Simple Podcasting

by Dean Mattson

I started doing a podcast about four years ago when I was still a classroom teacher. It was a time consuming process. I would record it in multiple takes with a portable recorder; transfer all the files to a computer; listen to all the recording and pick out the best parts; copy those to a new file; edit the recording; add an introduction and conclusion; add the title, description and tags and upload the final sound file. I kept it up for several months but eventually stopped; it took too much time for the benefit I got out of it.

Although the process has gotten a bit easier over the years. it was still too complex and time-consuming for me to recommend for most classroom teachers. Until now. Thanks to Wes Fryer, I found out about a new website called ipadio which makes the process incredibly easy.

Basically, ipadio is a phone-in service: You call a number, say what you want to say and ipadio will publish a recording of it. Which is pretty cool, but not ideal for most people  - and schools especially – because you have to get it right the first time. I’ve found that most people want the option to have another go at it if they completely blow it or make too many mistakes.

But the killer feature of ipadio is that it has these new smartphone applications for the iPhone and Android where you can make a recording and then decide if you want to upload it or start over and record it again. So, a student can record themselves several times until they’re satisfied with the result before they have to upload it. At that point, the process is incredible easy. You just add the title and ipadio takes care of the rest! You can even moderate the recordings at the website before they go live so you can make sure nothing inappropriate gets through.

What’s also nice about ipadio is that it is integrated with many other websites. I started recording our school’s morning announcements and added it to iTunes. If I wanted, I could automatically add updates to Twitter and Facebook every time a new recording is published. I can even embed them into blogs! It really is amazingly easy and versatile.

The one fly in the ointment is that I know many teachers would be reluctant to hand over their expensive phones to a student. I’m hoping Apple’s new iPad will have the same functionality with the purchase of an microphone and an adapter.

The other flaw is that it seems that you can only have one podcast stream per phone number. I had the idea of recording my computer lab lessons but then they would be added into the morning announcements podcast and I don’t want that. I’d be nice if I could have two podcasts and then, after I recorded something, I could make a decision of which stream to add it to.

Also, I wonder how ipadio is planning to monetize this service. Other than a plan for businesses that cost money, everything is completely free. The website doesn’t even have ads on it. Are we going to see the developers charging for this wonderful service in the future? Will it then be too expensive for most teachers/schools?

I hope not. For now, ipadio is a wonderful tool and I highly recommend it.