Podcasting FAQ

podcasting

Thanks for visiting our podcast web site! We have had many questions about how we produce our podcast. Teachers are looking for information about setting up equipment and software so students can plan, produce, and publish their own podcasts. The purpose of this “how to” page it to provide some information that might help you get started.

What follows is a FAQ regarding our podcast and how we produce it.

What equipment should I use?

You might already have the equipment you need to get started experimenting and recording. For example, iPads come standard with a microphone that you and/or your students can use to record audio. There are also free apps (such as Anchor) than can be downloaded that record and publish podcasts in one step (this limits the ability to edit and the quality is not always the highest). If you wish to edit and have more control on an iPad, you might consider using GarageBand to record and edit. There are also easy to use web sites that have free options to publish your audio such as PodOmatic, which is purely for podcasters, or SoundCloud, which is a tool for publishing any kind of audio files.

What equipment do you use?

For our EML Podcast, we did purchase specific equipment so that sound quality of the audio was high. Additionally, we needed to design the setup so that up to four people could comfortably carry on a conversation and have the recording be mixed properly.

The mixer we use was chosen because it has a USB output so that recordings can be sent directly to a computer. Here is the list of equipment we use for our podcast. The cost is about $1300 for a four microphone set up:

Item Cost Description
Mixer $249.99 Mackie ProFX8v2 8-Channel Professional FX Mixer with USB
Mic x 4 4 x $128.99 Shure SM58 Dynamic
XLR cable – 6′ x 4 4 x $12.99 UGREEN XLR Male To XLR Female Microphone Cable Microphone Extension Cord
Mic Stand x 4 4 x $20.00 ChromaCast Adjustable Table/Bass Drum Microphone Stand
Power bar $33.99 Nekteck Power Strip/Surge Protector Flat Wall Plug with 10 AC Outlets, 15W 3-Port USB
headphone amp $78.20 CAD Audio HA4 4-Channel Stereo Headphone Amplifier
Headphones x 4 4 x $35.99 TASCAM TH02 Closed-Back
stereo patch $20.82 Seismic Audio-SATRX-F6-Yellow 6-Feet 1/4-Inch TRS to 1/4-Inch TRS Patch Cable
TOTAL $1,174.88
TAXES $152.73
GR TOTAL $1,327.61

Please note that we are not intending to promote amazon or any specific product. We are simply sharing the list of equipment we use and amazon provides descriptive information about the specifications of each product. Also, we are aware prices fluctuate and many of the above prices will be different if you follow the links. Shop around and look for quality, comparable equipment for the cheapest price.

podcasting

What software do you use?

The mixer sends the digital audio signals to a laptop computer running Audacity. It is a free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. The interface is translated into many languages. Audacity is free software, developed by a group of volunteers and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

We also use Audacity to edit out podcast and produce the MP3 file that contains our weekly podcast.

Where do you host your podcast?

We use WordPress to host our podcast using the ‘personal’ plan (the least expensive). That plan comes with 6GB of data storage plus a very handy automatic feature that produces the RSS feed URL that Apple iTunes needs to publish our podcast there. We also chose WordPress because one of the goals of our podcast is that serves as a resource for professional development. Therefore, we required the capability to produce a blog post corresponding to each podcast so that links and resources mentioned in the podcast could be shared. We refer to these as our ‘show notes’ pages.

As noted above, there are no cost options you can use to host your podcast. Some of the free options are:

There are a many more options but this might help you to get started.

Creative Process

Our podcast has four goals:

  1. Increase awareness and understanding of PDSB’s Empowering Modern Learners vision
  2. Deprivatization of teacher professional practices
  3. Become a repository of ideas related to modern teaching practices
  4. Be informative but also entertaining

Our podcast episodes are usually thematic and we try to align the entire podcast to the ideas expressed by our weekly guest. Each episode is made up of three parts:

  1. What’s new in Empowering Modern Learners – Amit and Jim are resource teachers who support a large number of schools. Experiences are shared each week from our work in schools in this part. (5-10 mins)
  2. Guest interview – We try to interview a wide variety of guests so that listeners can hear real voices of teachers and other educators in our board. (10-15 mins)
  3. Weekly share – Amit and Jim are always learning and always encountering valuable resources. This is a chance for us to let listeners know what we’re reading, conferences we’ve been to, things we’ve learning from teachers and students in our schools, and so on. (5-10 mins)

Part 2 (the interview) is always recorded first. This gives us insight into the content we will share of parts 1 and 3. We also choose our episode title after the interview has been completed. We try to keep the length of each podcast episode to about 30 minutes.

We do not fully script our podcasts and we do not have a list of questions ready to ask our guests. Our aim is to be cognizant of the needs of our audience and so we try to be as conversational as possible while being as informative as possible. Despite the fact that we do not write a script, we do prepare in advance of recording each podcast. We each have the main points of what we want to share written in advance so that we can be efficient and keep the momentum going in the conversation.

Resources

Here are some podcasting resources that you might find interesting: