Podcasting an engaging tool

Wow, time can get away for you once the school year begins. So this year I was trying to incorporate a new technology that would promote the use of technology and not require a ton of time on my part to create. I also wanted it to be some thing that the kids would enjoy want to participate in. So I settled on a Pod cast.

As it turned out they loved it and I have had some good success with it. I currently use it as a way to introduce a topic or individual in my lessons. Each week I describe a person, place or thing that will be discussed in class. I post the podcast on Monday and they have until Friday to post their answer to a forum on our website or email me the answer. I know full well that they will get the answer in class before the due date.

What I found out about podcasts amazed me. One, students love to listen to them and they do get their attention and keep it. Two, the podcast must not be longer than a commercial break 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Three, include something at the beginning that will engage them such as a question, riddle or joke. I used the joke and even though my jokes are bad they talk each week about what the dumb joke will be and actually look forward to hearing them.  Four, give them some type of activity to do after they are done listening. My typical podcast layout goes as follows:

  1. Introduction on me with music.
  2. Overview of the topic of the pod cast
  3. Musical break
  4. Joke
  5. Musical Break
  6. Main content of pod cast and assignment
  7. Ending music

Once I created the template for my podcast each week I just change the joke and the main content and publish. I am able to complete these pod casts in less than 10 minutes. I found them to be a great way to introduce technology in the classroom.


Podcasting 101 Good Free Software

Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks. School started and it has been a frenzy trying to get all the technology up in our building and get everything up and running. But, finally we have gained the upper hand and hope to keep it for the duration of the year.

So I am back and as the year has begun I have started to again use the podcast to prep students for class or cover material that I do not have time to cover in class. In this blog I wanted to discuss a great tool to create podcasts. That tool is Audacity.

This is a free program that is simple to use and more than powerful enough to create any type of podcast. You can download this program at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/ .

Windows users be sure to download the LAME MP3 encoder – this allows Audacity to export to an MP3 file. Follow the following link to locate the LAME MP3 encoder.


This program has a low learning curve, and you can be making audio files fairly quickly. There is a great support section located at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/ . This site provides tutorials, frequently asked questions, tips to using the program and the original documentation for the software itself.

There are other programs out there that will allow you to make podcasts and some are even easier to use than Audacity, but hey, as a teacher it is always great to find programs that are FREE! In a time of decreasing budgets and lack of funds, free is sometimes the only option. So take a look and let me know what you think!

YouTube for Educators: Part Four: Searching and Playlists

This is the fourth video in our series on YouTube. This video again, was designed for the Clarkston School District to assist teachers in becoming familiar with YouTube.  This tutorial covers how to create a playlists and conduct searches in YouTube.

YouTube For Educators: Part Three: How to Post a Video

This is the third video in our series on YouTube. This video again, was designed for the Clarkston School District to assist teachers in becoming familiar with YouTube. This tutorial covers how to post a video to your YouTube channel and some more of  YouTube’s features.

YouTube For Educators: Part Two: Setting Up Your Channel

This is the second video in our series on YouTube. This video again, was designed for the Clarkston School District to assist teachers in becoming familiar with YoutTube. This tutorial explains some of the basic features of your YouTube channel.

Youtube for Educators: Part One: An Overview and Create Your Account

With the mass amount of videos on the web the educational potential of these videos is immense.  Teachers can find short video explanations to assist students in leaning on almost any topic.

Often the use of this type of technology in schools is hindered by the fact that teachers are unaware and unsure of how to use new technology. Technology is changing quickly and teachers often don’t have the time to look up and research new technologies to use in their classrooms. This post is the first of a series on how to use Youtube.

The video below is a quick overview of Youtube explaining the basics of what this website has to offer. This video was developed to assist teachers in the Clarkston School District to help them develop an understanding of YoutTube and how to use this website in the classroom.