In recent years (if I must pinpoint a date it would be the summer of 2005) I became aware of the growing trends of podcasts in education. I explored podcast creation briefly, even making a couple of podcasts for my former school, using kids for all the talking, to post episodes that could be subscribed to through iTunes. I was a pod-fader however, because after making a couple of episodes, I lost interest. I cannot even find them on the Internet site I hosted them on, Podomatic. Honestly though, they were not riveting enough to refer back to. (Sue Waters told me recently that Podomatic suffered a glitch some time back, and lost all of her hosted episodes, so maybe that is why I can’t find the ones I had made previously.) But admittedly I am a pod-fader.
I remember being inundated with ideas for podcasts and video projects–never thinking to combine my two interests into a video-podcast. At NECC 2005 I went to every session that would cover podcasting or video editing. Back at school, after successfully recording and uploading the few podcasts I had students create, I let my interest sway, and began focusing more on video editing. I had some good success–I even went out and bought a firewire card for my computer so I could drop raw video from cameras into my computer for editing, and (shock and horror) opened up my computer and installed it myself. (I never asked my IT for help b/c I was so afraid they would say no. I just did it. I’m such a rebel.) Needless to say once I had mastered dropping video I began exploring video editing, and the rest is history. I mastered the freebie Windows Movie Maker, and progressed to Pinnacle (though I’m no expert at it) and even decided to move over to a MAC for better editing possibilities, and have dabbled with the industry standard program, Final Cut Pro.
Recently I was asked to give a podcasting workshop, so I needed to refresh my memory on it. Of course, now having a mac, I found the process simpler and cleaner in Garageband. But my workshop attendees as well as the teachers at my school were all using pcs, so I needed to brush up on my podcasting pc skills. I inquired around to find out who was the nearest district expert in podcasting, and made an appointment to meet with him. I just needed to clear up my fuzzy memory about all the steps to making a podcast. I found that the “expert” knew no more than me, and wound up picking my brain more than I picked his. I will even go so far as saying his podcasts are not podcasts, but rather audio files hosted on a static website. OMG! The part I was fuzzy on was getting them so that they have a feed and could be subscribed to through iTunes! He did not have a clue. Back to the drawing board. (NOTE: It was not a total loss, as I was introduced to a program he uses called Acid Music that really brings out the creative juices if they are there. Also, in his defense as well as many others, many educators feel it’s okay to call an audiofile hosted on a static website a podcast. It’s just me and my own personal refusal to believe an audio file is a podcast if doesn’t have a feed. So I will not slight him or any other educator who does this. I even take back my initial impression that his podcast program is a “poser,” a “wannabe.” It’s more than I had at the time.
I knew that a podcast simply needed an rss feed. So I do began scouring my networks for tips, tricks, ideas, and more to clear up what I fuzzily remembered from before. Thanks to MANY, but mostly John Woodring of Bluffton School District, who literally over the phone walked me through the step that allowed me to give my podcast a feed.
My friend Mr. Granito from school also created his first, and really all I can say that I did was encourage him. He is using feedburner for his feed, while I am using my edublogs site. I did have to delve into the forums to get an extension for my rss address, which translates to adding to the end of the blog’s url “/wp-rss2.php” so that iTunes could pick it up. Speaking of iTunes, John pointed out to me that all I needed to do was go to the iTunes store, point to podcasts, then scroll to the bottom to the section “Learn More” and use the information there. I used the “Submit a podcast” link there, and the rest is history. So I am now once again a podcaster. Will I be a pod-fader again? Only time will tell. I’ve added a podcast feature to the “@ the CMS Library” blog and to a new blog for school called “CMS Tiger Talk.” All are recorded by me, but hopefully I’ll be able to get others on board to help or better, create their own.
I must thank Mr. G for motivating me–his excitement is infectious. I also can thank Dean Shareski who shared the iTunes image and showed me where he hosts his podcast. Now the natural step is to progress to a video podcast. I have the podcast skills and I have the video skills, so now I just need to figure out how to make a video-podcast, right? Let’s just hope the next best thing doesn’t make me lose interest or I will once again be a podfader. I think I will ask for a digital recorder for Christmas. Anyone have recommendations?