Wow! I can’t believe that the semester is coming to an end. During the process of this major digital project I was able to go through the many steps of creating a podcast. I originally chose this project because I listen to podcasts daily on my commute to work, but also because I recently discovered how they can be used in the classroom as well. Through my previous classes, I became aware of podcasting in the classroom and it immediately caught my eye. My goal was to record at least one episode that I would upload to Spotify for the world to hear. I only ended up recording more of a test episode, however I feel much more confident moving forward with this new skill set.
Getting Started: The first steps that I took to begin this process was doing some research. I listened to some podcasts about podcasting, reached out to some classmates doing similar projects, watched many Youtube videos about podcasting and found a few websites that were extremely helpful.
Next Steps: Once I solidified my understanding of what entailed creating a podcast, I started picking away at different aspects of it.
- First I decided to create my cover art. For this I used Canva to create a podcast specific sized graphic that I could upload to my profile. I recently found out that you can sign-up for the educator version and you receive all of the premium features for free. You can also add all of your students to your teacher dashboard within Canva. I started using Canva with my students to create digital posters during this whole process as well. It’s great because they can send me their product within Canva, and they can also download digital versions and upload their final products to their digital portfolios on Seesaw. So many of students enjoyed using the program and found that it was relatively user-friendly.
- After creating my cover art I moved onto creating a brainstorming vision board. At this point in time I still hadn’t quite narrowed down what I wanted the format and topics to be on the podcast. I didn’t want to limited myself to strictly teaching topics because most of the podcasts I listen to leisurely aren’t teacher related. I narrowed it down to 3 different types of formats and 3 different topic categories. For formats, I thought that I could do a combination of interviews, listener questions and personal reflections. The 3 categories that I narrowed it down to were teaching, learning (professional & personal) and living. I again utilized the creativity tool of Canva to create this vision board. I always find myself going back to this when I feel stuck about podcast ideas or to find inspiration.
- The last “creative” aspect of this project that I tackled was the music for the podcast. This one was the most tricky since I didn’t have a lot of experience with recording audio or seeking out programs to do so. I instantly remembered a fun tool that I use in the classroom for arts education called Chrome Music Lab. This tool allowed users to create their own jingles from actual keyboard notes. Even if you have no prior music knowledge it is still fun to play around with. I quickly became discouraged and reached out to a musically inclined friend for help. My good pal Cade Eastwood made me a jingle that I instantly loved and that was that! Check it out on Youtube.
Final Steps: To actually create my podcast test episode I recorded my voice using Audacity. This application allowed me to record and edit my voice afterward. After a few google and youtube searches I learnt that the most basic but effective editing tools for audio are background noise reducer, normalizer, equalizer and compressor. I took their word and it seemed to enhance the quality quite a bit considering the only recording equipment I was using was a cheap pair of headphones.
- After I recorded the main portion of my content, I then went over to Anchor FM to put it all together. This website is powered by Spotify so it was easy to create and upload it to the listening app. Additionally, this website provides you with great tools to make your episode even better. It has features such as recording, access to your personal library, music from Spotify, voice messages from others and transition sounds/music. I especially enjoyed playing around with the hundreds of transition sounds. Had I realized that these were included in Anchor FM I probably could have created intro and outro music with just this by its self too. Here you can check out the official test episode.
Podcasting In The Classroom: Now that I have spent much time exploring podcasting on my own, I am ready to take it into the classroom now. For the last three weeks before Christmas break, my students and I will be working through a podcasting unit in ELA. Podcasting is a great way to reach listening and viewing outcomes in a different format. you can also cover all other subject areas just within the topic of the podcast alone. For the first week or so my students will be diving into listening to podcasts and analyzing what makes a good podcast stand out from others. I found a wonderful resources on Teachers Pay Teachers (Paid a whole $2.50 for it but to me it was worth the investment for what they provided me with). I have included a small screen shot of what it looks like.
The second portion of the unit will have the kids working in small groups and coming up with their own mini 2-3 minute recording. I want them to write themselves a script for whatever they plan on talking about because I think it will alleviate some of the anxiety/stress that they may feel when recording themselves. I plan to have them use my computer and my new USB microphone I purchased from amazon to record their part. Then I can go in and make one big episode of all of them together and we can listen to it as a class. I can then share the link out the parents for them to view as well. I thought it might be fun to keep the podcast theme around Christmas and the winter holidays but still keep it broad so that the students can be creative with it. I think it will be a great keepsake for the kids and a fun memory from the class. Once we complete that I will make sure to post it on my blog. Thanks for following along with my podcasting journey!