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Podcasts

Podcasting in education takes learning beyond the limits of the classroom in its literal form. Students can engage with key material on their own terms – anywhere, anytime. Whether they produce or listen to it, it is an important manner to soak up information.

Lesson goals and objectives

In this lesson you will learn:

  • what a podcast is
  • how you can use a podcast in education
  • how to make a podcast
  • what you need to make a good podcast

What is a podcast?
A podcast is an audio broadcast in which the sound file is made available on request by means of web feeds. A podcast is therefore an audio broadcast. Basically, it is an audio file

However, not every audio file is a podcast. The difference between a podcast and a sound file is that a podcast is not just any sound; a podcast is a program. It is quite difficult to describe podcasts in general. This is because podcasts come in all shapes and sizes.

There are podcasts that look a lot like a radio program (often from DJ’s), podcasts with interviews on all kinds of subjects, podcasts with cabaret shows, podcasts just like news programs that make a new podcast for you every day, podcasts about sports, games, TV, cooking, politics, education, health, etc. etc. etc. etc.

How to use a podcast in education.
There are several ways to use podcasts in education. For example, ask students to report about events that are taking place in the city. And audio files to learn a language. Podcasts are a nice way to vary your learning content. Finally, students can listens to podcasts on their mobile phones on their way to school in the morning and their way home after school.

Students can also create their own podcast to share their learning experiences with each other and also with other students from other schools, and learn skills such as researching, writing, speaking effectively, solving problems, managing time, grabbing attention and improving their vocabulary.

Teachers can record audio podcast to provide additional and revision material to students to download and review at a time that fits them the best.

How to make a podcast
Although students don’t really care about excellent quality of podcast if the content is interesting enough and they are aware of the learning goals that are achieved by learning to the podcast.

Most common formats are:

.WAV – It has a good quality but files are quite large, even if they are compressed.
.MP3 – It is features a good compression/quality ratio. It is suitable for publishing web audios.
.OGG – It is a recent format and has emerged as a free and open-code alternative (contrary to the MP3 format). This format can support audio and video.

What do you need to make a podcast
The easiest way to make a podcast is to use your mobile phone. Quality is often excellent and making is easily done any time and place you like. Just use the Dictaphone function of the phone. As an alternative you can use your laptop, but obviously you lose flexibility in recording.

If you want more sophisticated podcasts, you need hardware and software. Buy a good USB microphone and connect it to your laptop for your recordings. Audacity is good software to use to make audio recordings. There also online audio converters, like http://online-audio-converter.com. Avoid surrounding noises at every cost because it spoils your recording.

How to distribute your recordings.
The digital learning management system is a fine way to distribute your recordings. Its privacy proof and you can combine the podcasts with assignments.

15 tips to make good podcasts
The recordings of your podcast are of course very important for your final episodes. Make sure you are well prepared so that your podcast episode is of the highest possible quality. To help you prepare for this, we’ve put together a checklist of 15 tips below that you can follow before you start recording your podcast. A good podcast is not possible without a good podcast preparation!

1. Turn your phone off/on silent: nothing is as annoying as being called during your recordings. This often means that you must edit extra or that you even must do a piece of recording again. Do you have an interview? Ask the person you are interviewing if they want to turn their phone off or turn it off.

2. Go to the toilet: during the recording of your podcast you can’t just go to the toilet. So, go to the small room before you start recording. Don’t drink too much for your recordings, so you suddenly must go to the toilet during your podcast.

3. Muzzle your nose: a point that is sometimes overlooked is the blowing of your nose. If you have a cold, it is good to blow your nose beforehand so that you don’t hear your snot nose on the recordings.

4. Prepare a glass of water: a glass of water with your shots can sometimes be very fine. If you’re talking for a long time, your voice can become dry and that’s not practical. With a glass of water, you can prevent this from happening. If you are interviewing someone, make sure you have an extra glass of water!

5. Banana Eat a banana or energy bar: eating a banana or energy bar has two advantages for your recordings. First, this gives you energy, of course, so that you will not fall asleep during your shots. Secondly, you don’t suffer from a grunting stomach that disturbs your recordings.

6. Grease lip balm: even dry lips can be very annoying during a recording, which helps with lip balm. So put a jar of lip balm in your bag so that you always have it with you when you go to a recording.

7. Eliminate noise: Make sure you’re in a room with no background sounds that can ruin your recordings. Turn off the air conditioning, close the door and make sure that no one can just barge in through the door. The audiophiles among us will thank you! Still noise on your recordings?

8. Know what you want to say/question: it is important that you prepare your recordings well. Make sure you know what you want to say. In an interview, it is Prepare a glass of water: a glass of water with your shots can sometimes be very fine. If you’re talking for a long time, your voice can become dry and that’s not practical. With a glass of water, you can prevent this from happening. If you are interviewing someone, make sure you have an extra glass of water!

9. Print out your preparation: you cannot prevent a blackout. Fortunately, you can make sure that you can continue with your recordings as soon as possible. Print out your preparations so that you can always finish your recordings.

10. Make sure you are on time: during an interview, it is of course important that you are present on time. Even if you have an online interview via Skype, it is important that you are online at the right time.

11. Get your stuff ready: get your microphone, laptop, tripod and everything else you need ready for your recordings. You probably planned to do this anyway, but we can only mention it for a moment.

12. Test your stuff: you don’t want to find out after your one hour recording that the wire of your microphone wasn’t properly pressed, so you didn’t record anything at all. So, test beforehand if everything works.

13. Take a breath: before you start recording, take a moment for yourself in which you can relax. Just breathe in and out so you can record a top podcast episode right away.

14. Do some voice exercises: maybe do some last-minute voice exercises so that your voice doesn’t suddenly stop working during your podcast recordings can’t do any harm.

15. Press Record: the most important preparation you will make less than a second before the start of your recordings is to press the record button. Finding out halfway through your presentation/interview that you forgot to click on record is a waste of time.