As an English-as-a-foreign-language teacher trainer, I enjoy taking classes to further my knowledge, understandings, and skillsets on topics that I feel are relevant to my teaching practice. This past December, I had the opportunity to take a podcasting course.
One of the first exercises we were asked to complete for this podcasting course was to reflect on the purpose of having an educational podcast. In September of 2018, I started my own podcast called, “[In the classroom: Making teaching and learning more transparent](https://podcasts.apple.com/mx/podcast/in-the-classroom/id1462704393?utm_campaign=299468636&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Revue%20newsletter)”, and remember thinking at the time that I wanted to make my own teaching and learning processes as transparent as possible, but beyond that, didn’t really consider the reason or reasons for having such a podcast. Now, I feel I can state my “why”.
Reasons for having an educational podcastAll of the reasons related to having an educational podcast relate to my attempt to add value to my learners in the courses they have with me.
I want to create a reflective learning environment for myself that I share with others. Knowing that much of what I do as an instructor will later be shared publicly motivates me to do my best. Perhaps it’s counterintuitive, but knowing that I will share my teaching practice publicly makes me want to take more risks and try new things. Having a reflective learning environment for oneself is the basis for connecting with others.
I want to model behaviors related to my teaching practice for my learners (i.e., English-as-a-foreign-language teacher trainers). As my learners are studying to be English teachers, I encourage them to pay close attention to the teaching practices of their instructors in terms of what might work well for them in the future and what might not work well. If I offer a description and explanation of what I do, this might shed light on how they might (or might not) adapt my practice given their own educational context.
I want to offer a version of flipped learning so that live classes (whether in-person or online) are as engaging, effective, and efficient as possible. In other words, podcast episodes might be best served as orienting the learner before a particular class session, it might serve as an activity during a class session, or it might be part of an activity learners complete or refer to after a class session. The podcast episode might include course content in the form of a lecture or it might be an explanation of how to carry out a performance task. Podcasts that are in the target language of those learners who are learning an additional language have the added benefit of pausing and replaying the audio or video so that input becomes more comprehensible.
I want to showcase learners’ work as part of an ongoing working and professional e-portfolio. As learners progress throughout the BA program in English language teaching, they are encouraged to cultivate an e-portfolio that demonstrates their knowledge and understanding, skillsets, and disposition as teacher practitioners. Offering a podcast that promotes their work is an additional component to assisting them in determining what work should and should not be included in an e-portfolio.
I want my podcast to be used to orient and motivate learners to do good work. Orientation episodes might be created to help with clarifying how to use certain technology, it may be to provide learning strategies for completing certain tasks, and it may be to show empathy and perspective to help them have the proper attitude when it comes to their own learning.
My gear for creating a podcastFor my main setup (home office), I use a Shure SM7B microphone that I run through a DBS 286s channel strip processor, which connects to a ZOOM Podtrack P4, 4-track podcast recorder. The Zoom P4 connects to my computer where I run Open Broadcast Software (OBS) to record audio and (1080p webcam) video for the podcast. I then use Kdenlive to make any edits to the track, which also includes normalizing the audio to 14 LUFS (loudness units full scale). Audio files get hosted to Anchor.fm, which then automatically get sent to various affiliated podcatchers like Apple Music, Spotify, among others. I provide show notes or a link to the show notes in Anchor.fm so to include complementary information to the episode.
As an alternate setup that I use in my office at school, I use a Shure MV7 USB microphone that connects directly to my computer. From there, the process is similar as stated above: OBS to Kdenlive, etc.
My workflow for generating ideas for a podcast episode (the “how”)To formulate ideas to be included in a podcast episode, I use Obsidian (using a Zettelkasten method) to move ideas from fleeting, to literature, to permanent notes. Podcast topics range from content delivery for courses I teach, courses that I take, and any other educational topics that relate to applied linguistics or education more generally. I typically use DuckDuckGo (Bangs) to help filter searchers that usually occur in Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, and any of the online databases available at our educational institution (e.g., EBSCO, Cambridge Journals, Comparative Education Review, Directory of Open Access Journals, Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Oxford University Press, Sage Journals, Science Direct, Springer Link, Taylor and Francis, and Wiley). Finally, I use Kindle to acquire books that I refer to in my podcasts.
I’m really enjoying the podcasting course that I started last month and which I’ll be continuing until January 21, 2022. As of right now, this is the “why” and “how” of my podcasting experience.
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