Every time I try and create something in Audacity I develop a keener appreciation for all the regular podcasters out there, whose work seems downright flawless after wrestling with the envelope tool for an evening. What they do on a weekly basis is no small feat. Even though I use Audacity fairly regularly for my classwork, there’s always a new trick to learn or issue to overcome. I definitely spent some time re-watching screencasted tutorials for this assignment. Podcasting, or at least audio editing, is something I made a point to build into my curriculum. My crowning jewel of assignments last year was having students create radio plays from the text of The Quick and the Dead. It was pretty incredible what they were able to put together after a few basic editing lessons. Once I brought sound into the assignment, I had the highest level of engagement I’d had all semester.
This time around, making my own podcasts, I branched out and used Garage Band for my intro and outro music. I had never used the program before and it was an enjoyable time-suck to layer loops for hours. I am not particularly creative when it comes to music, so there was no original jingle or miniature masterpiece. What I did find was how quickly my podcast could sound dark, energetic, or silly. At first I just picked out loops I liked, but eventually I had to consider how my voice would sound following the intro, and if the tune was appropriate for the content of the podcast. This, of course, made it seem like a Herculean task. At first I had big dreams for piano music that became “techified” after a few bars to represent our transition from traditional to online education. But this was beyond my Garage Band ability, so I opted for a simplified version. I wanted the music to sound peppy, have a beat, but still convey that it was not the intro to a children’s show. I think the strings I ended up with almost make it sound like the beginning of a TV news segment.
I played around with the format of my content in a couple different ways. I admit I like a good gimmick, and if my cohort has to listen to all three recordings in a row, then each episode should catch their attention anew. While my first episode is straightforward in its delivery, Episode 2 is framed as an open letter (an homage to the recurring McSweeney’s column), and Episode 3 takes list form. It did not take long for me to realize that recording a recitation of my more formal writing was not going to create the most interesting podcasts. Changing up the format allowed more of my personality to come through the podcasts and be more creative with how I was writing about edtech.