A world of pod-abilities

26 Feb

I’m starting to develop a slight inferiority complex because it seems that every post I write for the course I’m currently registered in starts with “Since I didn’t know anything about  (insert topic of the week) , I had to do a lot of research.” And, yet again, this is how my post starts. Sigh.

This week, Twitter came to my rescue riding on a white horse! At the beginning of the week, Steven W. Anderson (aka @web2.0classroom) tweeted Kit Hard’s education and technology related blog (Hard, 2010). On November 15, 2010, Hard wrote A Teacher’s Guide to Using Audio and Podcasting in the Classroom. This post is complete with a helpful chart of the audio and podcasting resources available and videos demonstrating the use of each one! After viewing each of the videos, I chose to spend this week exploring Audacity as a recording and editing program.

I enlisted my husband’s help to create my podcast. One of the things that I love about him are the accents that he can do; they always manage to cheer me up when I’m feeling down. In order to keep things somewhat educational, I asked him to record himself reading Sandra Boynton’s “The Going to Bed Book” in his Three Little Pigs accent (yes, the accents all have names). I used Editing for Beginners: Part Two Cut, Copy and Paste to select the areas that I wanted to keep and take out the audio where some impromptu Ernie from Sesame Street happened (though I kept that in a personal file for myself to listen to when I need a pick-me-up).

I was left with a simple audio file that would have been good enough until I started to reminisce about the good ol’ days of my childhood. I used to sit for hours with my little red record player and accompanying books and play them over and over again. Each time the page needed to be turned, there was a lovely chiming noise. That was what I needed for my audio file! Jeff of Caddicks.com suggests using Microsoft Clip Art for simple sound effects. I found that their selection was satisfactory but a little bit frustrating because the titles for some sound effects are not an accurate description of the audio. For example, they classify this as a lullaby. I don’t know who puts babies to sleep with that!

I was ready to attach the mp3 or wave file to my blog but first I needed to upload it to a hosting program. I was unsure about where I wanted to put it so I turned to Learn It In 5 (2010).

Audioboo is a simple and easy to use program. After only a few clicks I had an account and had uploaded my file.

Step #1: Create an account

Step #2: Add a boo

Step #3: Upload a file

Step #4: Get the embed code (It is also easy to tweet the file, share it with Facebook or add it to iTunes)

So… drum roll please… here is my final product!

Now that I’ve had experience with creating my own podcast, how can I use podcasting in my personal life and in my teaching? Well, I’ll be honest, I think I will use it more in my teaching than in my personal life. I have a very hard time with auditory learning, so listening to podcasts does not really appeal to me. I prefer to see videos of topics that I am learning about (ex. using Adobe InDesign, sewing zippers, starting vegetables from seed) and I will probably continue to use that mode for my own learning.

However, I think podcasting is a fabulous resource for classroom teachers! While doing this research, I have found some fabulous sites that I have sent to the teachers in my school: The Education Podcast NetworkCBC PodcastsEducation Podcasts and Podiobooks. These sites have some amazing content and they cover all of the subject areas that are taught in high school. Teachers can find a podcast that fits their area of interest and subscribe to it through their iTunes account. Choosing to automatically sync their iPod to their iTunes means that every time they plug their iPod into their account, the new podcasts will automatically be added for them to listen to at their earliest convenience (Richardson, 2010).

If I have a classroom again I will definitely be podcasting with my students! I can only imagine the creative things that they would come up with to show their learning through this mode. Kerilee Beasley (2009) has a list of ways to use Audacity in your classroom like recording a radio show or taping the kids as they read aloud. I can imagine having my intermediate class create a tailored listening lab for a kindergarten or grade one classroom based on the books that the teacher owns. I would also love to record the read-alouds that I do in class when I’m teaching or put readers’ theatre productions up on a classroom blog. It would be exciting to have a student-created podcast of our classroom events each week.

I wish that I had known how to use podcasting and audio recording last year when I was teaching a student with serious reading difficulties. I would sit with him, read the instructions and questions, and then scribe his responses. Hard’s blog (2010) outlines the steps to embed audio into a Microsoft Word document. Recording the instructions for the student and enabling him to record his answers would have made things so much easier! I’m glad that I will have this knowledge under my belt for the future.

Other sites to check out:



Beasley, K. (2009). 10 great ways to use Audacity with your students. Retrieved on February 22, 2011 from http://kerileebeasley.com/2009/04/08/10-great-ways-to-use-audacity-with-your-students/.

Caddick, J. (2008). Free music and sound effects for podcasts. Retrieved on February 21, 2011 from http://www.caddicks.com/blog/2008/01/12/free-music-sound-effects-for-podcasts/.

Hard, K. (2010). Ed tech kit: Be the change. Retrieved on February 20, 2011 from  http://edtechkit.blogspot.com/.

Learn It In 5. (2010). How to video: Using the all-in-one podcasting application Audioboo. Retrieved on February 22, 2011 from http://www.learnitin5.com/Classroom-Podcasting.

Ovadia, M. (2010). Poducate me: Practical solutions for podcasting in education. Retrieved on February 23, 2011 from http://poducateme.com.

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.


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