Podcasting was one of the first new things I experimented with this school year. A podcast is a downloadable audio file and is usually part of a series. It is essentially an internet radio show that you download and bring with you. The educational benefit to doing podcasts is that it develops public speaking skills and fluency. It is also a great way for students to be able to share their thoughts and stories with the world.
My first project with the students was a simple book review. The first student recorded their book review podcast using a program called GarageBand. GarageBand allows you to record and edit audio as well as insert loops of generic music and sound effects. It does have a bit of a learning curve to it and the files need to be converted out of GarageBand onto mp3 format. For subsequent recordings, I had the students record them using my iPod. Most of the students have their own and are very familiar with using them. From there I e-mailed them to myself. Once the files are created, they need to be uploaded and hosted on a podcasting service. The podcasting service stores the audio files and gives you links to the playable files. The company I use is podbean.com because it offers the service free and it is fairly easy to use. The links to their finished podcasts are on the student portfolio page of my site and on the podcast page of their sites.
Most kids were fairly enthusiastic about this project and very excited to go home and share with family. For future projects, I plan on letting students decide what topic they want to cover and how to present it. I will guide them to think about doing interviews, performing plays, or even singing song.
This may sound like a lot but it was really fairly simple and really engaging for the students. They were very excited to have an audience beyond the classroom and school. Want to try it? Let me know and I can get you started.