Podcasts

This podcast assignment was one I had been looking forward to all semester.  It comes as a creative breath of fresh air after working on other research-heavy and writing-centric assignments.  Though this assignment did include it’s fair share of research and writing, I found that because I was able to apply myself in a creative way, I actually had fun making these podcasts!

 

Podcast 1 [transcript]

Podcast 2 [transcript]

Podcast 3 [transcript]

 

After creating these podcasts, I walked away with a few things:

  • In choosing my podcast topics, I simply asked myself, “Is this something I would be interested in learning more about?”  Doing this sparked an interest in myself that ended up making the research process enlightening and fun to talk about.
  • Before even touching a microphone, I wrote down what I wanted to say.  I found that by itself my writing was too scholarly and unnatural sounding if read out loud.  In fact, when I read my first podcast script out loud to my boyfriend, I believe his exact words were “You’re using too many big words.”  So, when writing the rest of my scripts I focused on finding a balance between language that sounded educational, yet conversational (the key to making a good audio recording, if you ask me).
  • I had never used Audacity before this assignment, but me being the cocky digital native I am, I attempted to wing it without any sort of training.  Of course, that worked just about as well as you would expect.  I finally broke down and watched Tony Vincent’s Audacity tutorial on YouTube.  How the heck was I supposed to know an “Envelope Tool” controlled the volume?  Needless to say, the process went much smoother after I watched the tutorial.  The extent of my Audacity editing consisted of cropping out extra breaths and pauses and mixing/rendering tracks to create one line of dialogue.
  • I discovered just how much effort needs to go into recording your voice.  Things like vocal inflections, intonation, and phrasing play such a huge part in making a human voice pleasing to listen to.  On average, I broke down each script into 1-2 sentence recordings at a time.  I would record, then listen.  If I felt I sounded too boring or robotic, I would record again, this time while smiling or gesturing (or perhaps I’d even edit the sentence in my script to sound more conversational).  The key here was to exaggerate everything!
  • Ultimately, I walk away from this assignment with an understanding of how great podcasts can be as both teaching and learning tools.  As a teaching tool, podcasts are accessible and compact pieces of information – great for learning on the go. By simply loading the audio file on your mobile device, you can learn from just about anywhere!  As a learning tool, podcasts are a unique, creative way to understand a subject.  From firsthand experience, the research and effort that go into making a quality podcast is quite significant.  By asking students to translate knowledge in their own way, you are giving students creative freedom and allowing students to better prove their understanding.

 

Works Cited

“About Us” (2014). Open Culture.  Retrieved from http://www.openculture.com/faq

“Blending Learning Model Definitions” (2012). Clayton Christensen Institute.  Retrieved from http://www.christenseninstitute.org/blended-learning-definitions-and-models/?gclid=COHmlsfRo8ICFRBgfgodaQgAjg

Bonk, C. (2009). E-Demand Around the Globe. In The world is open: How Web technology is revolutionizing education (p. 127). San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Bonk, C. (2009). It’s a Free Software World After All. In The world is open: How Web technology is revolutionizing education (pp. 157-160). San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Bonk, C. (2009). MIT in Every Home. In The world is open: How Web technology is revolutionizing education (p. 179). San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass.

Creative Commons (2014). Explore the Creative Commons licenses [Web page]. Retrieved from http://creativecommons.org/choose/

Creative Commons (2014). [State of the Commons] [Infographic]. Retrieved from https://stateof.creativecommons.org/?utm_campaign=2014fund&utm_source=carousel&utm_medium=web

OnlineSchools.com. (2013). [Virtual Classrooms: A Real Trend] [Infographic]. Retrieved from http://www.onlineschools.com/in-focus/k-12-blended-learning.html

4 comments on “Podcasts

  1. I’m sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for my appointment, so this will be brief. EXCELLENT work on your podcast–beautifully constructed and narrated and with an important message. More later…

  2. Back from the doctor. I apologize for the brief response earlier, but I wanted to give you a quick reaction on first listen.

    I actually don’t have much to add to that initial response, actually. I thought your podcast was exceptionally strong in the two areas that count most–content and production quality. Regarding the latter, there are several items that make your podcast stand out. The intro and outro music was handled very well. Fading in and out under your narration gives your narrative a flowing quality and would, if this were a regular series, enhance identification and familiarity. We’re so accustomed to music that fades (rather than ending abruptly) in these situations that we don’t notice when it’s done well. Yours is done quite well. Additionally, your pacing and inflection were very strong and your narrative was well rehearsed. If you did any editing, it was not noticeable.

    We could all learn from your effort here.

  3. As I mentioned before you had posted your final entry, your podcasts are exemplary in every aspect–strong production values, excellent content, and well serialized. The final example was no exception to that–well done in every aspect. But what makes this such a powerful response to this assignment is your reflection. When I created this assignment, my assumption was that most students would never have produced a formal podcast series. I expected the learning curve to be a bit steep in several aspects–using an audio editor (Audacity, in your case), creating targeted content, creating a serialized set of offerings, and sounding professional. Your deconstruction of the process is precisely what I hoped to hear from you–not just in terms of what you went through to create the podcasts but at least as importantly what value you see (or don’t see) in doing so. This statement:

    “Ultimately, I walk away from this assignment with an understanding of how great podcasts can be as both teaching and learning tools.”

    made my day. We tend to underutilize audio as a learning medium, especially when video is so accessible. But audio has some distinct advantages over video in many cases. It involves the listener more directly (think storytelling) and can, in the right circumstances, be accessed while you are doing something else. (Try watching an instructional video while driving.) (On second thought, don’t.) Sound effects and music set a soundscape for the listener that allow him/her to create mental images and mnemonics for the content being presented, as opposed to the visual images forced on the listener by video.

    The most powerful use of audio, though, comes when it’s the students who are producing it. The barrier for producing audio is low. Just about any device–a laptop, phone, iPad–and a quiet spot to record is the extent of the technical requirements. Beyond that, it’s the students’ knowledge and imagination that take over. I’ve worked with fifth graders on creating podcasts–weekly classroom news reports, original stories, targeted lessons, etc.–and have been incredibly impressed with their work. When you don’t have to pay attention to visuals, it’s the content and delivery that takes center stage. I’ve also noticed that students who create podcasts are more likely to seek out and listen to podcast content on their own.

    All that by way of saying that your project and reflection are a great model for this assignment. Thank you.

  4. This is really great Hailey! It definitely shows that you put the time into recording. Your voice is clear, you speak slowly so everything is understandable, and you come off having a very natural conversational tone. It’s pretty hard to tell you’re exaggerating. This is particularly impressive to me because that was definitely the hardest part when I was doing my recording. I’m naturally pretty fast-talking and droll with a side of heavy sarcasm and I think that was apparent in my voice. Listening to you is what I imagine a podcast should sound like :) I also enjoyed just how clear your layouts were. Your podcasts seemed to have a clear takeaway, which was helpful. All in all, they’re great and I think it shows that you actually enjoyed making them!

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