Due to the global nature of COVID-19 with so many schools, businesses, flights, and well, life in general, shutting down, podcasts have exploded as a means for information as well as communication and education.
Personally, I’ve been interested in upping my podcast game for some time, but I wasn’t really ever making time to sit down and do it. I was invited by a colleague, Jason Reagin, to appear as a guest on his Design Podcast for a podcast on podcasts. The goal of the podcast: to talk about how and why we podcast. It was pretty cool to get together with a group of audio enthusiasts!
It was cool how we recorded several sources of audio. We used StreamYard.com to have several parties call in and stream to YouTube which recorded our video/audio. Then, we he extracted the audio for editing and mastering before uploading to Anchor.fm. It was such a pleasant and effortless experience that it inspired me to adjust the tech that I use for my podcast (please subscribe!!)
Takeaways from the Talk
I learned quite a few helpful things that I want to keep in mind as I continue working on my podcasting channel. Here they are in no particular order:
- Keep it simple. I love how simple Jason’s idea was to stream to YouTube and rip the audio was. It’s so much nicer knowing that I don’t have to worry about recording to a local hard drive or running out of space with that much video. I also really liked how I didn’t have to worry about complicated audio routing platforms (Loopback, etc.) to make sure I was capturing everyone’s audio.
- Podcasts are comfortable and safe. I notice it more so with middle schoolers, but kids don’t always like to show their faces. By just having their voices heard, it can feel like less of a risk. I’ve noticed this with Flipgrid at least– kids will often cover their webcams or faces. Perhaps an alternative platform like Synth would be helpful since it is still an individual student response system with audio responses.
- There are a lot of great podcasts out there. At the end of our episode, our host asked us to share our favorite podcast (where to start?!) It was cool to hear so many great ideas from my co-guests. Some notable ones include: Beautiful Anonymous, From Bell to Bell, Serial, 99% Invisible, All Songs Considered, The Bitter Southerner. I’ve been spending so much time on Apple TV+ and Netflix! There’s so much other great content to catch up on!
- Podcasts and using audio can be a method for collecting data. One of my favorite points my colleague Bri brought up is that interviews that the kids could do can be used as data. What a powerful way to shift data away from Google Forms; I love forms, but changing the data to a series of short clips of actual students speaking, wow, what a powerful shift in platforms. Loved this idea.
While COVID-19 school closures have been rough for many, including me, I can’t help but see some of the benefits that are coming out of this experience. Weird as it is, it’s actually bringing me closure to my colleagues and we are collaborating more than ever. It’s also making me so much more productive– I find that I get to wake up later, but I spend far more time working each day, spending longer lunch breaks, and having more to show for my work.
One of the biggest benefits that I’ve been finding is the rebirth of my podcast. I feel like it’s not just needed in terms of sharing information, but it’s also appropriate given the fact that we can’t meet face to face.
The last experience that I had on Jason’s podcast was so positive and effortless that I reached out to several members of my PLN and set up an appointment for later today to record the next episode of my podcast.
I thought that this blog post would be a great segue into the next part of my COETAIL Course 5 journey: my Community Involvement. So really in a way, this post is about my inspiration for how I got the idea of doing a podcast for a portion of my community involvement. I’ve been involved more and more on Twitter, but I thought this is a chance to take it further by (a) building stronger connections with my online PLN, and (b) creating a product that could potentially help others facing school closures, as our topic will be “School Closures, what’s worked? What hasn’t?” Hopefully we are able to continue building out our PLN as schools in the US begin closing down.
Wish me luck on the podcast! Stay tuned for the next post!