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10 Great Tools for Creating High-Quality Educational Podcasts

by Julie Peterson on February 23, 2017

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Have you Ever Considered Implementing Podcasts as a Part of in Your Teaching Methods?

In 2004, Ben Hammersley was the first person to use the word podcasting in an article for the Guardian. He used it to describe the phenomenal boom in amateur radio, which happened thanks to Apple’s iPods.

Today, the Cambridge English Dictionary defines podcast as “a radio programme that is stored in a digital form that you can download from the Internet and play on a computer or on an MP3 player.”

Why should teachers implement podcasting in their methods? This is a great way to share lessons, research content, or fun facts related to the curriculum. The students can listen to these materials at home, so you’ll use the themes as a trigger for classroom discussions.

You can also provide revision material through podcasts, so your students will easily prepare for tests and exams. Podcasts can be great for team projects, too. Your students will have fun creating the script and recording a podcast that you’ll share with the world.

Top 10 Tools for Creating Podcasts

The only question is: how do you and your students create podcasts? Do you simply record an audio? A high-quality podcast needs a bit more work. Let’s explore 10 tools that will help you create one!

Tools for Planning and Scripting

A podcast without a plan will turn out messy. You would end up making digressions. You’re already making plans for your lessons, right? You need to do the same for podcasts. You can start with this brainstorming tool.

1. bubbl.us

First, you can come up with general ideas, which you’ll connect in a way that presents your big idea. With Bubbl.us, you can create a map hierarchy that will allow you to stay on topic and make complex concepts as clear as possible.

2. WriterDuet

Once you have your mind map, you need to turn it into an actual script. If you’re creating a podcast with guests or your students as co-hosts, you absolutely need to provide a specific frame, so you’ll cover all topics within the given timeframe.

WriterDuet is an intuitive tool that makes scripting easy. If you don’t have enough time, you can check writing services reviews and order a script online.

Tools for Recording and Editing Podcasts

Now that you have a plan, you need to take action. Check out few tools that make the podcast recording process easy:

3. Audacity

This is a universal tool for podcasters on budget. Good news: it’s free. Even better news: it’s very effective and easy to use. You can record an entire podcast with Audacity, and then edit out the awkward pauses and “ums”.

If you get stuck or you want tips before you start recording podcasts, you can find the information you need on the forum.

4. Google Hangouts

If you’re looking for the simplest free way to create podcasts, this is the one: call your guest via Google Hangouts and record the conversation. There is a catch, though: Google only lets you record the so-called Hangouts On Air, which you need to broadcast live. That won’t be a problem if you craft a detailed script with the tools suggested at the top of this list.

5. Skype

Skype is a classic tool for video conferencing. You can invite your co-hosts or guests for a conference call, and discuss different educational topics according to your script.

The problem is that Skype doesn’t allow you to record those conversations. However, you can do that with Audio Hijack for Mac or  Free Skype Call Record for Windows. If you don’t like going live with Google Hangouts, this may be a better option.

6. GarageBand

GarageBand is a classic iOS app for editing audio files. It’s simple and free, but it works for basic editing. Although it’s mainly intended for creating songs, you can easily use it for editing podcasts and adding fresh sounds in the background.

7. Express Scribe

It’s important to provide a transcription of your podcast. Some of your students are not native speakers and they might not understand every word you say. The transcription will make it easier for them to understand your point. The transcript is also important for SEO purposes – people who use Google to search for such a podcast will find it if you include the right keywords in the text.

Express Scribe helps you transcribe the audio recording without much effort.

8. Freesound

How about adding some drama to the podcast? Your students won’t like dry, endless talking. Of course you can alter the tone of your voice to get a dramatic effect, but that won’t be enough.

Thanks to this free archive of sounds, you and your students can create professional-like podcasts that capture and hold the listener’s attention. From birds to whisper ambience sounds, you can find any kind of theme that would fit into your podcast.

Tools for Sharing Podcasts

Okay, you have created a podcast thanks to the tools suggested above. Now, the question is: how will you share it with your students? Do you attach it in an email message? There are cooler ways to do that.

9. Buzzsprout

Podcast hosting doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, you can get it for free. Thanks to Buzzsprout, you can start your own show and share it not only with your students, but with the whole world, too. You can share your podcasts via Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and other media. Plus, you’ll get statistics that show where your listeners are coming from and what devices they use to listen to your podcasts. The free plan gives you hosting for 90 days and 2 hours of free uploads per month. That should be enough for you to try how podcasting works for you and your students. If you want to get indefinite hosting and up to 3 hours of podcasts each month, you can opt for a plan that costs only $12 per month.

10. MailChimp

If you want to create a private podcast to share with your students, get their emails and put them in your list of subscribers. Then, you can send the podcasts as exclusive content through awesome email messages.

Why use MailChimp when you can simply send the podcast as an attachment? This tool lets you create beautiful messages in the form of newsletters. The free plan lets you send up to 12,000 emails per month to 2,000 subscribers. That should be enough for your needs as a teacher.

Well, there you have it. You have good reasons to start podcasting, and you have the tools that help you do that. You only have one thing to do: make a plan and start sharing cool podcast with your students. This approach will add a new element to your teaching, but it will also encourage your students to explore podcasting as a team project.

 

 

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Math Teacher Shares the Benefits of Using RooClick to Better Engage Students Learning via Video

By now, I’m sure you’ve either used video in your classroom yourself or know someone that has used it. And when I say video, I’m not talking about cracking out that old DVD of your favorite inspirational teacher movie, old episodes of Bill Nye, or the Biography special on Jerry Seinfeld.

You’re a 21st century teacher with 22nd century students and you’re trying your best to take advantage of technologies that are native to your students and online video is one of those technologies. Our students spend far too much time in front of a screen but if we can get them to watch for some educational purpose, we’re certainly going to do so.

To this point, there have been several issues in using online video in many classrooms. Take my class, for instance. I teach what is arguably the most unengaging subject that our students MUST take no matter where they go to school, math.

Yes, that bastion of direct instruction fans everywhere, math is the last stronghold of the “sage on the stage” mentality and is often the last place where any real innovation in teaching takes place. And let’s not talk about technology integration in math. For most math teachers, technology integration means breaking out the TI-30 or TI-84 calculators, depending on what grade you teach.

There are many reasons teachers don’t integrate tech in math class and all have their basis in a bit of truth. For one thing, math classes have to cover so much content that it is difficult to carve out time to work with students individually or differentiate in meaningful ways for those students that need extra support or extensions.

There’s also the fact that many students just have a hard time engaging in math. Some teachers feel like they have to maintain control of the class all the time to keep students focused or to at least keep the image of focus in a classroom. It’s sad but sometimes very true.

To get a math teacher to use a new tool in class, there has to be some evidence that it will increase engagement and help students achieve greater success or at least have the chance to do those things.

That’s exactly what I saw with RooClick.

What does RooClick do?

RooClick is a service that allows teachers to use pretty much any video, one that you’ve created or videos from YouTube, and add clickable content to the video. Whether the content is simply a link to a website for more information, a task for students to complete, or an embedded quiz, RooClick allows you to perform these task and much more.

Why did I start using RooClick? Here are some things I’ve been able to do in my classroom using this tool.

Meet Students Where They Are

I know which students in my class struggle on a regular basis. Every good teacher does. With RooClick, I have a tool that I can use to give them targeted help whenever I need to do so. I don’t often have time during class to spend a lot of individual time and hours before and after school are limited because we’re all so busy.

However, if a student is struggling, I can add a video to RooClick that will help support their learning. Crafted correctly, any clicks I add to the video will only enhance the learning and supports. And, as students need to, they can review the video more than once or pause the video until they are ready to move on. The power of meeting the student where they are is one of the reasons I’m using RooClick in my classroom.

Measure Engagement

I’ve used videos many time in my classroom with students. One problem I always had was knowing whether or not they were really watching the video and if the content was helping them. Sure, I could send them to a Google Form or some other quiz/survey tool when they finished the video but they could always just click the link and not watch the video.

With RooClick, you can add your students to a class and then when you assign a video, you’ll know how long they watched and how many times they clicked on the links you’ve added to the video. You won’t have to wonder any longer how many students were engaged and how much they watched.

And if you decided to use a quiz in your video, you can gauge how beneficial the content was for your students. This can be a boon for you and those students that never ask questions in class and won’t come before or after school for various reasons. They can interact with the video and you’ll see how they did long before giving them any other type of assessment, allowing you to intervene on an individual basis.

Parent Involvement

Haven’t you always wanted parents to be more involved in your class? This is especially true for math teachers because we always hear students say, “My mom said she was bad at math and she can’t help me do this work!”

My friends, those days are over. With RooClick, students can access the videos from any device, anywhere, even at home. You’ve got the perfect avenue to get parents involved by asking them to watch any video you assign with their child. They can participate, assist, and perhaps even learn something along the way.

Who knows? They might even have a little fun with their kid while they’re doing homework!

Conclusion

If you haven’t used online video in your classroom yet, RooClick provides a great platform to get you started. There are tons of videos already added that you can access and use right away with your classes.

If you have used video before, RooClick will help you make that integration more meaningful for you and your students. Add a video that you have made or one you’ve found online, add links and questions, and watch what happens. The first time we used RooClick in my classroom, the kids were hooked from the beginning. Even the ones that are rarely engaged!

In this video by “TeachFlip”, a teacher demonstrates some of the basics of using RooClick:

I’ve become a big fan of RooClick and I think you will be, too. Try it out at: http://rooclick.com/education.php!

 

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