<span class='p-name'>Getting Started with Podcasts: Recording your podcast</span>

Getting Started with Podcasts: Recording your podcast

Podcasts are becoming very popular as a new storytelling medium to spread ideas and your message online. In this series of posts, I’ll detail everything that you’ll need to know as you get started in the world of podcasting.

Our first post focused on understanding, subscribing, and listening to podcasts. The second post discussed identifying the purpose, audience, and format of your content. The third post dug a bit deeper and unpacked the process of finding talent, content, great audio, and your voice. In this post we’ll discuss the nuts and bolts of recording your podcast.

Recording your content

Throughout this series we’re taking a deep dive into the world of podcasting. At this point you should have a good grasp of podcasting and have started to listen to several. You should also have the desire to reach out to specific audience and make content available for them. Keep in mind that I believe that you could & should be podcasting. Chances are, you’re already creating great content in some format. Podcasts allow you to make this content easily available to a wider audience.

In these posts we’ve included a mixture of video and audio podcasts. You may choose to include video in your podcast, but we’ll continue to focus on recording and sharing audio content in these posts. Perhaps in a future series we’ll take a deep dive into sophisticated video productions.

Building your podcasting kit

Please note that it is very easy to spend a lot of money on podcasting equipment. As you investigate podcasting equipment, you’ll also recognize that there are individuals that will only advise that you purchase the best of the best equipment. I received the same sort of guidance as I’ve experimented with photography, videography, and podcasting. I don’t think that you need to subscribe to this thinking about you get started.

My goal is for you to get started, possibly invest in your equipment along the way if you like it. You need to develop a podcasting kit that is of good quality, easy to use, and relatively fool-proof. You don’t want to worry about the equipment when you should be focused on your content. Most of the equipment in my podcasting kit serves double duty and is also used for webinars, screencasts, and narrating videos.

As you record your podcast, you will record this content on your own, or with others. If you’re recording your content with others, these recordings may be face-to-face (F2F), virtual, or some mixture of the two. We’ll unpack everything in this post.

Recording on your own

If you’re recording your podcast by yourself, I’d recommend starting with a minimal kit. I use a computer (Mac) and a microphone. I use (and love) the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB mic. I recommend a mic with a USB cable so you can plug it right into your computer. I’ve used this on my Mac and PC with no issues. You might also want to check out the Audio-Technica AT 2005 USB, the Blue Yeti mic, or the Samson C01U Pro.

I’d select a quiet space to record your podcast that cuts out the ambient noise. You’ll want to consider background noise. If you live on a busy street, or having crying babies nearby…it’ll come through the recording. You should also be aware of how noise travels in your room. If you’ve got bare walls, hardwood floors, and a lot of echo…noise will bounce around and go straight into your mic. You might want to drop a carpet on the floor and add some plants to the room. Curtains and possibly some sound deadening tiles or foam might help as well.

You might want to investigate adding on to your mic over the future with a tripod, shock mount, and pop filter. Check out this list of equipment used by hosts on the Incomparable Radio Network. Tripods, shock mounts, and pop filters will help clean up the sound coming out of your mic. You’ll want this.

Plug your mic into your computer. On the Mac and PC I recommend using Audacity to record your audio. It is a little tricky to install, but it’s free…and has a lot of support tutorials available online. You can also use QuickTime Player to record on the Mac. It’s already installed…and works great. In either situation, make sure you’re selecting the USB mic and not the built-in mic on your computer.

I also recommend using headphones and either plugging them in to the computer or the mic if it allows this connection. This will help reduce background noise and give better control over your volume levels.

I don’t recommend using Garageband on the Mac to record the audio as it sometimes adds in effects that are more of a hassle than they’re worth. We will examine GarageBand later for editing your podcast.

There are many options that use your iPhone, iPad, or Android device to record podcasts. I don’t trust, or use these at this point. I prefer the mic and computer kit to ensure that once I set things up, things just work.

Record your audio and save the output file in Dropbox or Google Drive. You want to make sure you’ve got a backup before you proceed.

Recording F2F with others

If you’re recording with a colleague (or group) in the same location, you can use the same setup as listed in the section above. The one challenge that you might have is too much background noise, or the mic competing to pick up multiple speakers. Try to not speak over one another while recording…and make this evident with your group before you start recording. Be sure to turn off the computer microphone and select the one that you’re plugging in to the computer.

If you want to invest a bit, you might consider adding multiple microphones and a mixer, but that is adding a ton of cost and expertise. Alternatively, you might check out this kit from Tim Ferriss. His kit is simple, and doesn’t contain a lot of things that could go wrong. With the earlier example, the USB mic by itself should only cost you $100 to $150. If you upgrade to this kit from Tim you’ll realize that you’re multiplying your original costs. Once again…start small.

Be sure to find a quiet room and place the computer and mic in the middle of the action. If you’re not able to select the podcasting room that we discussed in the last section, be aware of the setting in which you record with your panel. I’ve learned that lecture halls are great for taking once voice and sending it to the back of the room, but horrible for recording group audio. You should also be aware of others entering/exiting the space.

Record the audio, and make sure you’ve got a backup. I’d also recommend having a secondary recording device (i.e., a phone, tablet, computer) in case something goes wrong with the original recording.

Recording virtually with others

In this scenario you connect with others virtually using online tools. This is how I record most of my podcasts. You can connect with others online, anywhere around the globe. The hardest thing is usually finding a time that works, and dealing with time zone issues.

For this scenario, you should once again use the podcasting kit and setup that I discussed in the last two sections. You’ll want to use your computer and mic, and connect with others using web conferencing software.

Most times I use Google Hangouts-on-Air for this purpose. Hangouts-on-Air (HoA) will stream your video conference (with up to 10 people) live to your YouTube channel. It will then archive the video to your YouTube channel. I share this video out with others to allow them to view it. One thing to be aware of is that the podcast is streamed live to the Internet. If you get a glitch, it’ll be live online. If there is a glitch, it’ll also be recorded on that YouTube video. You can go back and change the settings to make the video private or unlisted after you have finished.

Once you have finished, I strip the audio from the video and use that for my audio podcasts. There are a multitude of services that will convert your YouTube video to an audio file. I recommend and use ClipConverter.

One of the main complaints that I have with HoA is that the audio sometimes is lousy once you’ve stripped it from the video. For this reason, I’ve started using Skype and ecamm Call Recorder. Call Recorder records the video and audio that Skype uses. It’ll capture and separate all of these different parts, and can assemble or separate them as needed. In this process, it saves the audio coming from your mic, or the microphones of your panel. That was you can make sure that if there is an issue with audio, it’s coming right from the source. ecamm Call Recorder is $29.95 and works on the Mac. There are a ton of alternatives for PC that you can check out as well.

I’ve started moving over to Skype and ecamm Call Recorder for most of my interviews and podcasts.

Save the recorded audio in Dropbox or Google Drive. Make sure you’ve got a backup before you proceed.

What is Next?

In the next post we’ll discuss editing the audio content before moving on to saving and sharing this content online. Please feel free to share or comment on these materials.

If you like this…sign up for my newsletter to stay on top of weekly events in literacy, technology, & education.


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Also published on Medium.

5 Comments Getting Started with Podcasts: Recording your podcast

  1. Aaron Davis

    flickr photo shared by mrkrndvs under a Creative Commons ( BY-SA ) license
    My Month of May
    I got news this month that I was successful in my application for a position as a technology coach. As a part of the negotiations, I was able to keep my long service leave, which means that I will start in July. Subsequently, I have spent this month at home with our newborn while my wife returns to work. It has been a fantastic experience, dropping my older daughter off at school each day and seemingly doing endless chores the rest of the time. Here was me thinking that I would get to watch Days of Our Lives each day.
    In regards to my writing, here was my month in posts:

    Five Ways to Change the World Yesterday – This was a post I started a year ago and only just rediscovered it. The point was that blogging is not necessarily about my own ideas, but rather about being a conduit spreading ideas like a dandelion.

    What Makes a Comment? – So often people claim that there has been a death of commenting, but instead I tried to explain that the conversation is no longer centralised as it once was.

    TeachMeet10 – In lieu of the ten year anniversary of the first TeachMeet, Ewan McIntosh put out a request for stories, so I thought that I would share mine.

    Data, Parents and Education – Building on a post I wrote about the use of Facebook in schools, I elaborated on some of the implications of edtech for parents.

    What Type of Relationship Do You Have With Learners? – Inspired by a music documentary, I wondered about the relationship between learner and educator, compared with artist and producer.

    A Guide to Blogging Platforms and their Niches – A summary of some of the different blogging services available, what they enable and where their biases lie.

    Here then are some of the thoughts that have also left me thinking …
    Learning and Teaching
    Providing quality feedback in order to move students forward in their learning – Bianca Hewes elaborates on her use of feedback in the classroom focusing on medals and missions. She provides a range of useful examples to support this.

    Being at a BYOD school, and being a recent devotee of Google Apps for Education, I have found that there are lots of ways to use technology to make students’ engagement with their Medals and Missions feedback even more effective.

    Digital Portfolios: Moving Beyond the Glorified Scrapbook – Kelli Vogstad and Antonio Vendramin share their inquiry into digital portfolios and the lessons learnt. It provides some useful questions for everyone to consider.

    Different parents want different things, but we believe all parents want to know if their children are learning and progressing. They want to know if their children are having difficulty and struggling in their learning. They want to know what the teacher is doing and what they as parents can do at home to help their children be more successful. And mostly, parents want to know that their children are cared for, safe and respected, and liked by others. Through thoughtful digital portfolio collections, parents can be reassured that the teacher really understands and knows their child and is helping them learn and succeed.

    Learning (and Assessment) First– Alex Quigley unpacks the question of assessment and what is needed in order to properly support learning.

    Curriculum design, target setting, testing, work scrutiny, moderation, feedback, marking – we need to look again at all of these and ask whether they are actually aiding learning

    Digital Citizenship: A Community Approach – Christine Haynes unpacks the challenge of digital citizenship, provides a range of resources to support teachers and parents to be safer online.

    When technology was limited to computers in labs or family desktops, the urgency to teach digital citizenship wasn’t there. Now with phones in the hands of toddlers, the practice starts young.

    7 ways to assess without testing – In light of the frenzy of testing that is going on at the moment all around the world, Steve Wheeler provides some alternative forms of assessment that do not involve testing. Along with Rachel Wilson’s piece on alternatives to NAPLAN, both posts add to the counter-narrative to the culture of standardised testing.

    Children don’t learn any more or any better because of standardised testing, unless there is feedback on how they can improve. But SATs seem to be the weapon of choice for many governments across the globe. It seems that little else matters but the metrics by which our political masters judge our schools.

    10 Questions For Teacher Reflection – Insightful as always, Edna Sackson provides a list of questions to generate reflection.

    We’re not even half way through the school year here, but a request from someone important to me on the other side of the world provokes my thinking… ‘Have you ever written a blog post on strategies, tools or frameworks that a teacher can use to reflect on their past year of teaching?’ My immediate response: ‘Reflection has to happen all the way along. It’s too late at the end of the year.’ But here are some questions to ask yourself, as you look back, look within and look forward…

    How to Get Started Using Design Thinking in the Classroom – AJ Juliani provides a range of tips for introducing the use of Design Thinking into your classroom. This is a part of his new book LAUNCH which is his own take on the Design Thinking cycle.

    The LAUNCH Cycle is not a formula. It is not a step-by-step guide to being creative. However, we’ve used the LAUNCH Cycle framework to make creativity an authentic experience time and time again in our classrooms.

    Why Aren’t Students Allowed to Blog? – Peter DeWitt questions why we do not make better use of blogs to support learning. He provides a number of possibilities, including curation, media literacy, student voice, assessing learning, collaboration and artistic freedom.

    If we want students to learn how to use technology effectively, then we should provide multiple avenues to do it.

    Who is Investing in Edtech? – Audrey Watters provides a summary of the venture capitalists investing in educational technology. It is interesting to see how they interconnect within the range of products that make up their portfolio, but also how they connects with other investors.

    One of the reasons I started my own startup database is that I was interested in questions beyond “who’s making the most investments” or even “who’s making the biggest investments.” Like, who’s invested regularly in companies that have had “successful exits”? Who hasn’t? Who hasn’t made any education investments at all lately? Which trends do investors seem to cluster around? How has that changed over time? Which education CEOs are investors in their own startups or in others?

    Apple Stole My Music, No Seriously – James Pinkstone recounts his story of how in signing up to Apple Music his own personal library was transferred to the cloud and deleted from his hard drive. What was most interesting was that this included his own personal creations. Scarily, this is all covered within the terms and conditions.

    Audacious. Egregious. Crazy. These are just some of the adjectives I used in my conversation with Amber. She actually asked me how I wanted to move forward, putting the onus of a solution back on me. I understand why, too: she’s just as powerless as I am. I would love for Apple to face public backlash and financial ramifications for having taken advantage of its customers in such a brazen and unethical way, but Apple seems beyond reproach at this point. It took three representatives before I could even speak to someone who comprehended what I was saying, and even when she admitted to Apple’s shady practice, she was able to offer no solution besides “don’t use the product.” When our data is finally a full-blown utility, however, “just don’t use the product” will cease to be an option. Apple will be in control, bringing their 1984 commercial full circle into a tragic, oppressive iron.

    Getting Started with Podcasts – Ian O’Byrne has been compiling a series of posts addressing everything there is to know to create your own podcast. He has addressed subscribing to a podcast, identifying a purpose, finding your voice, recording and editing.

    Over the past year, podcasts have been experiencing a renaissance as an increased number of users tune in. Even more people are looking to join the chorus to create and share their own content online.

    The End of Code – Jason Tanz explores the future of machine learning where the logic of the enlightenment is replaced with by a world of entanglement. This touches on the ongoing debate around coding. Interestingly it focuses on programming rather than coding.

    In the same way that you don’t need to know HTML to build a website these days, you eventually won’t need a PhD to tap into the insane power of deep learning. Programming won’t be the sole domain of trained coders who have learned a series of arcane languages. It’ll be accessible to anyone who has ever taught a dog to roll over

    I know how to program, but I don’t know what to program – Nano Dano critiques the common approach when addressing programming that we need to start from scratch, instead it is suggested that we start by tinkering with something that already exists. I think that this is the strength of sites such as Scratch and Github which allow you to easily fork ideas. Dave Winer talks about building on prior art.

    In the software community the general attitude is “don’t reinvent the wheel.” It’s almost frowned upon if you rewrite a library when a mature and stable option exists. While it is a good rule in general, novices should not be afraid to reinvent the wheel. When it is done for learning or practice, it’s totally OK to make a wheel! It is an important part of learning

    66 Question Checklist for Rolling Out Google Apps – Eric Curts provides an extensive list of questions to consider why deciding to deploy Google Apps.

    So it is easy to see why so many schools are adopting Google Apps for Education. However, what may not be as easy is the process of deploying Google Apps for your district. There are a lot of questions to consider, options to choose, and steps to take to get from start to finish in a complete roll out.

    Artificial intelligence, cognitive systems and biosocial spaces of education – Ben Williamson delves into the world of educational AI. In this lengthy post he investigates different iterations from IBM and Pearson. What is interesting is that AI is very much a self-fulfilling prophecy. For another perspective on AI, check out Graham Brown-Martin’s post What does AI mean for Education?, while danah boyd addresses the challenges associated with bias in her argument that Facebook Must Be Accountable to the Public

    In brief, the biosocial process assumed by Pearson and IBM proceeds something like this:
    > Neurotechnologies of brain imaging and simulation lead to new models and understandings of brain functioning and learning processes
    > Models of brain functions are encoded in neural network algorithms and other cognitive and neurocomputational techniques
    > Neurocomputational techniques are built-in to AIEd and cognitive systems applications for education
    > AIEd and cognitive systems are embedded into the social environment of education institutions as ‘brain-targeted’ learning applications
    > Educational environments are transformed into neuro-inspired, computer-augmented ‘brainy spaces’
    > The brainy space of the educational environment interacts with human actors, getting ‘under the skin’ by becoming encoded in the embodied human learning brain
    > Human brain functions are augmented, extended and optimized by machine intelligences

    Storytelling and Reflection
    Performance pay for teachers will create a culture of fear and isolation – Deborah Netolicky outlines the some of the problems associated with the Australian government’s renewed call for performance pay. Along with Jon Andrews, Joel Alexander, Cameron Malcher and Corinne Campbell, they provide a thorough discussion of the topic. Sadly, in Victoria such discussions are not new. I have attempted to elaborate my concerns here and had also had a letter published.

    The government wants to improve the quality of teachers and teaching in Australia, in order to improve the learning and achievement of Australian students. This is an admirable goal, but negative drivers of change such as performance pay for teachers, are toxic to education. Education reform needs to move away from a focus on performativity and accountability measures such as those outlined in the budget, and instead focus on trusting and supporting teachers.

    Learning that Matters – Robert Schuetz explores the question of relevancy focusing on David Perkins notion of learning being lifeworthy.

    Reimagining education means making lifeworthy learning a curricular priority. Perkins recommends keeping the dialogue positive and productive by identifying themes that generate great understandings. Start by asking what is important now and likely to be important in the future. No one can accurately predict the future but identifying trends and educating for the unknown moves learning towards greater relevance. In addition to igniting lifelong learning, we are at least better prepared for the unsolicited, “why do we have to learn this?”

    Unlearning and Other Jedi Mind Tricks – Finding the (Creative) Force – Amy Burvall uses a series of gifs from Stars Wars to unpack some of the nuances associated with the creative process. If you have never read any of Burvall’s work, this is a great place to start.

    Examine things from all angles, if you can. And most importantly, listen. Never stop listening.

    The Five-Minute Dance Party – Emilie Garwitz shares how those activities that we can write-off as fun and frivolous are actually at the heart of the most important lessons we can learn.

    Ask any successful person in business about their success and they will tell you that being comfortable with risk is one of the keys to unlocking their full potential. So, the earlier you become comfortable with taking risks, the easier it becomes later in life.

    50 Shades of Open – Jeffrey Pomerantz and Robin Peek investigate what exactly is meant by the notion of ‘open’. They unpack ideas around open source, open access, open society, open knowledge, open government and open washing. A journal entry published at First Monday, this is one of those pieces that you can come back again and again.

    This essay is probably only the opening gambit in attempts to disambiguate this term. We have merely opened the door on the many uses of the word ”open;“ as the use of the word grows, others must opine.

    The Future of Work: Trends and Toolsets – Doug Belshaw shares a summary of a report he wrote exploring the future of work. He breaks this investigation down into four sub-themes: the demise of hierarchies, re-thinking the location of work, the rise of workplace chat and mission-based work. In addition to this, he created a document contiaining a plethora of further readings. I always find such conversations intriguing as to implications for education.

    The main trends around the future of work seem to be broadly twofold: empowering individuals and teams to make their own decisions around technology; as well as, democratising the process of deciding what kind of work needs to be done

    Panel Beaters – Jon Andrews provides a fantastic summary of the power and importance of coaching in his reflection on ResearchEd.

    Coaching, for us, is NOT a cure to be administered or a tool to be manipulated. Rather, it is an offer, a partnership that is rooted in trust, respect and objectivity. It is a great privilege to partner with colleagues to drill down and explore the granularity of practice.

    Is ‘pedagogical love’ the secret to Finland’s educational success? – Dr Tom Stehlik unpacks the seemingly mystical term of pedagogical love. This is one of those things I have thought about since I first read The Finnish Way. I wonder if in fact with need Heutagogical Love? That is, a love of learning and a passion for that?

    Could we become a nation which is child-centred and in which every family respects the child and considers education the foundation to national prosperity, as well as personal wellbeing? Many Australian parents have a view of schools that has been coloured by their own experiences, often negative, so this would require a massive cultural shift in mindset. Could we ask Australian teachers to accept a lower salary and invest the funding balance into subsidised school meals instead? If we want to learn from the Finns, these are some of the questions that would need to be addressed at a macro level.

    In a recent episode of TIDE Podcast, Doug Belshaw and Dai Barnes discussed the use of SAMR. A while back I wrote a post exploring SAMR. As a part of my investigation, I collected together a range of critiques. These are some of them:

    Beyond SAMR: The Teacher’s Journey To Technology Integration – Catlin Tucker suggests that a focus on tasks overlooks the holistic nature of technology integration.

    Why I’m Done With SAMR – Mark Samberg points out that there is little detail of instruction, instead technology is described as the transformational solution.

    SAMR is not a ladder, a word of warning – Mark Anderson explains that SAMR is not a ladder. Being so makes it an exclusive club that is measured by those best apt at utilising different programs and applications.

    The Height of SAMR – Steve Wheeler argues that the opportunities afforded by technology are often missed when we do not situation learning in real situations.

    Clearing the Confusion between Technology Rich and Innovative Poor: Six Questions – Alan November contends that even though the learning may be deemed as redefined, it really needs to be transformational.

    That Time When SAMR Gets Us Into Trouble – Darren Draper questions whether the integration of technology is ever obvious.

    Goodbye SAMR, Hello RATL – hris Hesselbein discusses the confusion associated with augmentation and modification. His solution is a mash-up of Marzano’s four point rubric with Joan Hughes’ RAT Framework.

    Open letter to Dr. Ruben Puentedura – Jonas Linderoth suggests that the ideas put forward through the SAMR model are not only obvious, but nothing new.

    What’s Wrong with SAMR in Education? – LeiLani Cauthen argues that the model actually stifles any discussion about new models of school and changing the traditional paradigm.

    I think that Richard Olsen sums the problem up best in a recent post on research when he makes the plea:

    I know it is tempting to take notice of bad research and evidence which we agree with, but please don’t do it. We need to throw away all bad research even when we agree with the “evidence.”

    So that is May for me, how about you? As always, interested to hear.
    Also, feel free to forward this on to others if you found anything of interest or maybe you want to subscribe?



  • Aaron Davis

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