At the APABAL Convention in Palma, September 10th, I described 10 things I take to class with me: the last, a digital voice recorder…
Possibly the easiest way to podcast [Wikipedia] I've tried is using SoundCloud [website], for which you will require a headset (earphones and mike, that is), in order to record and have somewhere to store the mp3 files you (or rather your learners) create. The files can be linked to and played back directly on SoundCloud; they can be stored there and easily embedded on a blog [video tutorial]; or, easier still, shared and commented on via an Edmodo group.
For ease, however, nothing beats a handheld mp3 recorder (like the Olympus VN-712PC in the photo, above), which frees you (your learners) from having to sit down in front of a computer. From the recorder, the files can then be downloaded on to a computer, and uploaded and shared in the same way.
Getting learners to record each other and then share the audio (podcasting in other words) is one of the most productive ways to use technology in the language classroom and among the most successful things I've tried, with learners of all ages (especially if the recordings then generate lots of comments on something like Edmodo).
The recordings can be interviews, stories, role-plays, jokes… and one short, easy task is to get them to write, rehearse and then record simple little ads like this one:
It's so good for you!
If you make it fun, if you can persuade them to really try and emphasise that "so", it's a first podcasting activity that really works. You know any activity "works" when your learners say, "Can we do that again?"!
Below, stored on SoundCloud and embedded here on this blog, is the "ad" we recorded during my APABAL session…
With very young learners, recording them singing whatever songs (or dialogues) you do with them is an easy place to begin, and one they love – because they love hearing themselves.
More about podcasting