Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Podcasting on a Chromebook

Podcasting is much more than just audio recording.  A podcast is an episodic series of audio recordings that are published to the web for a global audience.  While anyone can record audio and host it online, it takes time and energy to meet the demands of a syndicated podcast.  The directions below will lead you through the steps of creating your own podcast.  From recording to submitting the podcast for syndication in the iTunes music store and everything in between, it is all listed in details below.

Note: These steps have been streamlined to work in a Chromebook environment.  Software based solutions for audio editing far exceed the functionality of cloud-based editors at this time. The simple fact that this can be done entirely online or on a Chromebook, is an accomplishment in its own right.  

Step 1: Write a script. Writing is an important component of the educational process and this is a wonderful opportunity to integrate that skill in a “fun” activity.  A script does not need to be in a specific format, but if you want to “keep it real,” the Screenplay Formatter is a cool Google Doc Add-on that gives your student’s work an authentic look and feel.  The screenplay writing process is where all the real work is done.  Planning, research, and synthesis all live here.  The “Podcast” is just the pretty outcome.

Step 2: Record.  A recording can be as simple as one student’s voice or as complicated as a full on dramatization, complete with music and sound effects.

To record a simple episode of 5 minutes or less that includes an unedited recording from your computer's microphone, Speakpipe is a good option.

For a more complicated recording that requires editing and/or the addition of music and sound effects, your best option is Beautiful Audio Editor.  It works in tandem with your Google Drive to save project files.  I highly recommend CC Mixter and Freesound for copyright friendly music and sound effects.

When downloading completed tracks from from Beautiful Audio Editor, be sure to do so in .mp3, not .wav.

Step 3: Hosting.  Traditionally, this is the part of the podcasting equation is the most difficult.  As a host does more than just store an audio recording, this is where most potential podcasters get stuck.  Podcast Machine is the one stop shop for hosting and broadcasting your new podcast.

  • Choose a unique name for your account, then click the Create Account button.
  • Add a new Channel.  *Each channel can have an unlimited number of episodes.  We will get to adding those later.
  • Give your Channel a name and a good description.  Adding Tags in the Advanced section is also a good idea.

  • Before you click the Create button, it is essential that you add an appropriate logo.  Logos are how potential listeners are going to choose whether or not to download your episodes.  Think of it as your one chance to make a first impression.  How many snap decisions have you made to rent a movie or buy a product based exclusively on how the outside of the box looks?

    • You may upload any image you like here, but if you plan to submit your podcast to Apple for syndication in the iTunes store, your image must be a minimum of 1400 x 1400 pixels and a maximum of 3000 x 3000 pixels.   This sounds simple, but finding an image, just the right size for Apple, can be exhausting.  My advice here is to open Google Drive, create a new Google Drawing.  From the File menu, select Page Setup.  From the dropdown, choose Custom.  From the second dropdown, change it from Inches to Pixels.  Finally, add 1400 x 1400 in the spaces provided and click OK.
    • Now your canvas is the correct size.  From the Insert menu select Image.  Import or upload your desired photo.  Your photo will automatically be centered on the 1400 x 1400 canvas.  You may resize it at this point by dragging the corners.  When you are satisfied, select Download as... .jpg from the File menu to download your new Apple ready logo.

  • Click the New Episode button. You will do this each time you add a new episode to the channel.  
  • Just as in the Channel naming step, you must give the episode a name, description and add tags.  Tags help end users find your podcast.  
  • *Optional: Click the Choose File button to select an image file for the specific episode.  If no image file is use, the channel art will be used by default.
  • Click the Create button.
  • Click the Upload a File button to upload your audio recording.

Step 4: Share.  You have three share options. They are listed in order from easiest, to most complex (The coolness factor also goes up accordingly).

  1. Use the hyperlink to the your Podcast Machine channel to share your podcast.  In this case, listeners would visit your Podcast Machine channel directly to listen to new episodes.
  2. Use the embed code from your Podcast Machine channel page to embed a Podcast player of episodes on your website.
  3. Submit your podcast to iTunes for international syndication.

Submit to iTunes
(This portion of the directions are adapted from
*To submit a podcast to iTunes, you must have a functional Apple ID (and know the password;).  If you don’t have one, you can create it here.
  1. Use your Apple ID to sign into iTunes Connect.
  2. Click the + icon in the upper left of the iTunes Connect dashboard.
  3. Get the RSS feed from your Podcast Machine channel by right clicking and copying the link address of the designated feed (the iPod or mp3 feed is recommended).
  4. Paste the link in the box on your iTunes Connect page and click the Validate button.
  5. Assuming you don’t have any validation errors, click the Submit button.  
Your podcast should show up in the iTune directory within 48 hours.  Your podcast will automatically update in iTunes when you add a new episode to your Podcast machine channel.  

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