Tag: Podcasting

Radio EDUtalk session: talking podcasting, badges, and tools for productivity with John Johnston

On Wednesday night I was interviewed by John Johnston for Radio EDUtalk. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing John for what seems like an online lifetime — he was part of that early cadre of edtech bloggers 10+ years ago.

As you can see from the header image on the site, Radio EDUtalk was set up back when my hair was a little less grey! It’s a service for educators featuring regular interviews as well as captured conference sessions for those not able to attend. Educators are also free to upload their own audio.

I’ve been involved with Radio EDUtalk on a few occasions over the years. This particular session was a free-range discussion about what I’m up to at the moment. So during the hour, John and I discuss:

  • The resurgence of podcasting as a medium
  • Some of my experiences at Mozilla
  • How I see the current Open Badges landscape
  • The ‘digital literacy divide’
  • Blockchains, smart contracts, and the future of work

It was great talking to John, and I hope you get some value out of listening in to our conversation. The audio should be embedded below but, if not, click here to listen!

HOWTO: Create a podcast

Background

A couple of months ago, Dai Barnes and I decided to start podcasting again. We’d previously been regular hosts of EdTechRoundUp and wanted to get back into the routine. We decided to meet each weekend with a loose agenda, talk for between 45 minutes and an hour, edit the recording, and put it out each Tuesday. We’re calling this Today In Digital Education (TIDE).

Quick note: technology
A podcast is an audio file plus an RSS feed. Just sticking an MP3 on a web server doesn’t make it a podcast – there has to be an enclosure generated that allows users to have each episode delivered to them.

Recording the audio

Perhaps the easiest way to record a conversation is to use Skype and a plugin that records both sides of the audio. I’ve actually detailed this process before, and haven’t deviated much from it, so check out this post.

Quick note: naming
You should double-check that there’s no-one else using the name you came up with. We had to change the title of our podcast slightly as there was already a student-run podcast out of the University of Alabama! It’s also a good idea to grab as many URLs for the podcast as possible. This means you can switch platforms but keep the URL consistent.

Publishing your audio

In the first instance we decided to try Tumblr to make the podcast available to listeners. I wanted something that was super-straightforward, and Dai was keen to show to his colleagues that it isn’t just filled with dodgy stuff. As it happens, although this made it easy to listen to recordings via Tumblr itself, it wasn’t such a great idea for creating a compatible RSS feed.

Thankfully, the wonderful SoundCloud has a beta program called SoundCloud for Podcasters which we were quickly accepted into. This gives you an RSS feed people can use to subscribe to. It’s worth pointing out that people can also subscribe to you via the SoundCloud app itself.

We’ve retained the Tumblr blog as SoundCloud doesn’t seem to allow hyperlinks in the show description.

Quick note: costs
It’s pretty inevitable you’re going to spend some money creating your podcast. It can be done for free, but it’s more difficult than using awesome tools that make the job easier. Other than both owning Macs (which are great for multimedia!), here’s the things we’ve paid for:

Sorting out your RSS feed

It’s a good idea to take the RSS feed generated by whatever platform you use and pipe it through FeedBurner. There’s lots of options here, but ensure you pay attention to the Optimize tab and the BrowserFriendly, SmartCast, and SmartFeed settings. Note that you’ll need an image for your logo that’s larger than 1400px x 1400px to be compatible with iTunes.

Piping the RSS feed through FeedBurner means that if you change to a different platform (with a different RSS feed) this won’t affect your listeners. In the same way that you can have a URL that redirects to Tumblr, WordPress, or whatever, so your FeedBurner-powered feed is a front end for whatever RSS feed you point it towards.

Quick note: learning from others
One of the best ways to know what works with podcasts – in terms of content, structure, and how to describe yours, is to listen to some good ones. Here are three of my favourites (not including BBC Radio 4 radio shows released as podcasts):

Submitting your podcast to directories

If you’ve got an iPhone or iPod Touch then you’d be forgiven for thinking that everyone uses iTunes to subscribe to podcasts. But, of course, they don’t. Currently, the best places to submit your podcast are:

  1. iTunes (looks complex, but FeedBurner should have you covered)
  2. Stitcher SmartRadio
  3. Miro
  4. iPodder
  5. Blubrry
  6. DoubleTwist
  7. Libsyn

You only have to do this once for each service. There’s also a list here.

Conclusion

Setting up a podcast can seem quite technical but, follow the above advice and that which you search for, and you’ll be OK. Be comforted in the knowledge that once the flow is all set up correctly, all you’ll have to do is record your podcast, edit it, upload it, and write something about it each time. Everything else will happen automatically!

Have you got any remaining questions? I’ll try my best to answer them if doing so is of benefit to other readers, too! Ask away in the comments below. 🙂

Image CC BY-NC-SA Oliver Hartmann

Podcasting: a 3-step guide

Podcasting overview (2)

Some members staff were unable to make some or all of the E-Learning sessions I put on regarding podcasting. I’m therefore re-running them this half-term over the next three weeks.

Podcasting: Step 3 – Converting and uploading your podcast ready for the masses!

podcasting3_small

Before reading this, you should have gone through the steps indicated in these two posts:

In this last part of the Podcasting guide, we’re going to convert our audio masterpiece to a format suitable for mobile audio players and the Internet, and make it available as a podcast! This will involve 3 steps:

1. Converting your audio to MP3

2. Sending your MP3 file to your blog

3. Getting your students/colleagues to subscribe to your podcast

To get started, follow the guide below! 🙂

Podcasting: Step 2 – Recording and editing your podcast

rss_headphones
Read/act on this first:
Podcasting: Step 1 – RSS and setting up a teacher blog

In the last session we set up a blog and learned what RSS was. Let’s just remind ourselves of what podcasting is, shall we?

So podcasting is when you deliver audio files to ‘subscribers’ automatically using an RSS feed. This RSS feed is generated automatically by the Posterous-powered blog you set up in Step 1. 🙂

In this session we’re going to be using a program called Audacity. This is available for all platforms – Windows, Mac and Linux. It is free and Open Source software. Audacity is already installed on the computers we shall be using at school, but if you need to download it at home, you can find it here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net

Note: we will need a ‘plugin’ for Audacity to be able to export to MP3 format, but we’ll leave that for next session!

Instead of re-inventing the wheel, we’ll be making use of the excellent video guides to using Audacity that can be found here: http://www.how-to-podcast-tutorial.com/17-audacity-tutorial.htm

These are the ones you should focus on today:

  1. The editing tools
  2. Basic editing and trimming your audio
  3. Importing audio and adding music to your podcast

When you save your audio, just save it as a WAV file. We’ll work on exporting to MP3 next time. If you’re looking for music that you can legally and safely use in your podcasts, check out the links at the bottom of the Wikipedia page for ‘Podsafe’.

Podcasting: Step 1 – RSS and setting up a teacher blog

Podcast

Over the next three weeks, staff e-learning sessions will focus on getting started with podcasting. This first session starts off with the basics you will need as a teacher before even pressing that ‘record’ button:

  1. An understanding of what RSS is.
  2. A blog onto which to put MP3 files.

The easiest way to get your head around what RSS is and how it means that audio files can be delivered to interested parties automatically is by watching this excellent explanatory video prepared by CommonCraft:

A podcast differs from simply placing an audio file on the Internet because of RSS. It means that new content can be ‘pushed’ to interested parties rather than them having to manually check for updates. The process of interested parties requesting that podcasts are delivered automatically is known as ‘subscribing’.

Now that you know what RSS is, you need to have a mechanism by which you can generate one. In our case, this is going to be a blog. Anything that you add to a blog post will be automagically turned into a subscribable podcast.

To learn how to set up a blog, check out the elearnr guide entitled:
Creating a homework blog in 3 simple steps using email

If you want to jump ahead and have a go podcasting before the next session, you should visit the Box of Tricks website where José Picardo has put together an excellent short presentation entitled Podcasting in Five Easy Steps. 😀

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