To prepare myself for making my first podcast, I skimmed through PoducateMe - Practical Solutions for Podcasting in Education, an extensive and detailed 192 page resource. At first glance, this resource was daunting, partly because of its volume but also due to its technical language. I think this will be a very helpful resource to come back to when I have more time. I also looked at Eric Rice’s blog entry: How to build a 10 minute podcast. Rice claims that “as a society, people have become conditioned over generations to expect certain patterns in radio-like content” so he has created guidelines for producing short, organized shows that can help you either get started in podcasting or organize your existing podcast into manageable, predictable chunks. Rice provides some good ideas around structure to keep in mind for the future. Both of these are great resources but with the time crunch of these assignments I need something a little more basic, so I have returned to my favourite resource for Web 2.0 tools, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and other Web 2.0 Tools for Classrooms, by Will Richardson. Richardson gives instructions for making your first podcast in four pages of relatively clear instructions dotted with useful suggestions. At Richardson’s suggestion, I downloaded Audacity to create the MP3 file and then I spent a little time looking at the wiki Creating a simple voice and music podcast with audacity.
Going back to Richarson’s list of what one needs to make a podcast, I had the digital audio recorder that can create an MP3 file and the blog but still needed to think of something to say. I also needed to find a microphone and space on a server to host the file. I decided to start with reading a story as this is what I would like my students to do. I found St. Valentine’s Story on the internet and practiced reading it a couple of times. I made a few recordings without the microphone just to practice using Audacity and found I was satisfied with the sound, so didn’t bother searching out the microphone. Using Audacity was as simple as pressing record and stop. I used the tools to take out pauses, employing Richardson’s book as a guide. I tried to follow Richardson’s instructions to get music to add to my podcast by visiting Wikimedia Commons, but I could not export the music I wanted to Audacity. I finally gave up and decided to leave the story without music for now. I saved the file and remembered to export it as an MP3 file (located under the File menu), using yet another open-source software program called LAME, which is Audacity’s MP3 encoder. When I have a little more time, I will take another look at Creating a simple voice and music podcast with audacity and PoducateMe for tips on enhancing a podcast. For now, I need to focus on finding the server space and downloading the podcast to my blog.