Podcasting Demo Call For Help (The Lamb Approach)

I’m scheduled to do next week two demos at our colleges on the latest buzzword sweeping the educational technology landscape… podcasting. Following a cue from Brian Lamb in asking the internet for help, I’ll put out my own call (imitation == flattery).

This is just an overview (I think) of what podcasting offers for educators, how they might use it, and maybe some basics for getting started (actually I was given no parameters). I have a starting list of the kinds of things to demo I crammed into 15 minutes a few weeks aga but hey, that was 3 weeks ago, and most of the Internet has changed since then.

But what I would love to hear is what you would show/do so as to interest a group of people who are not familiar with podcasting and maybe ranging from technology leery to geeky? How to get them past the thinking of “putting my lectures on-line”?

And following my own declaration of Levine’s Law of Presenting, what is the demo I should start with to light a fire of interest? I want something right off the top, before even trying to explain what Podcasting is (I have yet to read a definition that explains it better than experiencing it)…

What is a stellar example of the use of podcasting in an educational terrain? Something maybe with elementary schools creating audio content/ connecting with others? Is it Cole Camplese’s utterly brilliant Listen Up! The iPod Can Change Grading? Do I go local and show how our Paradise Valley Student Life office is podcasting student events? Do I aim for starting first with using podcasts before getting into creating them — I really like the resources from the Cardiovascular Multi-Media Information Network (even local offered by the Arizona Heart Institute)? Or the New York Times free podcasts? The FrenchPodClass? The ArtMobs take on the exhibits at MOMA? So we talk about iTunesU (demo Stanford?).

What are the “killer” demos?

And what should people take away with them?
* How to use iTunes or other software to subscribe to content?
* Seeds for thinking where audio content might support their disciplines or how to use the time-shifting aspects of persinal digital audio?
* An awareness of audio features available in the free Audacity software?
* Places to go to find podcasts as relevant content for their courses?
* A desire for an iPod?

Operators are standing by, and of course, the content will be shared.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Your demo ideas are better than anything I can think of off-hand. I am partial to the example set by Gardner’s Donne-A-Day series.

    But if it helps, my first workshop is here, and you are welcome to anything that might be useful: http://wiki.elearning.ubc.ca/PodcastWorkshop

    I will say that teaching Audacity in a short period of time is tricky, but people seemed to like it. If people grasp what the waveform is, how the multitracks can be set up, and few basic commands like cutting and fading, some of them get excited pretty quick. Then again, you are doing a demo, not a hands-on.

  2. Thanks for the link *blush* … for me the killer app of podcasting application is doing the “simplest podcast ever” … what is driving me crazy here at Penn State is how to empower faculty to be creators of podcast content easily … as in a handful of clicks simple. We are working on a podium podcasting solution that only has 5 buttons — those get you started, let you pause, stop, embed some meta data, and publish. This is how it has to be done for adoption to happen.

    GarageBand while very powerful is way too much for the typical classroom faculty member to do well. Audacity and Audio Hijack Pro are great, but we really need point, clip on mic, click, record, publish easy. If we can get to that we are golden. Right now it seems that even Apple is ignoring the whole simple creation/publish model — iTunes U makes the assumption that you already have a file created. Where is the easy model?

    That’s my killer application question. And oh, by the way, Apple took away ratings on podcasts, so the ability to easily grade podcasts via the clickwheel is a thing of the past. *sigh* One step forward, two steps back. Sorry for the rambling.

  3. Cole,
    I hear your desire for making content creation simple– but I wonder is it really all that complex? The people we are talking about are not simpletons, and to me, Audacity pretty much does what you describe. And it points down the road for the recording of lectures. And I am not so sure of the “golden” there- we have people now doin things like recording the reading of a syllabus, what is up with that?

    Maybe I am an unreaslitic dreamer, but I wish for a higher level of creativity.

    And I am horrified by your mention that Apple took away the 5 star ratings scale. Your implementation of that was something I raved about in terms of creatively exploting an existing technology to go far beyond what its designers had intended. What is with THAT Apple? iTunes ratings are purely gor personal use, so why would ti be taken away. Don’t you have any pull inside the ADCE?

    Wow, gotta watch out for the worms inside the bright shiny apples.

  4. Pull? If I had as much as I hoped for they’d give me my ratings back! There are battles and there are wars. Ratings still work for files not delivered as podcasts. Not smart, but you can work around it … it is simply another barrier though – more on barriers below.

    I have been talking about this on our campus for several weeks now … great lectures make bad podcasts and bad lectures make decent podcasts. I teach for an hour and fifteen minutes twice a week and I record it make it available as a podcast from my class blog. My podcasts usually add up to about 30 minutes … I record all 1:15, but by the time you take out the part where students actually talk (you know, the good stuff) its much shorter. The point and click solutions do not account for that. I use GarageBand and it does a great job, but it adds a good 1.5-2 hours to my week through the editing process. In the past, the promise (albeit false) was that teaching with technology was a time saver. With the state of producing a decent podcast, it has increased it. Other than the handful of faculty here who care about an alternative delivery model that is asking way too much. You are not wrong to hope for more creativity, but applying it just to podcasting can’t be the answer … that is a much more systemic change.

    I would never say the faculty here are simpletons — they are quite literally some of the smartest people around, but they are not technologists … they are world-class researchers and scientists. My goal is to break down every barrier to make the experience as invisible as possible, provide remarkable results, and make them think about their student’s experiences. This is a conversation that has been going on for quite some time — well before podcasting — but it seems to grow new legs every time we find the next big thing in the teaching and learning with technology space. One thing is for certain, we will back here again talking about whatever is next … I’m sure many of your readers are already onto what is “next.”

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not into dumbing down our approaches — on the contrary I want to make them more intelligent, more elegant, and more approachable. For now I’ll continue to do my thing if you promise to continue to do yours and maybe at the end of the day we (our community) will continue to encourage, persuade, educate, and inspire teachers to adopt new and innovative ways to engage their learners. In the meantime I need to send some mail to Apple about my ratings with podcasts. Thoughts?

  5. I understand your position- sorry I may have been a bit reactionary. Since my primary role is about one step removed from working directly with teachers, I can spout of some BS that is not always applicable.

    So part of this is tools and part is changing practice and much is just change management, and plus ca change, plus ca meme chose (th elimits of my high school French) and it is nearly all uphill as you well know.

    I am ready to make some public blog statements about Apple’s walled strategies and veil of vagueness. I have writen before, but desipte how much I love Apple products, in trying to understand them I get confused betwen Cupertino and Redmond. Apple mystique may wear thin in this blog crazy world.

    They should clean with their decisions to insert and remove features witout notice. I’m ready to lock and load since I have noithing to lose.

  6. Man, this is what this is all about … no worries at all about reactions … what I see as easy is very different. I just wrapped up editing what amounted to a 20 minute lecture from today’s class … the original was 28 minutes … it took me close to an hour and a half to do that. Now I added slides, markers, and took care to carve it up the right way. Would I do it if I didn’t think podcasting in the classroom was worth it? Of course not.

    Here is something that I find interesting … I don’t want to give it all away, but I just got a few numbers from an electronic poll I just did in my class — interesting stuff related to podcasting … this is all out of only 24 responses:

    -5 have subscribed to the class RSS feed
    -16 have listened to the podcasts
    -half own MP3 players (only 8 ipods)
    -del.icio.us has been the most interesting web 2.0 tool explored
    -Funniest quote of “why I listen to podcasts” … “I listen to hear myself”

    Not sure any of that is helpful, but I found it very interesting … given that is over half of my class reporting. I would have bet only a handful would have listened. Hmm …

  7. I think the biggest hurdle with podcast demos is time — some great examples are an hour long or more. Maybe you could rip, mix, burn a collage of podcasts with several clicks of the pause button to put the audio in context. One of the most powerful podcasting conversations recently evolved over at David Warlick’s blog. I’m sure you read about Bob Sprankles Room 208 podcast on wicked wikipedia that David highlighted in a podcasting session. The teachers there thought Bob had put the words in the kids mouths and when the kids heard about it they were indignant. It’s nicely summarized with links to all the relevant podcasts on Jo McLeay’s blog, The Open Classroom: http://theopenclassroom.blogspot.com/2006/01/podcast-conversations.html

    I’ve done very little student podcasting but they both have the virtue of being short ;-)

    I also did a brief podcast about commenting on student blog work. The audio goes hand-in-hand with reading the page I’m discussing in the podcast.

    An audacity demo might also be a good hook. Have you seen this screencast?

    I hope this helps. I’m looking forward to reading/listening to what you put together. I always learn something from you. ;-)

    Good luck with the podshop!

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