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Classroom Blogging – Audio Blogs (Podcasting)

Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to Blogs, Wikis, & Other Tools that are Shaping a new Information Landscape (2nd ed.) by David F. Warlick.

As bandwidth and internet transmission speeds have increased, employing audio, and even video, in conjunction with the classroom and/or blog is much more realistic than it once was. Warlick makes the case for the value of developing these tools in the classroom. Some of his technical specifics are now a bit dated, but the basics of doing a podcast have not changed. That said, I favor using instructional videos which are readily available on Youtube to address any technical tutorials I may require.

Podcasting is like returning to radio. So, if you do it, make it good radio. Find some inexpensive editing software, cut out the background noise, and be prepared to enhance the audio with effects, music, and other points of auditory interest. Just remember to keep the copyright laws in mind. Warlick lists some resources which are usable under Creative Commons licensing. Remember, copyright applies whether or not your blog is commercial or not. In most situations, noncommercial educational publishing is not exempt.

I don't want to scare you off from podcasting, because I do think this can be a very dynamic addition to the classroom. But, approach the audio blog with a sober mind. As someone who has worked in radio, I can tell you that quality broadcasting takes time. Episode planning, script writing, editing, coordinating guests (if you plan to have them)...this all takes a lot of time. This is in addition to the site maintenance you will have to do to upload and organize the website or service which hosts your podcast. A full-time teacher should probably begin with a simple 5-minute podcast weekly, or one larger 20-minute podcast monthly. Anything more will likely prove unsustainable. Better to grow because it is going so well, rather than having to scale back on your operations.

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