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The Secret to Student Podcasting

Is podcasting something you’ve wanted to do for a while, but have just never set aside the time to get it going? Podcasting enables students a tool to publish what they are learning, and also, it allows parents and family members to be able to not only hear their loved ones via the internet, but also to subscribe to a podcast via iTunes.

Setting the Stage

The first hurdle is finding a site to host our recordings, as iTunes does not host directly. There are many pod-hosters out there. One I recommend is called Podbean (http://www.podbean.com). Podbean is easy to set up a free account (100mb storage space is pretty limiting, so if and when things grow, I may decide to upgrade to a paid subscription), and the layout is similar to other blog sites, so the learning curve is fairly easy. Once you have your account at podbean set up and your first podcast recorded, you can submit your feed to iTunes (go to this page for the step-by-step procedures within iTunes). It took about 24 hours for iTunes to review my feed and accept it (I’m not really sure how critical they are with the review procedure as my only podcast at the time was me saying, “This is a test.”).  Once accepted, you have a direct iTunes link you can send out so parents, grandparents, teachers and students can subscribe to your podcast and then whenever you add a new recording, iTunes will alert the subscribers. Cool!

Nuts and Bolts

Now that the foundation is laid, it’s time to add the excitement – students’ voices! I’m using Audacity (free download) to record and convert to MP3s as it’s an easy program and the recordings come across crisp and clean. The microphones we use in my lab are Audio Spec C-100m, which are basic, middle-of-the-line mikes. We’ve rubber-banded a piece of Kleenex over the tops of the microphones to act as wind screens and this low-tech fix really does the trick in reducing the loud gusts of winds that students somehow always seem to produce while recording.  After the recording is to the student’s liking, they “export as MP3” to a shared folder. From there, after checking the recordings for quality and ensuring they didn’t give away any personal information (last name, address, phone number, etc) I upload the files to my podbean account. From there, iTunes updates the new recordings automatically in a matter of a few hours.

Give it a Listen

If you’re curious, the next time your in the iTunes Store, do a search for “SAS Geckos” and you’ll find us. You can also check us out on Podbean: http://sasgeckos.podbean.com

Got some other ideas about podcasting in the elementary classroom? Leave us a comment.

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