Playing Around with Podcasts

#ECI831

The perfect addition to driving home after a long day of work, or taking a road trip with my friends, or just for some easy entertainment, is throwing on a podcast. There’s something comforting about the fact that all you have to do is hit play and listen.

No screens, just listening.

Now, if you’re someone who is new to the podcasting world, according to Jennifer Gonzalez in Cult of Pedagogy, she says that “a podcast is a lot like a radio show. It has episodes, like a TV show would have, and it’s usually in audio-only format, although video podcasts do exist”.

I’ve been interested in podcasts for a couple of years now, especially the ones that are just for enjoyment. My most recent “guilty pleasure podcast”, Scrubbing in with Becca Tilley and Tanya Rad, allows me to listen to pop culture news and Grey’s Anatomy updates. If you’re someone who loves listening to True Crime, there are a lot of suspenseful podcasts out there that keep you engaged and intrigued. Similar to Catherine Ready, I was also “obsessed” with Season 1 of  “Serial”.

At the end of the day, if you need to learn something, if you need inspiration, or if you just need a laugh, there is a podcast out there for you!

Which brings me to my latest assignment for #ECI831“find a tool or app that you haven’t used before that could be used to make learning visible”. Since I’ve had an interest in this tool for such a long time, I decided to play around with Podcasting.

I’ve been noticing a lot more teachers and educators using podcasts in their classroom so that their students can listen and learn. For example, But Why “is a podcast for curious kids” that has kids asking questions and the podcast hosts finding the answers.

Another popular podcast for the classroom is Book Club for Kids, where middle-years students review middle school books for their listeners. These podcasts, along with more, are outlined in more detail in Cult of Pedagogy’s post called “8 Great Educational Podcasts for Kids”. Choosing podcasts for your students to listen to, likes these ones and many others, allow for increased engagement in the classroom.

So how can we have even more engagement with students, that goes beyond listening?

By creating.

Which is why I chose to get more experience with creating a podcast, so that in turn, I can teach my students how to develop their own podcasts in the classroom, and in the end, share their views, demonstrate their learning, and have a voice.

My first task was to choose a platform. Since I’ve never actually made a podcast before, I did some digging around, but in the end, I decided to take my question to Twitter. I asked my followers to give feedback based on two different podcast options.

I received some great feedback from my followers, as well as my own classmates Catherine, Curtis, and Brad.

After taking some time to explore both options, Zencastr and Anchor, and taking my followers opinions into account, I found that Anchor was the best option for me. I tested both platforms for their sound quality, and they came out very similar. If I were to do a podcast in two different locations, Zencastr would be a better option because you can “simply send a link and receive a separate track per guest”. Since I wanted to host my podcast in one location, I went with convenience and chose Anchor.

I decided to give you a breakdown of the platform Anchor and what I learned from my experience with it.

Positives:

  • Google Friendly
    It’s Google friendly for signing in. According to Jessica in her recent blog post about Explain Everything, this “is helpful for a ‘google school’ with significant use of Chromebooks and Google Drive” and takes away the stress of signing in with new log-ins and passwords for students.
  • Easy to use
    Anchor stands by the fact that “every feature in Anchor is designed to be so straightforward that anyone (even people with zero podcasting experience) can pick it up and start using it right away”. When recording with Anchor, students just have to click record to start their creations.
  • Simple Editing
    With simple editing tools and easy to follow steps, it’s beneficial and less overwhelming for younger students and people with less experience to use this podcast platform.
  • Fun Features
    You can add music, sound effects, and transitions. This gives students the chance to be creative with their projects! They can make their podcasts come to life for their listeners.

Downfalls:

  • Clip Splitting
    There is a basic and easy to use feature that allows you to split the audio into multiple segments. However, unlike iMovie, the splitter doesn’t magnify it into milliseconds, which makes it hard to cut and trim audio to perfection. Fortunately, students don’t need the extensive features with editing, so the basic audio trimmer would be enough for them.
  • The Undo Button
    I live by the “undo” button when I am creating projects, making blogposts, or writing in a document. Unfortunately, the “edit undo” feature in Anchor was nowhere to be seen. I tried to find it on my toolbar, in the editing features, and on my keyboard, but it wasn’t available to my knowledge. Since I couldn’t undo a lot of my mistakes during the editing, it took a lot more time to fix errors. For students, this would be a hard lesson to learn since the undo feature on so many apps and tools is so easily accessible.
  • Embedding
    When I finished editing and posting my podcast, I was excited to easily embed it right into my post. However, unlike YouTube videos, Twitter posts, and Gifs, it’s not as smooth to embed a podcast into your blog post. I used a tutorial video from CB Nation to help me embed the podcast. If you had student blogs in your class, it would take some time to teach them how to embed their podcasts into their blog posts.

Even though there were some struggles with using the podcasting tool Anchor, there are always areas of growth with any technology tool, and in the end, the positives outweighed the pitfalls. I was satisfied with this convenient, user-friendly, creative platform and I want to use it with my students in the future.

My question is, have you had success with using a podcast for creating content and displaying learning in your classroom? I am especially curious if podcasts can be successful for primary students who need more guidance and support.

I am looking forward to seeing how podcasts can enhance learning in my classroom. After all, I had so much enjoyment and satisfaction in creating my own.

So, without further ado, I present to you my very first podcast about technology in the classroom. Click the link, and then all you have to do is hit play and listen.

*For those of you who aren’t Spotified users, check out my podcast directly on Anchor.

-Amanda

9 thoughts on “Playing Around with Podcasts

  1. Great post and podcast. The two of you sounded like you were have fun with your conversation which is so important to a podcast. Looking forward to hearing more Appy Hour Podcasts.

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  2. Great review! There have been a few ‘Anchor’ reviews this week and you nailed it pointing out the lack of an ‘undo’ button! I just kept deleting entire clips and starting over, so this function would be very useful. Also, great podcast! I agree with Dean – it’s sounded so fun and conversational. I’m not in a primary classroom, but I feel like that age group would do very well with an app like Anchor, since it’s so easy to use and kids are very intuitive with technology. But you would probably get bogged down with the logging in, exporting, etc. I’m also curious to learn how these are used with younger grades!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Catherine! Just like you were saying, I would have to delete clips while I was editing and start over too! It was finicky at times. I am glad you liked the podcast! I loved having a conversation based podcast. I think students would love that style as well. I hope to try it out in my classroom at some point soon, so I’ll let you know how students handle the logging in, creating, editing and exporting. I am also in the process of setting up another interview-style podcast to record next week, so I’ll keep you posted and I would love for you to listen to the next one too 🙂

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  3. Wow!! Such a great review – I so appreciate how detailed you were in breaking down each component. I loved listening to it and agree with the comments above – it sounded like so much fun!! I love listening to podcasts when I have to commute or go on long trips and it’s tone of voice that makes such a difference. Really well done!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Jessica! I’m glad the review was helpful. Honestly, it was such a user friendly tool. I did all my editing on the computer, but I’ve also heard that editing on the app is easy as well. Thanks for listening to the podcast as well. I’m glad my tone of voice is easy to listen to haha. I’ll let you know when the next one is out!

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  4. I was eagerly following your Twitter post and the replies you were getting since I will also be trying a podcast as part of my assignment. Way to leverage the wisdom of the crowd but to delve into the two tools so well on your own.
    Your first episode was very well done – it was interesting, well edited and easy to listen to. I am looking forward to your next!

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