Cast Out!: Podcasting in the Classroom

Workshop Overview

This hands-on workshop will introduce educators to the possibilities of podcasting in the classroom. A podcast is a radio broadcast or similar program made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player, mobile device or personal computer. Although the term podcast is derived from the words iPod and broadcasting, podcasts are not limited to iPod or Apple brand products.


  1. The learner will find and successfully download Audacity or other approved podcasting program.
  2. The learner will create and plan the podcast using a storyboard format that includes content TEKS for their academic subject of choice.
  3. The learner will include dialogue with clear beginning, middle and end.
  4. The learner will comprehend how to include music/sound and decide if including such will enhance project.
  5. The learner will write a lesson that incorporates the use of their podcast.
  6. The learner will create a rubric or assessment tool for the lesson the podcast will be used for.
  1. The learner will successfully plug in microphone and test for sound.
  2. The learner will successfully use the record button to record desired dialogue, considering appropriate volume and minimal background noise.
  3. The learner will create a podast that is clear and easy to understand.
  4. The learner will create a podcast that is between five and six minutes in length.
  1. The learner will demonstrate the ability to use special effects (3 or more), depending on the nature of the podcast.
  2. The learner will edit to remove unnecessary parts such as silence and long pauses.
  1. The learner will successfully name and save files in specified locations.
  2. The learner will successfully save files as mp3 or other approved format.
  1. The learner will successfully publish podcast to the web.
  2. The learner will successfully test the podcast from the web.
  3. The learner will successfully demonstrate editing the ID or name tag for the mp3.

ISTE Standards

  • Teachers will demonstrate continual growth in technology knowledge and skills to stay abreast of current and emerging technologies.
  • Teachers will apply current research on teaching and learning with technology when planning learning environments and experiences.
  • Teachers will plan for the management of technology resources within the context of learning activities.
  • Teachers will facilitate technology-enhanced experiences that address content standards and student technology standards.
  • Teachers will use technology to support learner-centered strategies that address the diverse needs of students.
  • Teachers will apply technology to develop students' higher order skills and creativity.
  • Teachers will manage student learning activities in a technology-enhanced environment.
  • Teachers will apply technology in assessing student learning of subject matter using a variety of assessment techniques.
  • Teachers will apply multiple methods of evaluation to determine students' appropriate use of technology resources for learning, communication, and productivity.
  • Teachers will use technology resources to engage in ongoing professional development and lifelong learning.
  • Teachers will use technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, parents, and the larger community in order to nurture student learning.
  • Teachers will model and teach legal and ethical practice related to technology use.
  • Teachers will promote safe and healthy use of technology resources.


  • Audacity is a free, open source software used for digital audio recording and editing.
  • LAME is a free software application used to encode audio into the MP3 file format.
  • MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3) is a standard technology and format for compressing a sound sequence into a very small file (about one-twelfth the size of the original file) while preserving the original level of sound quality when it is played.
  • ID3 is a metadata specification that allows information to be added to MP3 files. Commonly, items like track title, artist, album and track number are placed within ID3 "tags" that identify the type of data contained within.
  • WAV (Waveform audio format) is a Microsoft and IBM audio file format standard for storing audio on PCs.
  • AIFF (Audio Interchange File Format)isan audio file format standard used for storing sound data for personal computers and other electronic audio devices.
  • Amplify increases or decreases the volume of a track or set of tracks. When you open the dialog, Audacity automatically calculates the maximum amount you could amplify the selected audio without causing clipping (from being too loud).

Articles and Slideshows/Videos

Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom - a very good article from Edutopia on podcasting in the classroom with good examples.

The Lowdown on Podcasting by Stephen Baker. BusinessWeek.

What is Podcasting? by Sharon Housley. Podcasting Tools: Resources for Podcasting.

Students and Teachers, From K to 12, Hit the Podcasts by Jeffrey Selingo. The New York Times.

Grand Prairie Schools Welcome iPods in Classrooms by Stella M. Chavez. Dallas Morning News.

Classroom Examples

Sandaig Primary School

Mr Jaffe class podcast - "where education meets utilization"

Secondary Teacher and Classroom Podcasts
Mr Hardy's French Class podcast (Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Texas) - L’histoire de Bob et de Marie

Marian Thacher and David Rosen discuss how podcasting can help with ESL children and reading skills.
Discussion of using podcasting for ESL children.

"7 things you should know about podcasting" offers interesting ways to integrate this technology into the classroom.
Podcasting Information

When creating the podcast with your students have the students create scripts of what they are going to say. Have them get as close to memorizing the script as possible, and be comfortable with what they are reading to avoid too many "takes" of a segment. Be careful that when they do read that they don't sound to "robot-like", their speaking should be as natural as possible."Dry Run" through the podcast to get a feel of how long and how the cast will sound.

100 Ways to Use Your iPod to Learn and Study Better
From the website: If you think that iPods are used just for listening to music, you obviously haven't been keeping up with the latest technology. The Apple-developed music player now features all kinds of accessories to help you study better, and now other companies are in a rush to get their designs in sync with the iPod. Pre-teens, college kids and even adults are taking advantage of the educational benefits an iPod affords them. From downloadable podcasts to just-for-iPod study guides and applications, learning on the go has never been easier. To find out about the many different ways you can transform your iPod into a learning device, check out our list.

Possible Formats:
News Report
Classroom audio parent newsletter
Student almanac: on this day, famous birthdays, historical events, weather and
seasonal observations, predictions and polls
Current Events/Our View
Today in History
Talk Show/Interview
Foreign Language/ESL students improving linguistic skills
Respond to Literature/Book Reviews
Author Interviews
Living History interviews
Variety Show
Product reviews/Advertisements
Drama: Reenact an historical event
Poetry Slam
Original student stories: You can not podcast the reading of an entire book or other copyright media, unless it is public domain.
School concerts
Sound Seeing Tour
Walking tours of museums and other sites
Field Trip recording
Professional Development: Teacher/Administrator created
Instructional Materials
Study Guides created by students or teachers
Archive Lessons
Screen cast: Smartboard can record screen actions as you explain a process with a diagram, math steps, science labs, classroom procedures
Word of the Day
Podcasting in the Reading Classroom

"Kid Cast: Podcasting in the Classroom"
the author Dan Schmit suggests thinking in "Time lines" to plan your show, where, "Each piece of content will fall along your podcast's time line." You may want to illustrate your podcast time line on chart paper or an overhead, or better yet on a computer dataprojector! That way the kids can see the podcast and grasp how it's going to flow and where they will be presenting. Having individuals or small groups in charge of small parts of the podcast will make it easier to plan out.

Podcasts combine elements of old, familiar genres of instruction and writing to create a new forum for teaching and learning. As a very new genre, the podcast’s utility in instruction is still being determined through experimentation. One lesson to be drawn from our experience is that podcasts, although using elements of traditional instruction, should be recognized as a distinct instructional medium. While the podcast may seem like an extended classroom lecture, it may be best to limit the instructor’s spoken part and devote more time to recordings of speeches, readings, or music, which can be incorporated into the podcast effectively using digital-editing software. When it comes to student-created podcasts, it is also important to recognize where such projects intersect with traditional writing projects and where they must diverge from writing and inhabit a new genre of composition. Students and instructors alike may become frustrated by the results of an assignment that merely asks students to turn a written paper into a podcast without a recognition of how written and oral genres differ. However, there are enough intersections between the skills needed to create a podcast and those employed in writing to make podcasts a valuable component of the writing classroom.

Implications for Learning
Listening to digital audio content won’t replace reading, listening to live presentations, or the multitude of other ways learners take in information, but it can augment those methods. The following are ways that podcasting can contribute to the learning process.

Assist auditory learners. Proponents of podcasting point out that the medium is perfect for learners who prefer to take in information aurally. Margaret Maag, an assistant professor at the University of San Francisco’s School of Nursing, has recorded her classroom lectures and posted them on a secure website since learning about podcasting from an Educause webinar in March 2005. She explains to students that the purpose is to help audio learners retain the information covered. Even though critics initially said students would stop attending classes, Maag found that attendance did not in fact decline, because students “didn’t want to miss what was going on.”

Provide another channel for material review. Listeners with other types of learning styles can benefit from podcasts as well. When material is delivered orally, as in university lectures, classroom-based training, or in-person presentations, podcasting can ease learner worries that they missed key information in their note-taking. The audio files can be reviewed at their leisure for understanding or before testing. In Maag’s end-of-course survey, this was a main reason students rated the recorded lectures as a strength of the course.

Assist non-native speakers. Learners who aren’t yet proficient in the language may struggle to keep up with lectures or presentations. Being able to review recordings of those events as many times as necessary for understanding can be of great benefit. Podcasting can also be an excellent technology for learning a language, not only for listening to speech and pronunciation but also, in combination with a recording device, for capturing a learner’s own speech for review by themselves or a teacher. (See Englishcaster, podcast lessons and radio-style shows for English-language learners.)

Provide feedback to learners. In addition to recording her lectures, Margaret Maag uses her MP3 player to record feedback on her students’ group presentations, creating a 3- to 4-minute file for upload. She says, “I think a professor’s voice adds to the feedback and it saved me a lot of time at the end of the semester.” This use can apply not only to instructors but also to learners, who could record and podcast peer feedback.

Enable instructors to review training or lectures. Another benefit of recording her lectures, Margaret Maag says, is that she can “critique them as a method of improving my teaching style.” Archived online learning events already provide this benefit to instructors. Now podcasting can offer the same advantages for classroom-based teaching and training. In addition, managers who want to review their staffs’ instruction could subscribe to the podcasts as well.

Replace full classroom or online sessions when content simply requires delivery. In many cases, learning requires interaction, questioning, practice, and so forth. But when what’s required is simple delivery of information, a full-fledged in-person or online course may not be necessary. Podcasting can alert learners that there is new material to be accessed and then allow them to access it whenever, wherever they want.

Provide supplementary content or be part of a blended solution. When a full course is necessary, there may be occasions when supplementary material would be helpful to learners. Subject-matter-expert interviews are just one example of this type of content. The material could be available for access on a voluntary basis, or it could be a required component of a classroom or online course in a blended solution. In any case, the RSS technology allows instructors to make the material easily accessible to learners and to alert them when new content is in the pipeline.

Additional Examples:
Mabry Middle School, Mabry, Georgia
Bob Sprankle's Room 208, Wells, Maine
Chris Sloan's NCTE 2007 presentation: Student podcasts
Troy Hicks and Dawn Reed of the Red Cedar Writing Project discuss podcasting in a high school speech class
Abigail Kennedy: Use of podcasts for book reviews
Student vodcasts: Hartman Elementary School, Ellwood City, PA
University of Minnesota:Then and Now: world history course
Alan November: podcast: interview with Bob Sprankle about using podcasts in his classroom
Podkids: Student podcasts
University of California, Berkeley: course podcasts
Wuerzburg Elementary School, Wuerzburg, Germany
Stony Brook Elementary School, York, PA
Mr. Coley's Room 34 class, Tovashal Elementary School, Murrieta, CA
Longfellow School, LaCrosse, Wisconsin
Speaking of History: 8th grade history
Mr. Blake's Classroom III podcasts (truckcast recorded from a pickup truck)
John Hanson Community School, Hampshire, England
Long Elementary School, Dearborn, Michigan
Maple Grove Public Schools
Mr. Fitzpatrick 4th grade podcasts
YouthVoices: New York City Writing Project
In a project funded by the National Writing Project, Youth Voices (, students in journalism classes in two New York high schools and one Utah high school shared their podcast productions on blog posts (Oh, 2006). An African-American 11th grade student in New York describes how she must ask a white woman to hail a cab for her because cabs would not stop to pick her up. A ninth grade student in Salt Lake City her volunteer work in local children’s hospital and her experience of playing a harp to patients in the hospital. The students in this project enjoyed listening to each others’ podcasts, and frequently commented on their posts.

One of the teachers in the project, Chris Sloan, noted the value of having students share their writing orally as a means of enhancing their sense of voice. Based on his own experience as a musician recording his own music, Sloan noted that “‘When I started to hear my voice played back to me, I became a better writer’” (p. 4).
Paul Allison's webcasts of students' at East Side Community High School, New York

Step-by-Step Instructions

How to Install Audacity and LAME Mp3
  1. Download the file to your desktop
  2. Once you have downloaded, unzip it to the desktop.
  3. You should now have a folder on the desktop called AudacityPortable.
  4. To use Audacity, open the PortableAudacity folder and double click on Audacity.exe, that's it. The Lame mp3 encoder is already installed.
Since this is a portable application, you can even drag the folder over to a pen drive or usb drive and use Audacity on any computer without installing it.

For MAC Users Only:
Mac OS 9 or X
  • Go to the LAME download page.
  • Download either libmp3lame or the version of LameLib for your operating system.
  • When you have finished downloading, use Stuffit Expander to extract the files. (This may happen automatically.)
  • Save the file called "LameLib" or libmp3lame.dylib anywhere on your computer.
  • The first time you use the "Export as MP3" command, Audacity will ask you where LameLib or libmp3lame.dylib is saved.

Video Tutorials

external image video-32x32.pngRecording Setup
external image video-32x32.pngAudacity Tools Tutorial
external image video-32x32.pngBasic Editing and Trimming
external image video-32x32.pngAdjusting Levels
external image video-32x32.pngImporting Audio and Adding Music
external image video-32x32.pngSaving Your Project and Exporting the MP3

Need Intro Music? - all music is Creative Commons and can be used as you see fit - my favorite place to get short clips of music. You can listen to them and then download as either mp3 or wav files

Additional Tutorials:
These movies show you how to record a podcast using Audacity. You will need to have Quicktime Player installed to view these movies.
  • Installing the LAME Encoder (2.2 MB)
    This movie shows you how to properly install the LAME Encoder. The LAME Encoder allows you to export MP3 files from Audacity. The MP3 files are compressed and thus are smaller and take less time to download.
  • Setting Up Preferences (2.2 MB)
    This movie shows you how to configure Audacity for podcasting, including how to set the right bit rate.
  • Saving the Project (752 KB)
    One of the first things you should do when you're creating a podcast is save your project file. The project file (.aup) in Audacity is the file you can go back and edit later.
  • Recording - Part 1 (1.1 MB)
    This movie covers the basic recording technique in Audacity.
  • Recording - Part 2 (1.5 MB)
    This movie shows you another way you can record in Audacity. Audacity creates a new track each time you press the Record button, but you can also record everything to a single track by pausing in the middle of the recording.
  • Previewing a Recording (1.9 MB)
    This movie shows you how to preview your recording.
  • Zoom Tools (1.7 MB)
    This movie shows you how to use the zoom tools in Audacity to get a better view of your project.
  • Editing Content (2.4 MB)
    This movie shows you how to remove part of your recording, as well as how to copy and paste content between tracks.
  • Noise Removal (1.9 MB)
    This movie shows you how to use the Noise Removal effect in Audacity to remove background noise. A little goes a long way with this effect.
  • Adjusting Volume Level (1.8 MB)
    This movie shows you to different ways to adjust the volume in Audacity: using the Gain slider, which adjusts the volume for the entire track; and using the Amplify filter, which allows you to adjust the volume of a selection.
  • Import Background Music (2.3 MB)
    This movie shows you to import a music file to use as background music for your Audacity project.
  • Time Shift Tool (1.9 MB)
    The Time Shift tool allows you to move content in a track. In this movie, I show you how to slide the voice on track one over so that the background music on track two plays by itself at the beginning of the podcast.
  • Fade Effects (1.5 MB)
    This movie shows you how to create fade in and fade out effects.
  • Envelope Tool (2.5 MB)
    The Envelope tool gives you more control over the volume levels of your recording. This movie shows you how to use the Envelope tool to adjust the volume over time.
  • Exporting as MP3 (2.4 MB)
    This movie shows you how to export your Audacity project as an MP3 file which will be compressed and thus much smaller in size.
  • Export Multiple Tracks (2 MB)
    This movie demonstrates a feature of Audacity that allows you to export the contents of several tracks as individual files.

Workshop Project

Now that you have learned all about podcasting, your project is to create a student sample podcast as an example of your expectation for the project. Don't forget the importance of a well defined audience and audience appropriate podcast content.

The sample podcast should include:
  • A script or dialogue
  • An edited & tested podcast
  • Should be 3 to 5 minutes in length

Checklist for podcast project
3 to 5 minute podcast recorded
Description of how this podcast could be used in your classroom

Grading Rubric


1. Discuss possible uses for podcasting as an instructional tool.
2. Look at the following websites and discuss something you found that was interesting.
3. Upon completion of your student sample podcast, reflect on your experience. What might you do differently next time and list possible suggestions for other podcast creators.


  • This is a link for audacity- a free podcast program. This program is relatively easy to use and recommended for this activity. Audacity
  • There are Windows, Mac OS 9 or X, and Linux/Unix versions available. You will also have to download the LAME MP3 encoder which allows Audacity to export MP3 files. You will see the download link for that on the same page as the Audacity download.
  • Here are some easy to use online tutorials for creating a podcast:
  • Hint: you will need a microphone. Radio Shack and Best Buy have several models ranging in price. You may have some already on your campus or within your organization.
  • Here is a good link for creating rubrics: Rubistar
  • A few examples for podcast rubrics, group work rubrics, and rubric tutorials can be found here and many other places on the web:
    Examples and Tutorials

Additional Links:

Optional Workshop: How to Create a Video Cast (Vodcast)