Archive for the ‘podcasting’ Category

The major hurdle to jump when considering podcasting is where to host your files. As I mentioned in the first part of this series, creation of your audio project is only step one. Back in the day, you would record your cassette tape and give it to someone. That person would listen to it and return it; or listen to it, copy it, share it, and return it. That process has been made far more efficient and it is much easier to share with an immensely larger audience that can access it when THEY want it, not when you give it to them. Consider this the “pull versus push” scenario. In the “old days” you would “push” media to people. Now, people can “pull” it from a hosting site when they want or need it. In this case, we are going to use Tumblr as our host, our cloud platform from which people are going to pull our material.

There are two ways to use Tumblr as an audio hosting platform. One, you upload a previously created audio file as demonstrated in part 3 of this series. Alternatively, you can use the iPod Touch or iPhone application to record and upload the file wirelessly or via 3G to the Tumblr website. The two videos below will demonstrate both scenarios; the first video will cover the former while the second will cover the latter.

Please comment below with questions, concerns, or comments.

Cheers!

Podcasting with Tumblr – Part 1  – Accessing Tumblr and Uploading Audio Files

Podcasting with Tumblr – part 2 – Accessing Tumblr with the iPod Touch or iPhone App

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Podcasting Made Simple – Part 3 – Audacity

Posted: April 14, 2011 by Aaron Puley in education, podcasting
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The first platform that I want to discuss for recording podcasts is Audacity. This easy to use, free, open source software is available for download at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/. Version 1.2.6 is the latest stable version as is for the Windows 98/ME/2000/XP platforms.

Windows Vista and Windows 7 are not supported in Audacity 1.2.6. Please use Audacity Beta for these operating systems. All Audacity downloads can be found at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/windows.
To export your completed audio project as an MP3 for uploading to webhosts, you will also need to download the LAME MP3 encoder. Full instructions can be found here http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq?s=install&item=lame-mp3 and I will post a screencast in one of the upcoming posts.
The following video is my introduction to Audacity for you, using a Blue Snowball Snowball Microphone. This example demonstrates the laying down of three voice tracks with one audio track, some effects, simple editing, and the exporting of the file to the .mp3 format needed to upload to most web hosts. 

Part 1: Introduction to Audacity and the Recording of Audio Tracks
 

Part 2: Simple Editing, Moving Tracks, Adding Music, and Exporting to MP3

Podcasting Made Simple – Part 2 – Recording

Posted: April 12, 2011 by Aaron Puley in education, podcasting

Close-up of the Mini Microphone

The first step of any podcast is to record the speaking. This can be done in a variety of ways and the number of different microphones on today’s market is somewhat overwhelming. Here, we will focus on the Blue Snowball Microphone, The Blue Mikey, Thumbtack Mics, iPod earbud/microphones , and, of course, standard headset-type microphones, and internal computer microphones. The sheer number of microphone types are endless. The key is finding the right one for the job.

Podcasting is all about sharing your message with everyone that wants to listen, and it doesn’t take much to get your ideas from your head into your computer and online for the world to hear. Lots of computers include built-in microphones, and inexpensive headset mics are easy to come by and easy to use.

The Mini Capsule / ThumbTack Type Microphone

The mini capsule / ThumbTack microphone are inexpensive (I bought mine for $2.22 – the ThumbTack is a bit more at $12.99) and handy little devices that can provide recording capabilities to earlier iPod Touch Units. These units provide decent enough sound to record vocal audio (but don’t expect concert hall sound). Also, these units work best when they are pointed directly at the speaker. Ambient sound isn’t well received.

Along with the mini microphones, you can also use the Apple headphones that have a microphone attached. This earbud / microphone combination ships with most iPod Touch units these days but, if they don’t, they retail for about $35.00 at the Apple store online and at your local Future Shop / Best Buy. Apple also has a funky new set of earbuds that has the microphone built right into the earbuds themselves ($79.00 from Apple.com).

iPod Touch Microphones

Another great microphone that can be used with iPod Touch and iPhone units is the Mikey by Blue. The cool thing about the Mikey, however, is that it can make an iPod Classic a recording device. Without it, it is consumption only – able to play music and podcasts but not make them. The Mikey retails for $99.99 but is often on sale for $45.00 – $50.00 from Amazon (as it was during the time of this post).

A 3.5-millimeter stereo input jack allows you to record audio output from another device directly onto your iPod. Use this feature to record radio broadcasts, CD playback, or most any other audio source. (Amazon)

The Blue Mikey

I have been very impressed by the quality of the Blue Mikey and use it regularly with my iPhone and iPod Classic to record my presentations and voice memos to myself. The quality is very crisp and CD in quality.

Mikey’s recording head is hinged with seven locking positions, providing a 230-degree adjustability range. You can direct the microphone toward your sound source without changing your position. For instance, if you’re sitting on the top tier of an auditorium and want to record your professor’s lecture, you can rotate Mikey toward the sound source to obtain a clear, intelligible recording (Amazon).

The Mikey can be used during class discussions, small group presentations, or individual student reflections and / or reading. Just plug the Mikey into the bottom of the device and start the Voice Memo capability. It’s as simple as that!

With the Mikey, those iPod Classic units that you might be trying to find a use for just got a whole lot more attractive. Also, if students have iPod Nanos or Classics, then they can have an instant recording device just by plugging in this microphone.

The Blue Snowball Microphone

Another microphone that is fantastic for podcasting, and for recording the contributions and conversations of a group is the Snowball Microphone by Blue. The Snowball microphone is a simple plug-and-play device that is easy to use and easy to set up. The cool thing about the Snowball is that it is an omni-directional microphone –  it will pick up sound equally from all directions. Just put the microphone in the centre of a group of students while they’re having a learning conversation and listen to it later for assessment or post on your website (or other hosting platform – to be discussed in Part 3 of this series) to be shared by students anytime / anywhere.

The Snowball microphone is also an excellent choice for video conferencing via platforms such as Skype and Adobe Connect as all you have to do is plug it in and place it on the table close to the conversation. Multiple people within 360 degrees of the microphone can contribute without having to physically walk to the microphone. There are a few settings to tweak but nothing that onerous (I’ll post some tips in a following post).

The Snowball microphone retails for $99.00 but is often on sale for $45.00 – $60.00 depending on what colour you would like – choice of Aluminum, White, or Black. The Aluminum is very sharp – the white, however, is always the least expensive.

In the next post of this podcasting series, we will look at podcasting via Tumblr using Audacity to record and edit vocal tracks for upload. We will also look at how to easily create and post a podcast to Tumblr using the iPod Touch / iPhone App. There is an App for that afterall!

Podcasting Made Simple – Part 1

Posted: April 12, 2011 by Aaron Puley in education, podcasting

Livescribe paper-based computing platform includes a smartpen, dot paper and software applications that changes the way people capture, use and share audio and visual information with pen and paper.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Podcasting, posted with vodpod

MicrophoneToday, I presented on a variety of Podcasting tools that can be used in any classroom. The key here, is to present podcasting in the simplest manner possible, to make it easy, and to make it practical for any classroom teacher. All of the ideas and tolls posted herein can be used in small or large settings, with access to lots of technology or with limited access to the same. I particualy like the idea of podcasting in stattions. This provide students with an outlet to express themselves in new and creative ways in a focused and purposeful manner.As the culmination of an activity or as a place to reflect on a lesson or activity, podcasting is a perfect fit for enhancing lessons and the learning process; for providing a differentiated tool to motivate and engage students; and to increase the conversation among teachers and students, students and their peers, and students with their parents. The very nature of the podcast allows for files to be accessed and shared on the internet via simple hyperlinked text that directs to the location of the hosted file. As the following slideshare shows, the only things you need are a microphone / audio recorded, editing software such as Audacity, somewhere to host the podcast, and imagination / inspiration.