For those who don't want to read the narrative, the podcast, “Writing History: Titles-Episode 1”, can be accessed from my main website.
I've thinking for sometime about experimenting with podcasts or screeen casts. So, as I put off marking student blogs, I worked on a first podcast. For the experiment, I used Keynote, Garageband, Profcast, and a template from KeynotePro. Keynote is the Mac version of PowerPoint and, for my money, much superior. Garageband is a part of Apple’s iLife suite that concentrates on sound editing. And Profcast is an inexpensive application that allows an instructor to add voice-over to PowerPoint or Keynote presentations.
First, it seemed to me that podcasting could be applied to repetitive tasks. How many times do we repeat bits of information in class? Or answer the same question—sometimes asked within minutes? It seems that I am repeating advice or information on a fairly regular basis. Second, I don't want to get in the long format podcasting business. I don’t have the time, and I wanted the podcasts to come in bite-sized pieces to appeal to my students. Third, I wanted the presentation to combine both sound and image. Fourth, I wanted to build around a practical topic, a topic that others might find useful.
So, I set off to put together some advice and suggestions for writing a history essay. How long did it take me to put together the screencast? About a day. Anything new always takes longer, so I think that an evening will suffice in the future. Did I learn anything? Yes but nothing that a good podcasting text wouldn't advise. (Lynda.com also has a good training video for podcasting with Garageband.) First, unless you are professional radio announcer, write a script. It does help, however, to talk through the presentation as you would in class while you're recording as a dry run. Warms up your voice and furnishes a sense of timing. (I was astonished at my “ums.”) Second, use a good microphone. I used my Parrot headset from iListen. It's optimized for voice recognition and seemed to work well. Problems? Always. I've always had difficulty with sound/in and sound/out. Setting up my sound/in and sound/out for the various applications has always vexed me. I do get it right in the end, but it takes time.