I will have to admit, I am constantly hoping that my obsession with podcasts is about to become a cultural trend. Because this is a medium I love so much, I have decided to make a podcast for my students. So far, I have recorded 4 episodes. You can find them in iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Below is the process I use to make these episodes.
To make my classroom podcast, I use Audacity. It is a free software program you can use to record audio with multiple tracks and effects. When I start a new podcast episode, I insert my theme music. I found a song called Archimedes, by Jason Stazcek that fit the mood I was going for on freemusicarchive.org. If you are planning to make a podcast of your own, I strongly recommend going here to find your theme music and any other background music you want. It ensures you are not violating any copyright laws.
The next thing I do is record an introduction, based upon a script I wrote and keep in a Google document. I will modify this script slightly each week for the episode, but it mostly stays consistent. I will then go back and add the Autoduck effect to the parts where I speak, so the music doesn't overpower the audio. Then, I add a fade in and fade out. This will lead into the portion where I record myself reviewing the content for the week. I will often focus on important concepts and common misconceptions when I speak. I will add background audio I found on freemusicarchive.org to this part and add an Autoduck effect. Then, I record the closing portion with the theme music, like I did in the introduction.
After saving the file to an mp3, I will use the MP3 gain program that levels out the volume level on the track. I upload this new file to my SoundCloud account and it gets pushed out to the world via the built-in RSS feed. Per my former professor, Brian Yuhnke, I added the rss feed to Blubrry.com and iTunes to allow easy access. The good news is that you only need to do this once, and your podcast will automatically get pushed out to listeners. For the artwork, I simply used my teacher logo over an image I found in the public domain of Flickr. I use Paint to add any text or modifications. Again, once I set it up, I only have to edit the image a little for each episode.
As far as how my podcast is going, I'm not getting many students to listen. I was told that while it is great review, hearing me speak is kind of boring. To change things up, my new idea is to include interviews of their classmates on the podcast. What do you think? How else can I change things up to get students to listen and review math at the same time?
Mattea Garcia is a passionate educator dedicated to improving instruction by utilizing technology. This blog is dedicated to reflections on educational technology tools, instructional coaching, and educational equity.