Technologies

Publish at June 29 2021 Updated January 20 2022

Everything you need to start producing podcasts

Students tired of the screen? Offer podcasts!

Microphone and recording

Podcast against screen overdose

In an interesting article by Jean-François Sénéchal, a lecturer at Laval University, he presents the reasons why the podcast should be integrated as a teaching tool.

While the popularity of the podcast is undeniable and it is one of the easiest media to produce technically and to distribute, the main argument for its use in teaching is the new context: students spend 15 to 18 hours a week sitting in front of their screens, not counting assignments and other interactions; the podcast offers them not only the possibility to get away from their screens but also to do so at the time and in the way they choose: while walking, while training, while on the road, while eating ...

Other effects

He was also able to see that relationships with his students are better, they ask more questions, make more connections, which confirms research findings that hearing a teacher's voice or any human voice increases learners' sense of community and reduces feelings of isolation, in addition to other positive effects such as increased academic performance, motivation, engagement and satisfaction of students, as well as decreased anxiety.  In short, all that's left to do is get started.

Producing a podcast

There are almost as many podcast recipes as there are producers. The common threads remain quality content and quality production. Both can be achieved with goodpreparation, good equipment and software and a little training.

1- Preparation

Choose:

  • the topic or area of interest,
  • the length and
  • format of the treatment: story, interview, debate, survey, drama, reflections, performance, etc.

At this stage the style of the podcast is defined. The important thing is to be able to keep the production pace (by day, week, month). Listeners like a certain consistency, to have certain landmarks like a musical intro, a certain breakdown and a predictable duration. This way they can set up listening slots for themselves.

As far as content is concerned, knowing what we're talking about is essential but quickly becomes exhausted if we don't renew the knowledge. Research, reading, prior discussions are essential to creating lively, interesting and renewed content. Being in a team, more than one, keeps the pace going.

Scripting

Improvisation invites itself as the unexpected happens. There will be situations where it is necessary, but it is rare that it is central to a production strategy. Having a script usually elevates the production. There are many instructional scripting resources.


2- Equipment

From the mouth to the digitized podcast, quality must be high all the way through, as losses and disruptions can occur at every step.

  • A filtre « anti-pop » -  in front of the microphone eliminates the "pops" caused by explosive consonants (p) spoken too close to the microphone. No need to worry about it anymore.

  • headphones - to be able to hear what's being recorded without the risk of feedback (feedback) or reverb.

  • A good condenser microphone - these are more sensitive and precise. The quality of the recording is essential to acquire an audience. Otherwise it will leave after a few minutes...and not come back.

3- Software

  • Processing- Garage Band on Mac, Audacity on all platforms, the free version of Pro-Tools, are all great options for processing the recording.

    Removing hesitations, repetitions, errors, interjecting pauses or additional information, adjusting the intensity of the sound, etc. greatly enhance the listening experience.  There are of course professional software programs, but for the purposes of a podcast, these should be sufficient.

  • Music and sounds can enhance a podcast and establish its brand. Producing them is possible, but it's often simpler to take advantage of those available, for free or at very low cost. Free Music Directory

  • For remote interviews, Skype, Teams, FaceTime, Meet, Zoom, etc.  are roughly equivalent on the audio side, it is most important that the interviewer has a good microphone and is not disturbed during the interview.

  • Install Krisp which will eliminate extraneous noise when recording. See this article for more details.

  • Transcription - oTranscribe (manual) or Google Docs (automatic on Chrome)) (audio transcription instructions), accommodate students with hearing issues who will then be able to read your podcast. These software programs will make your transcription job easier and make your podcast accessible to everyone.

  • For streaming - Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcast, Deezer, Soudcloud. YouTube and many more local ones all offer free hosting or broadcasting from the podcast's RSS feed. Some institutions also offer to host them on their servers.  It's best to ask your students which platform they find most convenient. Directory of Podcast Sites

4- A little practice

A podcast rarely gets it right the first time. Controlling all the parameters can be learned: soundscape, elocution, rhetoric,scenario, technologies.

Between the first and third podcast, production time can be cut in half or three. Don't get discouraged. Everyone gets there.


There are several paid podcast recording services, which simplify the process but for the most part don't offer the possibilities of independence. Either way, you'll need a good microphone and good content.

Reference

The phenomenal growth of the podcast as a learning tool - Jean-François Sénéchal

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Thot Cursus

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