use it in the classroom. Paul Martin, joining us via instant message (thanks Paul!) pointed us to an example of an enhanced podcast he produced. We also looked at how he used podcasts in some of his courses, including having the students record podcasts which he posts on a course blog.

All in all, it was another successful session, with some great discussion. Afterwards, Steve Birnbaum sent us this great article regarding the Berkely iTunes U library being made available to the public (thanks Steve!).

UPDATE: Malachi pointed out that Apple offers some seminars on “Podcasting on Campus“. Also, Charlie and I came across a great screencast on using Garageband to create enhanced podcasts (you may have to scroll down to find it – I couldn’t find a permalink to the post).

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