"Podcasting is about reading, writing, and speaking. It is a simple technology that fits our curriculum goals. Podcasting also provides our students with an authentic audience for their productions. Podcasting is more than just recording audio files. It is also about broadcasting."
The suggested benefits of podcasting seem to relate very well to good language learning principles. Arguably, by making podcasts, pupils practise the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing by:
- listening to their recordings as they review the quality of their work
- practising and rehearsing their speaking before being happy with a final version
- reading and reviewing their scripts
- planning and writing their scripts in the first place as the basis of their podcast
They are also motivated by the fact that they know they are publishing to a real audience and as a result they raise their standards. Once you've made your podcast using sound editing software like Audacity it can be uploaded to a host such as:
Jellycast is a popular choice for some as the service only costs £10 as a one off payment and it allows you to generate your own RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed automatically making it easy for listeners to subscribe to future podcasts. Using a feed reader or aggregator such as Bloglines for blogs and iTunes for podcasts means that the information you have subscribed to comes straight to you without you having to go looking for it.
The availability of an RSS feed is symbolised by an orange square with three concentric circles emanating from its bottom left hand corner. By clicking on the symbol, you will see the feed address displayed either in the address bar or elsewhere on the page. Copy and paste this feed into your aggregator and hey presto.
In iTunes click on the advanced menu and Subscribe to Podcast .... A dialogue box will come up and you simply paste in the RSS link and click OK. Your podcast will then start to download. To download other episodes, click GET. In Bloglines, sign up for a fee account and click on Feeds and Add. Paste in the RSS link and click Subscribe.
To subscribe to a podcast through iTunes, follow these instructions:
- Launch the software and click on Music Store
- Select Podcasts and Education
- Click See All
- Choose a podcast and click on the SUBSCRIBE button
- The podcast will start to download
- To download future episodes automatically click the Get button
If the podcast you want to subscribe to is not there, you can also run a search for it in the Music Store. I typed in 'French language' and up came the following podcasts produced by MFL teachers and their pupils in England
- EdgehillCast (Chris Fuller)
- Elliott Podcast (Neil Jones)
- Northgate High School podcast (Alex Blagona)
- SHSG Year 11 French podcast (Steph Hopkins)
- SHSG Year 7 French podcast (Steph Hopkins)
- SHSG Year 9 French podcast (Steph Hopkins)
Steph Hopkins, AST in MFL at Southend High School for Girls compares syndication to taking out a subscription to a newspaper at her local newsagents. e.g Instead of popping in every so often to pick up a paper (choosing to download a podcast from a blog or podcast directory), she has it delivered to her door(importing an RSS feed into iTunes and have any new publications automatically downloaded whenever she launches the program).
To hear more of Steph's views on podcasting and syndication, listen to the interview I conducted with her recently at The Specialist Schools and Academies Trust toolkit meeting at Warwick University.
You never know, you may subscribe to her point of view.