STEP 1: Be clear on your objectives and audience

Just like any other form of learning intervention, podcasting requires design.
While it’s easy to just turn on and start recording to see what happens, you’re not likely to get great results – not without a lot of effort and editing. A little planning up front will help a lot.

STEP 2: Think format, frequency, length

Once you’re clear on why you’re doing a podcast, and for whom, the next key point is to decide what kind of format you’re going to follow.

That format suits well to podcasting. You can include special effects. Story telling is intrinsically oral. You could write the stories down, but so much is conveyed by tone of voice, emotion of storyteller, that audio – depending of course on your learning preference –can do much more than the written word to get the point across.

The interview
Usually two-way: interviewer an interviewee. Probably the most common form of podcast .Effective for helping the interviewee convey messages in a friendly, conversational format. Some preparation is required to get it right.

The magazine show
May include some opening monologue an interview with one or more guests, emails or voicemails from listeners, and music. Can be very effective if produced to a high standard – but time-consuming to prepare, record and edit.

The documentary

Themed show focused on a specific topic, including interview clips from variety of subjects, and a linking narrative.

STEP 3: Get the hardware and software in place

Here’s the basic kit bag with some comments.
A decent microphone
An mp3 recorder (so you can do interviews away from the laptop
Audio editing software. A commonly used application is Audacity, a free and effective editing tool:
Somewhere to upload the mp3s to e.g. your server
Again there’s lots of open source software out there to help make this easy.

.© Ufi/learndirect and Kineo 2007

Some other possible ideas for podcasts:
  • A regular series (weekly, monthly) news bulletin about Barcelona or about your school.
  • Presenting ourselves (for example if you were going to do a project with other schools)
  • Films we've seen (or other cultural events)
  • Dramatizations (adaptations?) of the dialogues in your coursebook