I'm interested in podcasting (or, possibly, vodcasting) my daily lessons but am not sure how to accomplish this. I teach middle school science so it's not possible for me to be tethered to my computer and I'd like this to be a quick and easy process. Could somebody please give me some suggestions/advice on how to proceed and what my equipment needs might be.


Tags: podcasting, vodcasting, webcasting

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If your computer has bluetooth you can get one of those bluetooth headsets like people use on their phones. I tried this once and it works as a way to record your voice while walking around the room. You just have to pair it with your computer. If your computer doesn't have built in bluetooth you can get a usb adapter for pretty cheap.

Personally, I often create a video of my important lectures after school. You can move through the material/demos pretty quickly as you don't have to stop for students to keep up. If they need you to slow down they just pause and/or rewind.

I've found some of my demos do not play well on video (I'm a physics teacher), while others work better.

You can find my collected wisdom at a site I put together for a presentation I gave last year:
I started a podcasting "club" last year with my students. It was fun for them. I don't know what operating system you use, but I did everything through a Mac, so I'll explain it that way. It is super easy, and the kids pick it up quickly.

If you don't have a mac, there are programs that you can also use. I have to look them up again. I got the info for some of my students who wanted to continue but had a pc at home. Most of it was free/share ware.

I used their weekly vocabulary words as a base for starting. I thought it might be good for some of my students to hear the words. Perhaps you could let the students pick out science words that would be on the upcoming tests? Just throwing out ideas.

Pick the words you want, and using power point, make a slide of the word and the definition. You will have to practice a bit to get the size right to show up when you put it into garage band. Save the slides as .jpg files. Power Point has an option to do this.

In Garage band, you open up the program and start a new podcast project. The next step is to drop each jpg vocabulary "slide" into the top line. There are other lines you can add for voices. I had students pair up and take turns recording their voice.

You will have to give them one period in the beginning to "play" with the program to learn how to use it. It takes a bit of practice to move the picture (vocabulary slide) over the right amount of time. Once the kids learn, they breeze right through it.

Another way to do this is through a smart board. Smartboard has a capture feature on it where you can capture your voice and what you are doing on the screen. Here is a tutorial from youtube that describes how to use the smartboard.


One idea also is that there are some new little video cameras like the Flip that record straight to MP4, which is the format needed for podcasting. Flip cameras, from my experience, work best with PC's. You might want to purchase one of those, and set it up on a tri-pod and play from there. I have the sayno exacti, which is nice because I plug the video camera right into my lap top (a mac) and drop the videos right to the desk top. From there I can edit them in imovie. One of the new ipods just came out with video too, but I don't know too much about it to comment if it would be good. Something to research.

Good luck!

Keep us posted. I'm curious as to how you make out.
Promethean Activboards have the same recording software. You can download and use ACTIVinspire software for free, and I believe it has a recording option.
I have produced my own weekly news podcast and found that Audacity is excellent for recording and editting your audio.
the blue tooth idea sounds excellent as you dont want to be stuck at the microphone. garageband is a good host, files can be easdily uploaded.
I record my classes using the following free resources:

For a mic: I use either the built in mic from my laptop, or like Steve, I use a bluetooth ear piece and mic. This allows me to walk around.
Recording: I use Audacity. It's a free recording software and I recommend the beta version which alloaws you to export to MP3 format easily.
Podcasting: I use iTunesU but there are lots of Podcast hosts.

Rob (my blog)
I use Camtasia Studio and have created screencasts of all of the topics I teach. I have them on my site www.masterymaze.com. Click on the Subjects tab and the Ancient and US History topics were all created with this softwre. I have put them in iTunes as well under "Masterycast".

I have used these for 3 years now and they are a great resource for my students for review for tests and our Regents exams.

It is really easy-- I did it with no training.

Sue Palmer
If you are using GarageBand I have 3 great links that will teacher your students how to do this (I got from another teacher on 2.0). I provide a script to guide my students. I use it for creating News podcasts, we have done shows talking about presidential candidates, you could do book reviews, and more. Check out my class web page and view the Podcasting links...

Good luck!
My new favorite Web 2.0 tool for podcasting is Myna at www.aviary.com. Is really easy to use (I am a staff developer who coached a 6th grade science teacher) and it has sound samples just like garageband. In fact, I would say it is the garageband for PC users. I realize that you would be doing the podcasts, however below I have included a lesson for students doing the podcasting if you are interested...

We implemented podcasting into a CSI lesson where students had to podcast their reports. The lesson was effective because not only did it integrate technology in a meaningful way, but it incorporated many literacy strategies:

1) we discussed writing observations (qualitative vs. quantitative) + appropriate word choice
2) we talked about author's voice in the writing then transitioned into speaking and characterization
3) we practiced dramatic reading based on text meaning (we used a halloween poem and showed students who to accentuate specific words, add background effects like haunting laughs, etc.)
4) students made scripts and peer reviewed them as well

..... ALL before we even began recording our podcasts. In my opinion this is why the actual podcasting went so smoothly. Students were prepared and they knew the expecations for the project. We ended up recording our voices (which took a few time to practice + use short recordings of only a sentence or two) using the computer's recording software (start --accessories--entertainment---sound recorder). We did this because we had limited internet connectivity and space to download audacity. Students saved their recordings in their drop boxes. The next day we talked about podcasting and related to a story - it has a beginning, a middle, and an end! In our case the beginning and the end would be music intros and outros. Using aviary, they uploaded their voice recordings in the middle and in three-1 hour classes the students had created podcasts that 1) related to the curriculum, 2) threaded literacy skills, and 3) engaged and motivated all 78 students!!!!

Hope that helps - Jenny
Very cool. Can;t wait to check out this site in detail.

I would love more information about specifically using Aviary in the CSI unit if you wouldn't mind. What information did the students include in their report?
Aviary seems awesome! I just had two quick questions:

1.) It appears to be completely free to use -- is that so?
2.) Do you need to download any software or is all Web-based?

Thanks for sharing!
I checked out the resources at www.aviary.com and I'm looking forward to trying them in my classes


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