30th January 2024
Podcasting is easy. Your students can start one today🎙️
This week we’re talking podcasts. It’s a media I am passionate about promoting as (assuming you can borrow someone’s smartphone) it’s totally cost neutral. It’s also the most community-oriented and easily distributed of all the categories we cover at the Shine Awards.
Podcasting may seem daunting at first, but with podcasts taking over the world we’re here to show you how easy they can be. Not only are they simple, they’re a great way to encourage your students to diversify their ideas and create something exciting.
This week we are offering a set of fantastic tips for young podcasters from Luke Chapman, our resident social media expert who judges the category for us each summer. Luke covers all aspects of podcasting from figuring out where to begin, to how to edit… and even ensure it’s something that can be continued by students next year.
Over to you, Luke…
Everyone is in the podcasting game these days. From famous singers hosting cooking shows and comedians introducing extra content to their fans, to social media influencers and news publications, podcasts have become complementary to so many offerings in the digital realm. They’re also being introduced as important mediums to express creativity and ideas in their own right.
You may have images of celebrities using expensive microphones in recording booths, but recording a podcast can be an incredibly simple feat to achieve. Not only are they easy to make, they’re accessible to all and a fantastic way to engage your students. You can encourage your class to diversify their projects and try out a new format for their ideas, and of course, create a great entry for our podcasting category.
So without further ado, here are our Shine top tips for creating a podcast:
- What is it?
It’s worth starting with the question ‘What is a podcast?’. If you consider a podcast a discussion, what happens if you add in music? Does it become a radio show? If you visually record an interview with a guest is that still a podcast or something totally different? We’re here to tell you that a podcast can be anything you want it to be. It can be a class round table between 10 people, solo musings of one person’s thoughts for an hour, or an interview with various guests. Try not to worry about fitting anything into a box, allow your students to let their creativity and ideas run free.
- Nail down an idea
Encourage your students to get their topic down and think of how it might play out in your podcast. If focussing on school events, how might it work? Will it be one person talking on a topic? Will your student’s podcast feature interviews? Start to think of the set-up of this podcast and help guide your class into something sustainable, yet interesting.
- Choose a format
Will the podcast be a one-off episode? Equally, will it have an episode each term… or even run for 10 episodes in a series? If this is something that could be going alongside a school magazine or newspaper, consider how it might develop and play into that. It’s worth keeping the concept open for future years so your school can really own the podcast for its students. Figuring out your format is important. Will it be one host interviewing a different person each week, or a different host weekly? It could be in any of these formats, but get them thinking before starting.
- How do you record?
Podcasting is accessible to all. You don’t need recording studios and expensive microphones to get involved, you can record it on any device such as a phone and export it. Voila! Microphones help of course, but if you are on a budget (or none) and don’t have equipment think about some simple things that can help the quality of a recording such as reducing ambient, outside noise which can prove distracting.
- The recording
Firstly, think about where the recording will take place. Pick somewhere with the least disruptions. Try not to hold the microphone in your hand to ensure it stays in the same place to produce a level recording. If recording with multiple people, place it equidistant from all speakers. Speak as clearly as possible, and always try to produce the highest quality input, as only some things can be fixed after recording.
- During recording
If anyone makes any mistakes during the recording, it’s absolutely fine. If a sentence gets fumbled, just start the sentence again so it’s clear in the recording, it can all be edited later. Just keep going.
Now the recording is finished, hit stop, and then it’s done! If your students aren’t able to do any editing on computers, then you have a file and it’s finished, fantastic. If you can export the file and help your students do some editing post-recording, then the next steps are for you.
Now there’s a file, after-effects can be added. There is free software to do this such as Audacity and GarageBand. A great place to start is by cutting out any mistakes with a scissor tool, and there’s also free backing music and royalty-free sound effects. These can really add a new layer to a podcast. Once this step is complete, you’re at the final product.
- What next?
Now it’s finished, what happens next? Firstly, enter it into the podcasting category at the Shine Awards of course! Other than this, do you want to host it online? Is it something just for class consumption? Think about the purpose of this podcast and where it could go. If it’s just a class assignment then maybe it doesn’t need to be shared, but your students could also want to share it on social media to raise awareness of what’s important to them (or even to be the next podcasting superstar!) The world is their oyster and the possibilities are endless.
Podcasts need not be scary, and with this guide to hand you can get your school involved in a new and exciting project, and maybe even win big at Shine.
As ever, if you’re ready to register, email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Til next time,
Chair of Shine