Welcome to TCEA Responds #4. Submit your own question(s) online. Today’s topic is podcasting resources.
Dear TCEA Responds:
Do you have any resources you love on podcasting? I’m interested in playing with the idea of starting one!
Thanks in advance,
Podcasting is one of my favorite ways of sharing ideas with others. The maxim of “begin with the end in mind” makes your tool selection appropriate. Over the years, I have narrowed my tools and apps down to a few situations. Let’s take a look at these situations.
Podcasting on the go, or audio snapshots, is one of my favorite approaches. Since “make thinking visible” is a personal goal, I love interviewing people at conferences and workshops in their own setting, taking an audio snapshot of their thinking as it is happening. Your audio capture tool has to be ready to go fast since you are trying to capture people’s thinking as it is happening. Two tools you can use include Voxer (free for iOS and Android) and Voice Record Pro (free for iOS only) or HiQ MP3 Recorder Pro ($3.49 for Android only).
With my mobile phone (since I have it with me), I record using one of these apps and then share the link. Voxer’s My Notes (a.k.a. Notes to Self) features audio-recording for less than fifteen minutes. This is ideal for conferences and workshops (whether you are facilitating or just attending) because you can tap and share the link to a voxercast (what I call it) to the world via Twitter.
For Voice Record Pro or HiQ MP3 Recorder, you can save the MP3 audio file to your favorite cloud storage and then share the link. Both apps have WiFi drive capability, which allows you to connect to your mobile phone on the same WiFi network and save the audio files to your computer (e.g. laptop, Chromebook). It’s worth mentioning that Voice Record Pro has simple audio editing features (e.g. slicing audio wave down) that make it easy to remove a long pause at the start or end of an audio recording.
A conversation-based podcast features a long-form interview or conversation. These conversations usually involve at least two people, taking advantage of Skype, Google Hangouts/YouTube Live, AppearIn, or some other technology. In fact, I’ve had chats over a phone speaker and recorded the resulting audio using my computer with a USB microphone placed in a strategic location.
Although there are many tools for recording a conversation between two or more people, my favorite is Skype on a computer. That may be because I invested in Skype recording software for both platforms, so I rely on those tools (MP3 Skype Recorder for <$10 on Windows, Call Recorder for $30 on Mac) to capture audio.
This particular type of podcast usually benefits from a script of some sort that identifies questions. You are usually producing the audio and putting it online via your own host. As such, they are great for in-house shows.
If you’re ready to reach a much wider audience, and you’re prepared to make a long-time commitment rather than the once-in-awhile podcast, then take a look at the BAM Radio Network (get started here).
A reflection podcast is just that, a reflection on previously discussed or shared content. My favorite one, #edchat, is the one featuring Tom Whitby. I have learned quite a bit just listening to these ten-minute edchat radio reflections on the week’s previous Twitter chat (which I usually miss). I can certainly imagine this for a school district’s twitter chat (e.g. #nisdchat). Wow, what a great conversation if you were to have school leadership reflect on a previous week’s twitterchat.
Vidcasts (a.k.a. Enhanced Podcasts)
Enhanced podcasts combine videos or pictures and sound, ending up as MP4 video files online that you can share on YouTube. What’s neat about these is that you can publish them as videos and/or audio-only versions sans pictures. Combine PowerPoint and Office Mix to make these, or use simple video editing tools like WeVideo, Shotcut, or Techsmith’s Camtasia to record content. You can also use Google Slides and Screencastify. If you like working with video, then this may be the way to go for the future. A nice alternative is Microsoft Sway for podcasting.
Listen to Podcasts
Want to publish in a magazine? Read every issue to get a feel for what they publish. Do the same for podcasting. One way to listen to many podcasts involves getting apps like Overcast (my all-time favorite app on iOS) and Stitcher to listen to audio casts.
Some Tips To Keep in Mind
Ready to get started with a podcast of your own? Remember that podcasts are like pets. They’re cute and cuddly when little, but they require money (e.g. microphones for podcasting and other stuff), constant attention (schedule them with regularity and consistency to build your audience), and an inexhaustible guest list. Here are my tips from over ten years of podcasting:
- Have fun learning while you record and share.
- Keep your podcast topic focused on something open-ended. You get the benefit of being focused while not locked into a dead-end subject.
- Create a shared document (e.g. Google Doc, Word Online, OneNote) that you has all your rules and sample scripts that you can pass onto guests.
- Invite guests to sign up on their favorite date using a shared spreadsheet.
- Audacity is a great audio editor, and you can use it with copyright-friendly audio.
- Figure out where you are going to host your audio. Soundcloud works great, as does Google Drive (what I use), or make vidcasts that can be placed on YouTube.
Enjoy the journey, and try not to let this legal guide to podcasting scare you away!