Saturday, November 8, 2008

Topic 2 Podcast

As I was unable to upload the podcast to this blog, I added it to another blog that I created on my school district server:

What I have learned about pod-casting:

I have learned that pod casting is relatively easy to do, although I still have a lot to learn before I can go pro. (There are so many special effects that I haven't explored yet!) Until recently I had been using Audacity for recording audio files in my classroom, but now that I have experimented with Garage band, I will probably continue using the pod casting function of this great, multi-media program. Once again, Apple has made it so user friendly that it almost feels like I am cheating. But then again, who says that technology needs to be difficult?

One thing I need to remember to do before I begin using podcasts with my students is to warn them that they will need Quicktime or Windows Media Player on their computers before they can listen to them. I should also attach a link to a website that will allow them to download one of these tools for whichever format they need. Another thing I should verify is whether or not listeners who are not using a Mac computer can actually see the images I attach to the sections or 'chapters' of the pod cast. I also need to find out why iWeb asked me for a URL address when I tried to upload the podcast to my Final project even though I chose the menu option 'Publish to a Folder' .

What I found was tricky:
The hardest part, as far as I can tell, seems to be publishing. I tried several times to publish the podcast to this blog and to a couple of other blog sites that I have been using at school such as technology and . Despite the fact that these sites contain built-in podcast options, I was never able to upload my recording to either of them. Each time I tried, I received the same error message telling me that the file size is limited to 50MB, although when I checked the size of the MP3 audio file, it wasn't nearly that large. I will again attempt to upload my podcast to these sites, but in the meantime I have sent an email inquiry to the tech support department at my district about this problem. Consequently, I have realized that I still need to figure out how I will be able to upload my Final project (using iWeb) at the end of this course.

Managing file sizes still seems a bit tricky to me, and I also don't understand what it means when a file I am trying to upload has 'timed out' or even if there is anything I can do to prevent this from happening.

What I would do differently next time:
Since I knew that the fan motor on my desktop is so loud that it would be heard on the recording, I started recording my podcast on my Macbook. I was surprised when the motor on my Macbook kicked in and also made noise, although it wasn't nearly as loud. I stopped recording each time this happened and waited for the motor to stop making noise. For this reason, I now think it would be better to use an external, unidirectional microphone when recording my voice. Another thing I learned, and will do differently from now on, is that I will start off a project by 'scripting' my session ahead of time. I originally thought I could record the pod cast spontaneously since I knew what I wanted to talk about and I had gathered the information I needed and even had it written out on several small pieces of paper. After several attempts at recording this way, however, I quickly discovered that it is indeed important to have a script to read from, which ultimately allowed me to focus on my diction rather than on what I was going to say next. I would also plan to use the same computer to complete the project once it is started since I discovered that the podcast I created on my new Macbook (using Garage Band in iLife '08) was not able to be exported to the iWeb program on my desktop computer which has the '06 version of iLife

How would I use podcasts to teach students or have students to produce their own podcasts to enhance learning in my classroom?
As a World Languages teacher I can think of a myriad of uses. I could show my students images and video clips and ask them to comment on them. I could also ask them to publish a 'talking journal' entry each day or once a week to promote fluency in speaking the language. I could ask them to listen to podcasts that are already available on iTunes so that they could get practice hearing other voices speaking in French while reinforcing their grammar and vocabulary. I could also connect the sound enhancement system in my classroom to my computer so that I could potentially record my lessons 'live' and make them available with the accompanying 'notes' on my classroom web log for students who were absent or for those who wish to review the material.

My ideas on adding audio to my instruction.
Since I am contemplating using more podcasts in my classroom to record important lessons, I really must solve the problem I encountered when I tried to publish this podcast to the district server. I must also find a URL address that will allow me to publish and archive these recordings.

I now know that podcasts are being used more and more commonly in university environments all over the world, so I am starting to wonder why they have not yet been integrated into the online courses of the Instructional Technology program at Regis University? This is not a reflection on my current professor, merely a realization that podcasts could have been very helpful and would have made some of the online instruction more interesting and relevant. In fact, now that I am thinking of it, why aren't there more screencasts and video tutorials to help students with the technology we are learning to use? After all, isn't example the best teacher?


Sheila said...

I did a little checking to find the answers to some of my own questions, and I found this page on my district server which should be very helpful:

Saylor's Computer Classes said...

. I also need to find out why iWeb asked me for a URL address when I tried to upload the podcast to my Final project even though I chose the menu option 'Publish to a Folder' .

Publishing to a folder just puts a folder on your computer. You then need to put that computer onto a web host. I use transmit a free FTP program. You can pay but also can use it free this lets me put my files up to the server. Publishing to a folder also takes your whole site, not just the podcast. That may be your size problem. You can find your audio file on your computer and then use HTML code to place it on a server from your district. Timing out just means taking too long with no response or using too large bandwidth which knocks you off. I can get this from school but do better at home. Technology seems like a constant challenge, you just have to keep trying and know when to walk away for the day, things always work better the next day and my brain has found ideas over night to try.

Sheila said...

OK, I need to know more about FTP programs. I typed in and I got a screen, but nothing happened. If I subscribe to Mobile,Me will I be able to upload podcasts and my iWeb (Final Project)? Doesn't Regis offer web space for students?

I can easily attach a MP3 audio file to my classroom weblog, but I like adding the images as a support for what I am describing, which is why I am trying to resolve the Podcast publishing issue. I really wish my students could subscribe to my podcasts like an RSS feed, sending it automatically since they tend to forget what they don't want to remember (i.e. assignments)