Quotations of the Week

Careful. We don't want to learn from this
Calvin and Hobbes

Seeing ourselves as others see us would probably confirm our worst suspicions about them.
Franklin P. Adams

Nver discourage anyone... who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.

We don't know a millionth of one percent about anything.
thomas A. Edison

Weekends don't count unless you spend them doing something completely pointless.
Calvin and Hobbes

Some days even my luck rocketship underpants won't help
Calvin and Hobbes

Scanning vs. Seeking - how we view content - a visual example

Dictionary.com Word of the Day

Sunday, February 17, 2008

According to Podcasting 101
"In September 2004, when podcasting was in its infancy and a Google search of
"podcast" brought up only 24 results, Doc Searls of IT Garage said,
will shift much of our time away from an old medium where we
wait for what we
might want to hear to a new medium where we choose what we
want to hear, when we want to hear it, and how we want to give everybody else
the option to listen to it."3 Indeed, more and more we want information when we
want it-whether it's TV or radio programming or other information. We don't want
to wait. Podcasting gives the end user one more option for information access at
the point of need."

This is so true. I look at my own house for example. We haven't watched television the way the cable company has programed it for at least five years. Everything is recorded through the computer and we watch it when we want to over whatever period of time is convenient. When I purchase most of the music I buy, its online after I heard a song I like and I have gone online to hear more. I was complaining the other day about my mp3 player because it wasn't big enough. Apparently 400 song options is no longer enough (although when I got I swore I never would use that much)

I like the idea of podcasts and appreciate that I don't have to miss Stuart Maclean on the weekend for the 100th weekend in a row and I can access it online and listen to it at my leisure. I think it is cool that public librarys provide auditory copies of books online that I can download and use for a period of time. I even see the educational benefits of using podcasts to suport learning. (even though I was hating it as I tried to do such as simple task as posting mine to my blog)

Here are my thoughts on the tips provided by the article:

1. Gather the required hardware and software. Different configurations will
work, but the easiest is a computer with a microphone and speakers and an
application that records sound. The computer's microphone can be built in, but
for better quality, use an external microphone with a USB connection. The
sound-recording application can be a simple digital audio recorder or a
podcasting software application that allows editing and the addition of music
and sound effects. (see the Podcast Recording Software sidebar on page 20.)

This part was relatively easy. I ended up using audacity to record my podcast as was suggested by a couple of sites I visited as well as the making a podcast site that Elizabeth shared. Other than the fact that I had no idea what most of the buttons in the program referred to I was able to recognize the record, stop, pause and rewind butttons.

2. Decide on the content. Its quality will keep people coming back for more installments. If it's part of a series, create a template and choose theme music to increase listener recognition and to maintain consistency. Create engaging text with an appropriate introduction, breaks, and a conclusion. Also, consider additional features. Music or sound effects can signal a page
turn, generate interest, and keep listeners engaged. Use accompanying images, album art,
outlines, or notes if the software allows it. You must also make sure you're copyright-compliant. When incorporating music or images into a public podcast, you must request and receive rights to use those songs and images. Or you can use items that are in the public domain or that have already been licensed for noncommercial distribution. If you're making the podcast for curricular use at the school and not for publication, follow fair use guidelines as outlined in Digital millennium Copyright Act.

Content was hard. Finding something that was worth recording and sharing was difficult. Trying to find something that I felt comfortable with reading was hard. Determining if I was allowed to share the story was harder (still not sure if it was okay that I verbally shared story) and knowing that a goal was trying to create something that people would want to come back for more of was even harder. If I was providing information for one of my courses that students had to access I could see them having to come back if not wanting to.

3. Practice. For instance, practice speaking until you're confident and the
session flows smoothly in a natural, conversational style. Practice adding music
and sound elements until you're comfortable with moves and transitions.
I practiced alright. I practiced enough that I was at the point where everything starts to sound horrible. i had planned on incorporating pings to indicate a time to change the page but I couldn't even keep character voices straight. All I could think of as i made new copy after new copy was an answering machine message I recorded awhile back that sounded completely mechanical because I had reheased it so many times. In the end. I got my son to sit next to me and I read it to him. He doesn't mind that I forget which voice goes with which character. (I bribed him with a valentine sucker to keep him quiet for the recording)

4. Record the podcast. Use software that generates an MP3 audio file. Following
instructions that came with the software, add and mix text, music, and sound
I think I would like to continue playing with the program so that I feel comfortable enough to add other dimensions. I think this would improve interest, create drama and of course a richer experience for the listener. Next week I am attending video editing workshop... maybe I will learn a few things that I can transfer over to this.

5. Test the podcast. Listen to it and share it with peers. If you don't like what you hear, redo all or part of it until it's the best you can do. Students are often motivated to excel if they realize a public posting of their podcasts means that people from all around the world could be listening. (Be sure to follow your school's privacy guidelines for student safety.)

My son liked it and I think he's a pretty good judge. He likes listening to stories while he reads and while I know there are hundreds before me who thought of this I thought I might try and record some of his favourite stories as podcasts. He could listen to them in the car on road trips. I can't read in the car without getting sick and he loves it when people read to him.

6. Publish the podcast to share your good work. Link the audio file to a Web
site with an RSS feed15 so people can subscribe. Or simply link the file for
manual download. (However, it's then considered a linkrf audio file rather than
a true podcast. ) Submit the audio file for public posting on a podcast
directory service such as iTunes Music Store, Podcast.net, OurMedia.org, Podcast
Alley, or PodcastPickle. Test the access to make sure it really works.

Okay, I am not even sure if I got this part right but I ended up using podbean to host my podcast and then added it to my google reader program. I found linking this to my blog horribly hard and it made me rethink wanting to ever do it again. I understand that blogger is not the best site when it comes to linking podcasts though so will hold off on my complete banning until I practice some more.

7. Promote the podcast. Advertise within your school community and encourage
parents, students, and teachers to subscribe. Students can be the best
word-of-mouth promoters, but the quality and timeliness of the podcast(s) will
be what keeps subscribers coming back for more.

I think I will keep my promoting to a very minimal amount. For now, it will be an EDE545 thing.. who knows maybe I will take a course in storytelling next and become a sensation in the podcasting world for telling children's stories (ha)

8. Evaluate and learn from your mistakes. Be prepared to adjust your template or
make changes to procedures for future podcasts. You want the end product to
be the best that you can make it

I have evaluated and I have learnt. I have learnt that I like the voice in my head much better than the voice that is out there for the world. I have learnt that microphones can catch a lot of unintended noise. I have learnt that it is best to record when the 18 month old is no where in the vicinity of the computer. Make sure that the pages of the book you are reading are not sticking together so that it is much simpler to turn pages. I have also learnt that i need to learn how to edit so I don't have to read the story over and over till I don't make any mistakes (I can't do it without at least one slip up). By accident I learnt how to layer voices and that has made me think it can't be too hard to add music next time I try to make one... now if only I can figure out how to post them in a less horrible way.


Arlene said...

You had better luck with the Audacity buttons than I did. I thought the green button meant record and the red button meant stop. I finally realized the red button was record and the green button was play. Big difference!

Linda Morgan said...

I liked your idea of incorporating podcasts for art shows... it would be kind of neat to have an MP3 player available for some of the art show offerings so that spectators could don some earphones and get the artist's own interpretation/explanation/focus of the piece. It could be sort of like having a curator available at your own beck and call....

Val said...

Hi Elisa: Great job on your podcast. I think I will try podbean. It's the same host that Aussie Kids use, which is one of my favourite class podcasting projects I came across. I too spent way too long on getting the podcast done. It was a steep learning curve this week. I'm glad I'm not the only one that found this.

Hope your PD session went well today. The two I attended were good, with some interesting insights and practical hands on experience.

Podcasting seems a natural for your marketing class. Putting on my Journalism hat (I was a radio reporter for 5 years), I think podcasting can lead studnets into fields such as journalism, including critical thinking and so much more.

Ronda said...

Hi Elisa,

I think I have developed a new appreciation for the uses of podcasting, even though I too, had some major obstacles in reaching that point! I hope your marketing students enjoy your radio advertisement assignment.

In a similar way, I would like to try podcasting with my students for reading the radio play, “Sorry Wrong Number” in ELA 10. Using podcasting for this would be the perfect way to experience it. So many possibilities!