Monday, March 19, 2018

Podcast Episode 3: Podcasting About Podcasting part deux

Screenshot clipped from

In this episode I share tips for writing & publishing podcasts with

Podcast Episode 003: Podcasting About Podcasting, part deux

This episode ended up being a bit longer than expected, so this is the second half of the previous episode.

Voice Typing in Google Docs
Technology & Learning in District 205
Ditch That Texbook, by Matt Miller

Podcasting with
March 16, 2018 E.003

Hi! This is Matt Jacobson, Technology Curriculum & Professional Development Coordinator for Galesburg Community Unit School District 205 in Galesburg, Illinois. We’re Talking Tech & Learning in 205 again today on Anchor.FM! This is your home for daily professional learning updates, tech tips, and teaching ideas to help further the learning of our students and the teachers who serve them. Welcome to Episode 2! I’m glad you could join us!

Yesterday’s inaugural episode was a basic introduction to this podcast, why I’m doing it, and how I’m recording and distributing it. Today I thought I’d pull back the curtain a bit and offer you a brief look at how this all works.

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I am recording this audio podcast using a free app called Anchor.FM. Anchor and its associated app, available through Google Play or the Apple App Store, is completely free to download and use. You can also just use the web interface if you prefer a larger screen or a different microphone. You can create an account and sign in with Twitter or Facebook, or you can use an email account if you prefer. There are in-app or on-screen instructions to help you learn the ropes.

Recording with Anchor.FM really couldn’t be simpler. For episode 1 I used the Android app on my Google Pixel XL. All I do is open the app and I’m prompted to hold the app to my ear to start recording. When I do that, I hear a brief ready tone. Then I start speaking and Anchor starts recording. Pull the phone away from your ear and you’re all done. And honestly, that’s really it! You’ve just recorded your first podcast segment!

Today I’m recording the audio for Episode 2 with the browser-based version of Anchor.FM on a 3-year-old Chromebook with a Celeron processor. You can attach external microphones if you’d like, and I’ll experiment with that in future episodes, but today I’m just using the built-in mic to show you how simple it is to get started.

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Now, you can get fancy and add an intro segment, then cut it with music and so on if you prefer. Anchor provides a number of recorded tracks that you can use for free with your podcast. All you have to do is add the transitions between the segments that you record.
You also have the option of using your own music, but watch out for copyright infringements! I do not recommend using popular music at all because that can be considered illegal unless you gain permission from the publisher first. We in education have a lot of creative leeway to use copyrighted works within the 4 wall of our classrooms, but when we publish a podcast for the world to hear we are under a whole different set of rules, and those classroom freedoms no longer apply.

One quick note, I used an app called soundtrap to create the opening intro music with voice over. I'll do an episode on how to use soundtrap to create your own music on a later episode of this podcast.

Moving on, you can also connect several segments together and add transition sounds or music to separate them. You can use Soundtrap or the free transition clips available with Anchor.FM. This would be a nifty way to have students create brief individual recordings as part of a larger project and so on. Anchor will allow you to invite others to collaborate with you on an episode, so you and your grade level colleagues could create weekly summary episodes for the parents of your students without being together in the same room at the same time to record. And, since most people talk faster than they type, you’ve just saved yourself a bunch of time over making a blog post or a shared document!

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On that note, should you script your podcast or should you just “wing it?” That’s entirely up to you. As I mentioned yesterday, my inspiration for this podcast is Matt Miller’s Ditch That Textbook Podcast. Matt records his podcast episodes at his home, in his car when travelling, at coffee shops - where ever he happens to be when the inspiration strikes or when his incredibly busy schedule allows. He is also an experienced journalist, writer, and podcaster, having co-hosted The Google Teacher Tribe Podcast with Kasey Bell for a little over a year now. Having far less experience, I am scripting mine using voice typing in Google Docs, and then re-reading the script through the Anchor FM app on my phone. I hope to move toward more spontaneous episodes in the future, but for now scripting is my wheelhouse. Scripting would be a great writing activity for your students, who would then be publishing their work for an authentic audience. Do what works for you and your classroom needs.

Don't make the mistake that I made starting out by recording your episode in one long segment. If you make a mistake you have to start over from the beginning and read and record the whole thing all over again. Instead, record your episode in smaller two or three paragraph segments so if you do make a mistake it is easy to fix. Plus, adding in brief musical transitions gives the listener a little break not and then, which can be sort of nice.

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Once I’ve arranged all my segments and I’m ready to publish my episode, I can designate where I want my podcast to be heard. By default it is published to’s service, but you can also distribute it to Apple Podcasts, Google Play Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and PocketCasts, all of which are popular podcast services, or “podcatchers.” You can also send it to smart speakers like Apple’s Home Pod and Google Home, and possibly others. It also may be played through Android Auto and Apple Car Play, and if you do a daily podcast like this one it may even be eligible to be added as part of several smart assistants’ daily news briefing services, too!

The really interesting part of Anchor.FM is the ability to allow your listeners to offer you feedback and ideas directly through the Anchor app. Once published, your listeners who use the Anchor FM app can tap the Messages button and record a brief message that will be delivered to your phone. This arrives as a segment that you can add to a future podcast episode to let your listeners know how much you value their ideas!

So remember to head over to the app and leave me some feedback and suggestions for future episodes. Thanks for listening!

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