Learning podcasts

Learning podcasts

For our final assignment in the Learning and Collaboration Technologies module, we have the option of creating a 10 minute podcast on a topic of our choice. Podcasts are simply audio content, usually in the form of an mp3 file, which creators can post online for anyone to listen to. They have exploded in popularity in the last few years, as the availability of smartphones and free Wi-Fi make it easier than ever to download and listen to content.

And now podcasts can be used as an educational resource. Indeed, they have the potential to be a powerful form of mobile learning. Learners can listen to them at any time of the day and at their own convenience. Many learning podcasts take the form of an interview with a subject matter expert, while others simply present information on a subject that doesn’t require a visual component.

Creating a podcast is relatively straightforward: all you need is a headset with a decent microphone, and an audio recording programme on your computer. For this assignment, our instructors recommended that we use a programme called Audacity.

I began working through the lab sheets for learning how to use Audacity. And I immediately came across a large stumbling block with podcasting: I hate listening back to the sound of my own voice. But apparently this aversion is quite normal – we never normally hear our voice like other people hear it.

Unfortunately, producing a finished podcast means that I will have to listen to my voice repeatedly as I edit the content. This may involve listening back to remove all the “emms” and “ahhs” or long periods of silence. Or I may have to modify the volume in sections where I speak too softly or loudly. But apparently with practice and repeated listening, people do get used to the sound of their own voice. This certainly gives me reassurance. And while I still may not like my voice, at least hopefully I’ll be able to manage a whole podcast.

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