Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Podcasting on the GCast

First of all, I'm back from a 10 day mountain hiking experience in the Canadian Rockies. I went to Banff National Park, Kootenay National Park, Revelstoke National Park, Glacier National Park, Yoho National Park, and Jasper National Park. Absolutely amazing and breathtaking! This picture to the left is of a the Inkpots above Johnstone Canyon (a 6km hike up). It's a beautiful up there. I had no Internet for 10 days. Slept in a tent and saw three bears (each at different times) and survived. It is kind of weird coming back to technology and switching gears, but I must.

I spent a little time with GCast this week, and although I'm sure a lot of people use the free Web 2.0 service, I'm still trying to figure out how I would use it with students in a classroom situation. So many of our students need to feel entertained in order to keep their attention, so I'm not sure how GCast will do the job. If I was teaching English, or Communications, I might use it for students to do readings of poetry, short stories that they have written. Especially if students are reserved about speaking in public. I might use it for virtual public speaking or having students record skits or plays and creating radio dramas. One of the challenges I find is how to use it in the maths and some of the sciences.

I certainly don't want podcasts being used in the classroom because it's the newest and latest thing going. It has to have purpose. Besides, there are some challenges before you even get to using GCast. To GCasts credit, it is a very simple tool to use online. A person can have an account created and a podcast produced and published in 5 minutes. It's really that simple.

My challenge was using Audacity, since I'm not using a Mac with Garageband built into it. And from what I hear from friends with Macs, it's very easy to use. But this week, I sat down to create my mp3 file with Audacity, and it wasn't anything like Adobe Premiere, which I've used a great deal before. I was almost tempted to switch over half way through, but I decided to stick it out with Audacity. Because time was an issue, I wasn't able to figure out how to use some of the features that later on, when I went through a number of Youtube video tutorials, I learned about mixing and adding music to voice.

Here was my first kick at it. It's just me talking. And really, that's where I think unless the students know how to enhance the audio, it's going to come off very flat and stilted. It's really important that students don't just read a script without emotion. But a great rubric could be created for elements of voice control and delivery that would address some of these challenges.

For this GCast, I was talking about the history of the Water Quality Project from the wikispace site. Here's the enhanced podcast with music, after playing around with it on Audacity and adding some Freeplay music.

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Hope this makes sense.

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