Online Tutoring: The Power of Podcasting
When is the last time you got really excited about helping your students study and learn material they didn't learn in class the first time around? Working with gifted and high achieving students, it is especially hard to stop and slow down when material is already far above grade level and/or the pace is rigorous. However, I have an easy solution that will make you, your students, and your parents happy. Welcome to PC/Mac friendly podcast tutorials that can be created, saved, and posted on your child's iPod tonight.
Podcasting . . . It's Not Just a Mac Thing
PC user? Mac user? It doesn't matter. You can create a podcast today. The benefits include:
- offering students extra support
- allowing students to stop and rewind challenging parts of your lesson
- supporting parents by allowing them to see and hear how you approach a subject area . . . some students want to do it "your" way, not mom's
- you can create a podcast by simply recording and talking about one onscreen image, so it is time efficient
- podcasts can be uploaded to iTunes/Web sites easily
- students can watch and listen to you on their iPod
- podcasts can be subscribed to via an RSS feed
- podcasts can really help before state testing
If you have access to PowerPoint and a microphone, you can create something like this in less than 30 minutes (start to finish).
So, are you interested in trying this out? Here are the exact steps I took to make the video above.
1. If you are a PC user, you can download the free program, CamStudio, which allows you to capture everything on your screen. This includes audio. Mac users have a free program, Podcast Capture, already built in.
2. If you don't have a microphone built into your laptop, a microphone or headset will work. I was amazed to find that headsets can also serve as microphones for recording purposes if spoken into. Both my PC and Mac laptops have built-in microphones.
3. For the above video, I opened up PowerPoint and created a slideshow. You can opt to open up any images or pages that you would like to discuss during your podcast recording.
4. My laptop already has Interwrite installed, so I opened up this program to make everything more interactive. If you are not familiar with this program, it is a free alternative to a SMART board. It allows you to write on, save, and make changes to Web pages and blank pages provided by the program. I am fortunate enough to have an Interwrite pad that allows me to write on the screen remotely. The pad costs about $300.
Photo: Utilizing Interwrite, you can write on any document, including pages from the Internet.
5. If you don't want to download Interwrite, you can simply finish your PowerPoint and hit the record button from CamStudio or Podcast Capture. Some options are available to you before recording; for example, I opted for a focused box that didn't move, but you can have the screen follow your mouse as it records. The movement of your mouse, the opening of files, and your voice will be recorded once you begin.
If you use Interwrite, the resources available on the toolbar (eraser, markers, pens, photos, etc.) will not be visible after recording is finished. This means you can change pen colors and switch functions with ease.
6. When you stop recording, your video will be ready to view. You can choose to save it as a .wmv (Windows Media video) file, MP3, or MP4. If you would like to send it to iTunes, you will want to save it as an MP4. If you are a Mac user, one click sends it to iTunes, and another click sends it to your iWeb for posting.
And just to show you how incredibly easy it can be . . .
Here is a podcast I made discussing and writing about one image. It required very little preparation time.
Explaining Latitude and Longitude Podcast
(Look for the original link on my class Web page for a higher quality video.)
So Many Podcasting Options . . .
Finally, it might help to investigate some of these other resources for recording your very own podcast tutorial video. This could include a Web camera (usually has audio built in), a Flip Video/Camcorder, or simply recording your voice with a free program like Audacity (PC) or GarageBand (Mac). What would work for your class?
And do you have any tips you would like to add on podcasting? Any Mac or PC questions? I am a hybrid user, so I am comfortable answering questions about both platforms.
View my original podcast (without the Scholastic player).
Happy Holidays! Beth and I will be taking a break from the blog until next year. We look forward to posting again in 2010!