- Spend some time discussing beforehand what a podcast is. Look at examples of podcasts created for students and podcasts created by students. I found this wiki to be very useful: Examples of Educational Podcasts.
- Discuss the basic parts of a podcast: intro (episode name, tagline, etc...), bumper music, segments, outro. This Radio WillowWeb Handbook is a great resource.
- Make sure that students write out a script for their part. It will save time in the long run. It helps if they have their thoughts written down when they begin recording. Without a script, there are a lot of mistakes made and time wasted.
- For our first attempt, I didn't make any rules about how many students were recording at a time. There were a lot of groups who wanted to have a conversation style segment in their podcast. This ended up becoming a problem. Most of the groups got silly and giggly instead of getting their work done. On our second attempt, I said that only one person could speak in each segment. It really helped speed up the process. Just a thought!
- I would also strongly suggest that you have the students record their parts in chronological order. There will be less editing necessary later. Another time-saving tip!
- We recorded our audio clips using Audacity which you can download for free to a pc. You could use GarageBand if you are on a Mac. Before students begin recording their audio for the podcast, spend some time showing them how to use the program. I also created short videos showing how to record audio, how to save the project, how to use the editing tools, and more for students to use as a reference later. I stored these videos on our school server for easy student access.
- Make sure to have background music available for students to use or sites that they can download music from. I had students download music from Television Tunes. Be sure to adhere to copyright laws.
- Give the students a reason to create their podcast. My students did book reviews which I posted on the Library page of our school website. They were told that other students and parents would be listening to them. This was a motivator to do a nice job.
After my first experience teaching podcasting, I can confidently say that I will be doing this again next year. The students had a lot of fun! They'll be able to use this knowledge to create podcasts for other classes too.