Sunday, April 29, 2007

How To Podcast and Screencast

Inspired to find out more about podcasting from a podcast posted by from January (post TT 35 1_10_07) that was on the topic , I attended the (no relation) conference held in Cranberry, PA in March. (How's that for the DNA replication and network of Web 2.0!)

Anyway, as frustrated as I was in finding the how-tos to podcast, I am delighted to find at how easy it is to podcast. Many thanks to Christopher Coole, a seventh grade math teacher from Franklin Regional School District (PA) who led the workshop I attended. Each week I'm discovering ways to do incorporate podcasts into my classroom and website. Granted I needed to buy a digital recorder. With the free download of iTunes and Audacity, and a free membership to Gcast. I've been on my way--recording assignment updates on the fly. My students are amazed that they can stay in the know on by syncing their iPods at home. Sure editing longer pieces can be more time consuming to do--a weekend project, but again, once they are in the can, I can refer students to them and save the chops. Students can listen to other class periods' Socratic Circle discussions.

I feel a bit like NPR's Lost and Found Sound team, noticing audible events to record for podcast. Not to have my recorder with me has become like being out for a walk, noticing an incredible sunset and being without a camera. Suddenly I'll be in the midst of what would make an interesting recording, only to discover didn't think to bring my recorder along--who knew there'd be great sounds here! To fill the void on how-to podcast, for the uninitiated I've published on my web site a five-page Quick Start Guide to Podcasting for Educators details the steps I've learned. Certainily there are other ways of going about it (and differences for Apple users). I only know what I know today and happy to share that. There will be a new way tomorrow. And ways exist to enhance the process with purchasable software, but this will suffice if you just want to give it a go on the cheap.

Screencasts, real-time presentations of audio and video capture of a computer screen, are ridiculously easy to make with free software from Microsoft--Microsoft Encoder--if you have a microphone. The Encoder wizard will teach you the rest. This weekend I tried my hand at a couple and couldn't believe the plug-n-play ease of the application. I see my summer projects lining up for next year's tutorials on Internet research, among other things. I posted a couple screencast tutorials to my website for students. One is on how to add links and images to our class blog. My students can get the tutorial when they need it and watch it as many times as they need.

The application of such technology to accommodate the myriad and sundry needs and paces of student learning will be far reaching indeed. In the blog roll I'm reading of oodles of innovations educators are developing. I invite all comers to comment on how you are using podcasts and screencasts to add to this post.

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