Blue Group's Podcasting and Audio Tools Wiki

The use of audio is often overlooked in education. We are constantly talking to students, but the use of audio tools gives students a chance for a repeatable experience. Students can listen to a recording, slowing down and repeating the challenging parts to gain a better understanding. Audio offers an important method for differentiation. We want all of our students to be able to read complex texts, but that does not mean the students will enter our classes as great readers. The use of audio allows us to expose students to new information even for students who are still developing reading skills. For our, focus, we looked at an assortment of existing Podcasts, as well as audio tools in that might be used for students to create audio files or for teachers to use to create Podcasts of their own.

Existing Podcasts:

Exiting Podcasts offer teachers a supplementary resource. For example, Grammar Girl can give students definitions and further examples for topics covered in English class. In an economics class students will read about the Consumer Price Index in a textbook. They can then listen to a Planet Money Podcast about the real people who go out and check the prices on household items to see how the CPI data is collected. Podcasts can offer students the opportunity to connect the phenomena they read about it their science books to items in the news.

iTunes, with it's massive listing of Podcasts offers a great resource for finding Podcasts related to Education. Simply Googling for Podcasts will bring up a list of resources, too. Here is a list of Podcasts that we listen to or found particularly interesting.

Podcasts for Teachers:
- __
- (applies to all teachers of different subjects) __
- How Stuff Works: __

English Podcasts:
- - An example of how to implement podcasts in teaching: English teacher’s blog with podcasts on seminole high school literary works such as The Crucible, Of Mice and Men, Othello (basically just oral presentations of the works)
- Grammar Girl: __
- Poetry: __
- American vs. British Language: __
- Middle Schoolers and Books: __
- More Poems: __

History/Social Studies Podcasts:
- The History Chicks: __
- World War 2: __
- Chinese History: __
- British History: __
- Planet Money (Economics): __

Math Podcasts:
-BBC’s More or Less on Statistics: __ Math Moments (advanced topics) __

Science Podcasts:
-Titanium Physicists: __
-Exploratorium: __
-NSTA Lab Out Loud: __
-Science Geek Girl (PhD Physicist): __
-The Wild Classroom (Biology): __
-Royal Society of Chemistry: __
-The Chemistry Podcast from Nature: __

World Language Podcasts:
-Learn Out Loud: __
-UW Madison Language Institute (lecture audio): __
-Spanish: __
-List of French Language Learning podcast sites:

Making Audio Files:

While there are lots of audio files out there that might prove useful, teachers and students have the opportunity to create their own audio files using a couple of free tools. Teachers could create their own Podcast, in which case they might want to look at the checklist for making Podcasts to read about audio resources. There are three great free tools that people can use to create and edit audio files.

Google Voice is a free phone service from Google. It allows users to create a new phone number that they can either use via a computer or pair to an existing phone numbers. Users can connect the Google Voice Number to multiple existing lines so that calling the Google Voice number so that calling the Google Voice Number will make the phone ring at work, on the cell and on a land line simultaneously. Aside from using the Voice number as an alias for an existing phone number, Google Voice allows a "do not disturb" mode where calls will go directly to voicemail. Students could call in problems, which would be recorded, transcribed and e-mailed to the teachers existing Gmail account. Teachers could also use the Google Voice Number to text students, although a service like Remind101 would likely be a better choice for sending text messages to students.

An added feature of Google Voice is that it allows users to record incoming phone calls. This is a great options for either recording interviews or recording explanations.

Vocaroo offers a very simple interface and overall usage, basically just head to the website and start recording. One problem we encountered during our presentation was that you have to allow you microphone to access the site before doing your first recording! It seems great for students who can respond to a prompt and can simply email their recording to their teacher.

Audacity seems to be the best program for those who want to take their podcasting and audio recordings seriously. It's a downloadable program that works to make your recordings the best product. While you can simply record and edit at a basic level, there are a multitude of options to consider for more fancy effects.
Instructions for a basic lesson can be found here:

Using Video and Integrating Audio and Visual Presentations:

iTunes offers many useful audio podcasts. The iTunesU category includes a list of videos from university courses that could serve as supplements for students and resources for teachers (We can look for the best ideas). Video recording lessons and classes has proven to be challenging. In order to make a polished presentation, it requires proper lighting, well placed microphones, proper placement (Make sure you don't walk out of the camera's sight) and an extensive amount of time to edit, convert and store. One of the easiest, most efficient ways to combine audio with visuals is through the use of audio in PowerPoint. It is an efficient way to add content to a format we are already familiar with.

Sharing is Caring:

Once you have created an awesome video or audio file, how do you share it with the world? There are a couple of options. The easiest are either using Google Sites and/or sharing via a link from Google Drive. Similarly, Dropbox offers teachers a way to share files via a link.
Soundcloud offers teachers an easy way to create and store audio files. Users can create audio files directly at the website or can upload existing audio files. Teachers can post up to 120 minutes of audio on the website for free.


Remember, that unless you work for the NSA, it is both illegal and generally frowned upon to record phone conversations without the caller's knowledge. Google Voice will offer a voice prompt when the conversation begins recording. Even after you begin recording a message, it would be a good idea to inform the caller that you are recording the conversation, just so that you have an audio record.

Be careful about using copyrighted music in a podcast or other audio recording that you are creating. Be especially careful if you are using school property to edit the file or school resources to post or host the file.