Producing a Podcast

I have been so inspired by the work of three Kindergarten teachers at my school.They have taken facts “off the page”, as my colleague Katie B. would say, and allowed creativity and authentic learning to take place. Yes, FOR 5 YEAR OLDS!

I wanted to document their work. What better way to do that than record a podcast. A podcast that allows you to be able to listen, really listen to the voices of these kids.

  • Is there interest and enthusiasm in their voices?
  • Is there learning in their voices?
  • Is there pride in what they are accomplishing in their voices?

This post is more about the technical aspect, instead of the content of the recording. I am experimenting with different kinds of recordings in order to find out which works best with what age group and purpose of the podcast.

  • Individual recordings
  • Small groups recordings
  • Entire class recordings
  • Portable MP3 recorder
  • USB microphone attached to computer
  • Use cell phone and specific number to record audio
  • Scripted recordings
  • Unscripted recordings

witch-microphone

Preparing, planning and creating a podcast:

  1. Decide what theme/purpose you want your podcast episode to have?
    1. Interview
    2. Documentation of event
    3. Summary of student conducted research
    4. Reflection of a learning unit
  2. Prepare your students
    1. Show them how their voice “looks” like in Audacity (sound editing software).
    2. Practice speaking clearly, volume level, etc
    3. Explain them that they are “speaking” directly to their audience. They ARE the voice in someone’s iPod.
    4. Show and practice the difference between boring, exciting and expressive speech.
    5. Demonstrate how individual audio segments can be joined to create a new whole
  3. Sound Editing Software- How -To Lesson
    1. Record-pause-stop-play
    2. Tracks: creating- moving-deleting-muting- volume level
    3. Selection: highlighting- copy/cut/paste- delete
    4. Effects: echo-fade in/out-
    5. Adding/inserting music/sound clips
  4. Record audio footage
    1. Introduction to episode- Make this a class recording. Use the group energy to brainstorm
    2. Intro to Segments
    3. Segments
    4. Outro
  5. Segments
    1. Give each student the responsible for the content of one segment.
  6. Transitions
    1. Add background music and/or insert sound effects that mark transitions
  7. Outro
    1. Credits

The secret of using Audacity (or GarageBand) is in playing with tracks, inserting, cutting and adding effects. Read up on the mechanics of using Audacity as your sound editor.

Here are some example of podcasts, I have recorded at school.

Kindergarten: Students reflect on their experience of learning about Brazil and the rainforest.

[audio: http://www.langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/kbrazil-podcast.mp3]

Kindergarten: Students take us on a tour of Brazil. Learn about the flag, currency, carnival, instruments, the map, soccer, coffee, dolls, gauchos and food.

[audio: http://www.langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/kbrazil-podcast1.mp3]

Third Grade: Class episodes on Endangered and Threatened Animals in the State of Florida/USA

[audio: http://www.langwitches.org/podcast/episodes/3-science2.mp3]

Sixth Grade: Using cell phones, students call in their impressions of Washington while on a field trip.

[audio:http://www.langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/6-washington.mp3]

Technology Camp: A group of 4-6th graders create a camp podcast. Each student was allowed to choose a topic of their own for their segments.

[audio:http://www.langwitches.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/podcast-summercamp.mp3]