Editing A Podcast

When I stated researching how to record a podcast I found the app Anchor which does a lot of the work of recording and publishing a podcast for you. Unfortunately using it mean your podcast is in owned and controlled by this company, when they post it on iTunes you won’t have access to the stats and information provided by iTunes. One of the benefits of podcasting is that you own your content. You don’t have to worry about a hosting site lie you would with YouTube. You control where it is posted and the content. Anchor would advertise on your podcast since they are providing a free service.

I am going to go over a few basics for making and recording a podcast. This is with teaching in mind so I have not investigated actually posting your podcast on iTunes, if you are recording with a class of students the audio would not likely be public.

Sound quality/recording 

Although some people may expect the best quality sound from their podcasts often less quality sound is alright if the content is interesting. Especially if the recording is only intended for a class or school. I listen to several podcasts where they have guests or one of the hosts phone in remotely and therefore will have a poor recording. As long as it is legible and not too distracting it will work. And today with updated phones the microphones are fairly good. (I have certainly listened to podcasts with worse) so if you are starting out a phone or inexpensive microphone will work well if you are not ready to invest in more expensive equipment.

Editing/software

Some apps will allow you to record and then edit your audio. Voice Record allows you to record and then export the audio in different formats, as well as some basic editing tools. Audacity is another recording and editing software that works well and is free. I have been exploring its features and the basic features are easy to use, I was able to upload a recording from my phone, edit it, and save it in a new format. It comes with instructions and there are tutorials online.

Location

When recording you want a quiet space, to prevent echoes record in an open space. A larger room with lots of furniture will absorb more sound while a small room will sound echo-y. test out different locations, is there a fan you hadn’t noticed? Is your recording picking up outside noise? You can also dampen other noises by hanging blankets around your recording space.

These are just some first steps to making recordings, as you delve further into audio recording you may want to set up a more permanent recording space, invest in editing software, and buy a better microphone. These tips are a place to start.

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Story Podcasts

A couple weeks ago one of my partners for this podcasting inquiry made a post about some of the science podcasts available for children. Here is a link to Sarah’s post. Today I am going to look at three story podcasts you could use in the classroom.

The Radio Adventures Of Eleanor Amplified

This podcast is made up of ten minute episodes, currently there are three seasons. This podcast also has ‘road trip editions’ where you can listen to an entire season in one go, this is really nice as you don’t have to switch episodes every ten minutes and it saves where you pause so you don’t lose where you are in the season.

Eleanor Amplified is told like an old fashioned radio play, Eleanor is a reporter who investigates a variety of villains and nefarious plots. She is aided by her friends and occasionally an A.I. phone. She deals with lying corporations and hypnotizing kitten videos. It is fast paced and Eleanor has a sarcastic sense of humor that’s fun to listen to.

When I first listened to Eleanor Amplified with my brother, who is in middle school, he worried that it was too young for him. However as we listened there were jokes for a variety of ages, often quick witty lines would have both of us laughing. The ages suggested by the podcast are 8-12.

Find out more here

The Alien Adventures Of Finn Caspian

This podcast is told in longer, 15-20 minute episodes. It currently has five full seasons with the sixth being released. The age range suggested by the podcast is 5-10 years although again I know older children who have enjoyed listening to it.

Finn Caspian lives on a space ship in a world where every gets a robot when they turn 8. Finn, with his group of friends, explore space, help some aliens, and solve mysteries. The show’s editor is the author’s 9 year old son and episode plots can be suggested by children at home who send in ideas.

Find out more here

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

This podcast is a mystery aimed at middle years students. They suggest 8-12 year old children and the characters in the show are played by actual middle school students. The episodes are 20 minutes long and there are currently three seasons. This podcast may not be fully available on itunes but it is on their website linked below.

Find more here

Story podcasts can be something to listen to during quite times or a prompt for students. When I was in grade 12 my writing class did an inquiry project of our own choosing. My group was inspired by the podcast “Welcome to Nightvale” (good for older, high school aged students and adults. It often has diverse characters and is still ongoing) We created a three episodes of our own show. Projects like that can be done with any age students, Mars Patel has middle years students as actors, middle years students could make their own show and while not release it online they could take home a copy of it for themselves.

There are many more story podcasts out there, for younger and older students and adults. I have included three I have at least partially listened to although I have not heard all the seasons of these shows.

 

Pros and Cons of Podcasts

Podcasts as a medium and source of information can have benefits and drawbacks. When looking at use in the classroom you have to be aware of how vast the world of podcasting is, they can be made by anyone and are usually free. As a result there are podcasts covering every subject for a range of ages.

The pros of podcasting
Free to listen: While some podcasts will have a pay wall over their older episodes, most are entirely free. Unlike televisions shows if you hear of a podcast you can search it easily and expect to access all episodes of it.

Topics: There are podcasts covering any topic. If you have an interest or passion and want to listen to a show covering it podcasting is a good place to look. You can also discover interests you never would have considered. I learned how to play dungeons and dragons through listening to podcasts.

Age Range: A simple google search will show lists of podcasts for children to adults. With children I would suggest listening to them and using your own judgement. There are some which are clearly for small children and others aimed at middle years.

Audio: Podcasts can be listened to while doing other things, you can download them to your device and listen anywhere. I often listen while traveling, walking, cleaning, or painting.

Ads: While it may be a drawback that there are ads, especially in children’s podcasts, they are usually separate from the rest of the content. The style for ads in podcasts is a script read by the host in the style of old radio shows. If you were playing a podcast with children and wanted to skip the ads it would not be difficult as they are usually distinct from the show.

The cons of podcasting

Easy to find: If you introduce podcasts to children be aware that they are very easy to access. While some podcasts are marked as explicit it doesn’t mean that all those without an explicit marker are appropriate for children. There should be an adult helping children to make the decision about what to listen to.

Anyone can create: Podcasting does take some time and money investment to be a regular creator. Similar to YouTube it can take investment but can also host anyone who wants to create. This means that not all podcasts are run by experts in the topic, they may be people with a passion or hobby. I often listen to a history podcast which is well researched but not written by historians. I would check their listed sources and not list the podcast as a reliable source if I want to source the information.

Not always accessible: Since podcasting is purely audio it is not accessible. There have been websites which transcribe episodes and some podcasts will have transcriptions but it is not always reliable. I have been unable to find the website which used to host transcriptions.

Podcasting Group Work

We are doing a group inquiry on the possible use of podcasting as a medium in the classroom. Both listening to podcasts and the making of one.

As our group took a bit to finalize we have started with sharing ideas. Currently we would like to find podcast resources for teachers and information on how to begin a podcast.

Podcasting is an audio medium which is primarily free, anyone can create a podcast and they can cover any topic. There are podcasts on history, science, education, art, and fictional stories. If you have an interest or passion you can often find a podcast which dives deeper into that topic.

We are now starting to listen to and review specific podcasts.