Thing 18 (Week 8): Publish a "Bare Bones" Podcast using Windows Sound Recorder, iTunes and Podbean


Introduction


photo by David Clow
photo by David Clow
As you learned in "Thing 17," a podcast consists of an audio file (in mp3 format) published to the web and an RSS feed (an XML file) that allows listeners to subscribe to your podcast using an RSS reader or podcatcher.

Technologically, producing a podcast is actually pretty easy. There are lots of free podcast hosting sites on the web, and many services available to help you host your own podcast and create the appropriate RSS feed. There are "pod-safe" music sites, offering Creative Commons-licensed music to enhance your podcasts. There are scores of recording devices, software options, and production tools to help you create polished, professional-sounding audio. (After you have survived this "Thing," and want to begin making "real" podcasts, with sound effects, multiple segments and background music, visit the Podcasting Resources page to learn about Audacity and other tools for your podcast).

Producing a quality podcast is not so easy. When you are ready to begin podcasting with your students, you will find the real work lies in planning, writing, editing, developing quality content, rehearsing and creating meaningful assessments. Just as blogging begins with reading, podcasting should begin with listening.

That being said, who can expect teachers to invest in all that planning and effort if they don't feel confident that they can actually produce the podcast?

So, let's make a podcast...


Discovery Exercise

Create a brief 1-2 minute podcast using Windows Sound Recorder, iTunes (MP3 Conversion) and Podbean. You DO NOT have to join or register for anything to complete this activity. (Feel free to create your podcast using Audacity or GarageBand if you know how -- you can still upload to Podbean).

This "Thing" asks you to just "dip your toe" into podcasting by using a free audio recorder that comes on every PC, a conversion feature in iTunes and a free podcast host (Podbean). The goal here is for you to produce a "legitimate" podcast with as few "moving parts" as possible.

¤ NOTE: If you want to record and produce "real" podcasts, you will use audio recording/editing software such as Audacity or GarageBand (for Macs), plus a podcast hosting solution of your choice. This is just meant to be a practice experience.

‡ HELP Tip: Be sure to plug in your microphone or headset before you get started.

What should my podcast be about?

You can make your podcast about anything you want (as long as it is school appropriate). You can tell a joke, share a story or recipe, provide a summary of a current event, present a book review, explain a concept, ask some questions, sing a song...

Here are the steps, with instructions and help resources:
Step 1: Record a basic audio file (WAV format) using Windows Sound Recorder.
  • On any Windows machine, go to: Start > (All) Programs > Accessories > Entertainment > Sound Recorder. Using Sound Recorder, you can easily record and save a WAV file to your desktop. (If you are working on a Mac, record and export in GarageBand, and go to Step 3 -- here's a 2-minute tutorial).
  • ‡ HELP Video: Recording in Windows Sound Recorder
Step 2: Convert your audio file to MP3 format using iTunes.
  • Open iTunes. Select File > Add file to library. Browse for your saved audio file and double-click it to add it to iTunes. In iTunes, click once to select the file (it will turn blue). Go to Advanced > Create MP3 Version. When the converted file appears, right-click it and select Copy. Close iTunes. Right click an empty area of your desktop and select Paste. The file should appear on your desktop.
  • ‡ HELP Video: iTunes MP3 conversion (You may first need to configure your iTunes to convert to MP3 - it's easy).
Step 3 - Upload your MP3 file to Podbean to create a podcast. (I have sent the username and password to your Gmail account).

(NOTE: You DO NOT need to create your own Podbean account. We will use a shared course account to host all of our podcast episodes. I have sent the log-in info to your Gmail account).


Our shared Podbean account:

http://k12learning20.podbean.com/

Task

Write a brief blog post sharing a bit about your podcast-making experience, including at least one idea you have for producing a podcast to support classroom learning (or your professional role). Be sure to include "Thing 18" in the post title.