Being a regular on radio stations around the country, it often surprises people when I say I’ve never made a podcast before. I’ve also only been on one as a guest. So in the spirit of experimentation with content, I’ve given it a shot:
Finding the story
Deciding a topic for a podcast is the first challenge. It needed to be something that interested and excited me, as that energy would come across to the audience. With the theme of education, I decided on how digital methods could be used to engage students with science. And in particular, I was enthused to find studies into student-created digital media, which paralleled to what I was doing myself – learning a topic by creating media about it, to share with others.
As is usual for me, my initial draft script was significantly longer than desired, meaning I had to rethink the message and argument, distilling it to the key points. While I would have liked to draw more from the two case studies I present, and look deeper into the breadth of work that Wendy Nielsen in particular has done on the subject, unfortunately time constraints limited diving too deeply. I was also planning on interviewing an acquaintance who develops science teaching resources, instead we may record a longer form of the podcast in the future involving her.
To record I used a mobile hands-free-kit microphone. In the future I will use a different method, as I later found a rattle sound in some places in my recording. While it doesn’t obscure my voice or detract from the message, it is still not perfect. A standalone microphone into my laptop would be a better solution.
Music and sound
Music and sounds really lift a podcast, creating locations and moods. My intro and outro music, which ducks under my words, was chosen to be modern and upbeat, fitting the feeling I was hoping to create with my podcast – modern technology providing opportunities.
Similarly, while talking about real-world opportunities for students to create digital science media, a gentler more inspiring music was chosen. This music also creates a chapter mark, providing listeners a chance to refocus before diving into the next phase of the discussion.
During a case study I created a setting inside a school classroom with a school bell and hubbub, a storytelling element to help transport listeners to the class involved.
Yes it takes a lot of searching to find the right music, but hitting upon the right piece that you just know is the “one” is extremely satisfying.
I also created a short video with some tips based on what I learnt through the process:
And then, disaster struck. On the verge of completing it, my trusty computer gave up the ghost… Panic, reassessment of what I had, and what I could feasibly do by the end of the week saw me re-editing an early draft, which led to some awkward edits around music and sounds already “baked in” to the file.
In the end the technological hurdle was the biggest, but I think it turned out pretty well. There’s definitely some things I’d change for next time, but I’d love to know what you think in the comments.
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