An Update to Free Podcasting in the Classroom

Posted on February 18, 2010. Filed under: General, Podcast |

by Tim Cushman

Gcast made podcasting incredibly easy.  With Gcast, a user could record a podcast by phone (for a minimal cost) or upload recordings from a computer for free.

I was first introduced to Gcast a few years ago during a workshop by presenter and teacher extraordinaire, Chris Craft.  Using a cell phone, Chris created daily podcasts during his morning commute that were automatically posted and broadcast by doing nothing more than calling an access number and recording a message.  This feed could be subscribed to by students via iTunes or accessed through the classroom website.  [Note: Chris now uses BuzzSprout.  It is a pay-only model, but includes some nice features.]

It appears that Gcast is no longer an option with the site freezing new registration and blocking all new uploads effective February 1, 2010. Gcast was unique in that you could create a podcast for free if you opted to record in a program like Audacity, save it as an mp3, and then upload the audio file.  This was an effective means of distributing student-created podcasts.

While I liked Gcast, I have found that drop.io is a suitable alternative for distributing content at no cost. Think of Drop.io as on-line storage with sharing features (up to 100MB for free).  Just create a folder, or “drops,” and add your files for free.  Drop.io is built to be social so audio files easily become podcasts.  Each drop has its own call number assigned so that the user can create a podcast by calling Drop.io and recording a message.  Teachers can continue to record student podcasts in Audacity and upload the file to Drop.io.  These recordings can then be tied to iTunes for syndication.  The steps for creating a “dropcast” can be found here.

The uses for Drop.io extended beyond podcasting.  This is an amazing tool and worth exploring.  Make sure you start by watching the short Drop.io “how to” video.

There are several ways to integrate podcasting in to any classroom.  Explanation of podcasting projects like book talks, literature circles, drama, meet the author, science logs, art critiques, historical audio diaries, and oral histories can be found here.  I have resource materials for blogging on my website at http://timcushman.com/presentations.html.

How have you used, or plan to use, podcasting in your classroom?

How else could you use drop.io to support learning?

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One Response to “An Update to Free Podcasting in the Classroom”

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Another easy podcast/audio tool of a different genre than the former Gcast and Buzzsprout is Myna Audio Editor @ Aviary.com. (similar to Audacity, but online and with a library of sounds.)


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    The School District of Greenville County – Instructional Technology Department

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