The biggest concern I hear from colleagues about assigning students to create their own podcasts is that they don’t have the money to procure the materials. While I do believe the best method to record a podcast is to use an actual MP3 recorder (described below), there are still many other alternatives that might be substantial options for you and your students given the financial constraints of your district.
- MP3 recorder: In my opinion, this is the best route for small-group podcast recording because they are easy to use (the students literally hit record) and easy to upload (they provide USB cords to allow fast file transfer). However, they aren’t free and many schools do not have many (if any) in the school.
- Software Applications: There are two great programs that can be used to record and edit (if you so desire) podcasts. For the PC, “Audacity” is program that the students would need a microphone/headset (which most schools have) to use but can then edit and cut directly on the computer. However, like most things in the creative field, the Mac’s “Garage Band” program is much more user-friendly and easier to navigate. Again, even though it is on the computer, a microphone is needed.
- BYOD: “Bring Your Own Device” is a popular trend in education right now. If looking for a free alternative, consider asking the students to use their own devices to record the discussion and then send the file to you. Some devices and email carriers have file-size restrictions you might want to consider prior to asking students to record in this manner. Of course, this is dependent on the type of project and the podcast requirements put in place.
- iPad/iPhone: has “Voice Notes” automatically installed on every phone; however, there are other applications available for purchase
- Droid: some of the available applications for recording are “Droid Record,” “Rehearsal Assistant,” “Tapatalk,” and “Voice Recorder.”
What I like about all of these options is they can be uploaded directly onto your computer or into an MP3 listening device like the iPod to allow you to listen to/grade the podcasts in a variety of settings. Also, they can be easily shared on school sites like Blackboard or Edmodo or Schoology for students to listen to and comment upon.