Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Audio Podcasts Online for Technology Leadership: PLNs, Vision & PD

This week’s 1.5 day workshop with educational administrators and teachers in Montana, “Technology Leadership: PLNs, Vision & PD,” was a great learning experience at multiple levels. Whenever educators get together and create media projects which are shared online and celebrated, good things usually happen. That’s been a key part of the formula for our Storychasers’ workshops as part of the Celebrate Oklahoma Voices and Celebrate Kansas Voices oral history projects. Many of our participants stepped up to the 2011 “Vision for Educational Leadership in 30 Seconds” challenge, and you can view submitted videos by searching YouTube for “digitalvision2011.”

Waiting for my flight back to Denver and then Dallas tonight, I quickly posted all the audio recordings from our workshop to the “Fuel for Educational Change Agents” podcast channel. I posted these to a new category for “techleadership.”

Publication of these audio files was a three part process. First, I converted the higher bitrate mp3 files (recorded with my battery operated Sony recorder) to WAV format, using free Switch software. I then dropped each WAV file on the free software program Levelator, to “normalize” the audio. Since we had people talking over the H.323 video connection as well as sharing in our presentation room in Missoula, this “normalization” step makes the audio recordings much easier to listen to since volume levels are “evened out.”

Audio Conversions

Last of all, I used Switch again to compress the “normalized” WAV files as 32 kbps mp3 files, which are smaller for uploading and downloading. I didn’t use Audacity in this process, but you can see in the “normalized” file below how the audio waveforms are fairly consistent, with no “peaks.” That’s the magic of Levelator!

Audio normalized with Levelator software

The other very important piece of this “quick publishing” podcast workflow is the free, open-source “Podcast Generator” software I have installed on my server. You can install it on any shared hosting server which supports PhP. A mySQL database is NOT required.

I was delighted to learn from Jason Neiffer this week that he listened to the iOS Apps for Productivity and Fun workshop podcast audio recordings I shared in December. Unlike my “normal” podcast channel, which I publish using the free PodPress plugin for WordPress, Podcast Generator doesn’t show download statistics for individual podcast episodes. I could look at my shared hosting site server logs to view file downloads, I suppose, but I have not ever done that. As a result, I really have no idea how many people are downloading podcasts from the “Fuel for Educational Change Agents” podcast channel.

I think that’s ok. One of the important elements of sharing is letting go of some control. Seeing podcast download statistics does not really equate to “control,” it’s really just statistical information, but somehow it “feels” important at times to know if there is an audience. Jason confirmed an audience of one for that December iOS workshop, and that’s good enough for me! If you listen to any of the podcasts on “Fuel for Educational Change Agents,” please let me know via a comment, tweet, or iTunes podcast review.

Our flight’s boarding now, so adios from Missoula!

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