Have you Ever Considered Implementing Podcasts as a Part of 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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.