Engineering...Beyond the Classroom Blog

Engineering...Beyond the Classroom

The Engineering...Beyond the Classroom Blog focuses on engineering issues that are important to students and faculty regarding educational. Converse about educational or research technologies, tools of the student or teacher trade, curriculum and coursework, or myriad other topics that turn bright students into brilliant engineers.

Previous in Blog: Wii Shall Overcome (Wii Whiteboard - Part 7)   Next in Blog: How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Learn (Part 2)
Close
Close
Close
5 comments

Are You Talking to Me!?! How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Learn (Part 1)

Posted October 07, 2008 6:00 AM by ShakespeareTheEngineer

Podcasting, in layman's terms, is an audio (and sometimes video) file that is stored on the Internet and that can be downloaded to an MP3 player, or listened to using a computer.

Let's face it. These days, it's hard to find many kids without wires coming out of their ears. And it's not a Sony Walkman or Sony Discman on the other end. It's an MP3 player. But what if we could inject some educational content into what kids are listening to?

Some pioneering educators have been pursuing podcasting as a means of accomplishing this goal for years. With recent decreases in equipment costs, almost anyone can become a podcaster and send content over the Internet for the world, or in this case, their students. Podcasting is a way to connect by using our terms and their vehicle. And truly, kids don't even need an MP3 player to listen. An iPhone will work, of course, but so will just a home computer.

Custom Content That Fits Your Needs

In Part 2 of this two-part series, I'll detail uses of this technology from an educational perspective. If you're new to podcasting, just think of it as an audio recording of whatever content you want to provide for your audience. It could be lecture style, an interview, a dramatic reading, or styled like a radio show. The beauty of podcasting is that instead of having to find the perfect example of audio for a given assignment, you can just make your own and re-use it. If it can be recorded, it can be podcasted.

Better yet, people who are interested can subscribe to your podcast and get new editions every time you upload. They can subscribe through a program such as iTunes (which is free), get automatic deliveries of new casts through e-mail, or add your podcasts to their personalized start pages on iGoogle or MyYahoo.

How it Works

It's a fairly simple process. Figuring out your content might be the hardest part (and I'll get to some examples later). Once you're ready, you can use an audio recording program such as Audacity (which is free) to record your content. Formal podcast etiquette is such that you should introduce yourself and then state the name of the podcast, the episode name, and the date. A lot of people have a snazzy intro. I thought that sounded fun, so I made one.

What You Need to Get Started

One of the best parts of podcasting is that you may already have everything you need to get started. There are three ways main ways to broadcast. I'll move from most complicated to least complicated.

1. Home Computer Method

  • A computer with an Internet connection and a microphone
  • Headphones (or speakers, if no one minds hearing you do edits)

2. iPod Method

  • An iPod of your choice
  • An iTalk or similar device (Kaplin's Blog, TeknologikL, showcases several)

3. Telephone Method

  • A telephone that you can dial a toll-free number from (it can even be a cell – at your own risk!)

The Right Price

What's the point of podcasting if you can't afford it, right? In education, that's always the issue. Fortunately, The Whiteboard Jungle has you covered (thanks to Rick Hengsterman) with free, easy-to-use software.

  • Audacity is a free audio editing program that is fairly simple to use. Generally, I can teach kids how to use it in ten minutes. Then they're off and on their way. Better yet, Audacity is free. You can record, cut, and mix audio recordings to your taste. I once recorded a podcast when I had a cold and used Audacity to delete the sniffles.
  • GCast allows members to post their recorded content and link to it in a variety of ways. Registration and use are free. GCast is as simple or as complicated as you want to make it. You can even call in from your phone and make your recordings.
  • iTunes probably has some of the coolest features. iTunes is free software that most MP3 users have, especially students. sing GCast and iTunes, kids can subscribe to your podcasts and have them download automatically whenever you launch a new one. For them, it's as simple as plugging an MP3 player into a computer.

What I Can't Give You

What I can't give you is the willingness to take a risk with podcasting. It takes practice. My podcasts aren't perfect, but they help kids learn. And the more podcasts I do, the better I get at them. Start with a script if you are too nervous to either rely upon an outline or shoot from the hip. It takes some work up front, but as I will discuss in greater detail in Part 2, podcasting can pay off in the long run. With this technology, your students can learn while you're out of town, sleeping, or even (gulp!) retired. So stay tuned!

Resources:

Intro Music to The ModCast – An example of intro music to podcast
Example Podcast #1 – A great podcast by Rick Hengsterman, who teaches podcasting to teachers
Audacity: The Free, Cross-Platform Sound Editor
Kaplin Uses Audacity – The owner of TeknologikL uses Audacity to make his own ringtones
Garage Band.com: Non-copyrighted music (you won't get sued for using it)

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1160
Good Answers: 36
#1

Re: Are You Talking to Me!?! How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Learn (Part 1)

10/07/2008 8:22 AM

I agree that podcasting can be extremely beneficial - when put in the hands of the right people. Hopefully more teachers will take the time to harness that power...

Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Education - Seasoned Vet in the Classroom United States - Member -

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Troy, NY
Posts: 762
Good Answers: 19
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Are You Talking to Me!?! How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Learn (Part 1)

10/07/2008 2:04 PM

Indeed, Jaxy. A podcast is only as good as its creator. Just because one can write, doesn't mean they should publish a book.

The same is true with podcasting.

__________________
StE - "For 'tis the sport to have the enginer/Hoist with his own petard" -Hamlet Act III, scene 4, 202–209
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kazakhstan
Posts: 753
Good Answers: 8
#3

Re: Are You Talking to Me!?! How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Lear

10/09/2008 1:56 PM

Yes this technology is simple and exciting along others when everyone can even to establish own radio station either weather forecast service with ease.

Returning to podcasting in education, it would be applied not only for teacher but for pupils' as well. They could have their own internet pages (at teacher's site for instance) where they could leave their podcasted answers. It looks pretty useful for such disciplines as foreign language, literature, geography and the like.

It's impossible for one even so devoted teacher to check out every pupil at a class how he/she did. So here's a good opportunity to do that at any suited time then. It's not a secret that some of children have some emotional problems when they should speak to audience. Podcasting could help here as well as when kid caught a cold and didn't attend the class.

Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Education - Seasoned Vet in the Classroom United States - Member -

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Troy, NY
Posts: 762
Good Answers: 19
#4
In reply to #3

Re: Are You Talking to Me!?! How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Lear

10/09/2008 3:10 PM

It is indeed education that is tailor fit for what and when it needs to be accessed, even if that is at 2 am on Saturday when the teacher is on vacation.

__________________
StE - "For 'tis the sport to have the enginer/Hoist with his own petard" -Hamlet Act III, scene 4, 202–209
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Instrumentation Engineering - New Member Hobbies - Fishing - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Kazakhstan
Posts: 753
Good Answers: 8
#5
In reply to #4

Re: Are You Talking to Me!?! How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Lear

10/09/2008 4:04 PM

Oh, I think 2 a.m. is too much.

But there is one more advantage as it could make students more disciplined for their homeworks' duty. I just recollected my innocent trick when attended a school. When I felt that it was quite high probability to be asked for homework in class I putted off everything and made my homework throughly. Since then being asked by teacher i could some relax for 2-3 lessons :).

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 5 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

caramba (2); Jaxy (1); ShakespeareTheEngineer (2)

Previous in Blog: Wii Shall Overcome (Wii Whiteboard - Part 7)   Next in Blog: How Podcasting’s Simplicity Can Change How We Learn (Part 2)
You might be interested in: Conveyor Chain, Leaf Chain, Protocol Stack Software

Advertisement