Gcast

June 12, 2008 at 3:22 am 3 comments

Gcast is a podcasting website that clearly states that it provides “completely free” podcasting services; recording, editing, and hosting. It seems to be related to, if not owned by the folks that make Garage Band, an audio editing program that is available free of charge on line. Users of the podcast can subscribe via e-mail alerts, automatic downloads to I pods, click and play on the web and various other services (My Yahoo and My MSN). According to the site, you will either need a computer with Mic capabilities or just a cell phone to record the audio. The service also offers podcast safe music, ways to embed your podcast into a webpage and, free hosting, and ways to subscribe to podcast. No technical requirements are mentioned except that you can use a computer or your phone to record the audio. I can think of many, many, ways to effectively use podcasting in instruction. All grade levels could progress in language arts including speaking, by doing several podcasts per year. We could use podcasting with our Communication Club, GT units, our book club meetings, the instructional possibilities are endless. Teachers could use podcast to communicate with students, reviewing important items from a lesson or unit or just to communicate information. This would also be a wonderful PR tool to use with parents; we could podcast our morning announcements, school performances, important information, again, unlimited ideas. This tool would have to be very closely monitored by adults. Although I do see it as something that all students, teachers, and parents could use, I do not envision large group projects in the beginning. Host space and cost of hosting could be an issue, even though this site advertises it as free. If you were going to use this daily, you would have to have someone that available to edit the audio and publish it; so as with everything else, time is an issue. Also, the website is currently blocked by Websense. I put in a request for it be unblocked b/c my use was educations (in this case to review the site for a graduate course). Their response was that this site is a “portal” site and that it could not be unblocked. So obviously, even if podcasting is approved, the likely hood of this site being unblocked seems unlikely. I am also skeptical about it all being totally free? Since it is a .com site, someone is making money off of this somehow. Could be pop ups or spamming, I am not sure, but there must be some sort of catch. Most likely once you sign up, that you will be solicited by those that “sponsor” or advertise on the site. This would have to be closely and tightly managed by adults. I do not see this as something that could easily be used in classes of 24 until we have been using it with kids individually or in small groups. Managing what kids are recording is tough, and publishing to the world adds many more layers. Overall, I love the idea of podcasting, and have though of several ways that I could use podcasting with whatever software and publishing tools. I am skeptical though, about this particular site. I think though that I will start with joining through my personal account and see if it works well to communicate information and then see if my spam or if solicitations increase, if that is the case, I will know not to use this site with staff or children. I hope that I will be able to though.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. becca14  |  June 12, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Gcast sounds like a motivational way for students to practice their fluency skills. Thanks for the great information, as well as for the caution about possible spam and solicitations.

    Reply
  • 2. mrigopoulos  |  June 13, 2008 at 3:18 am

    It sounds like podcast would be a great tool to use with small groups of students. I wonder if you could use it to podcast events like farewell assemblies, plays, etc.. and archive them? I know the Cromwell Team was interested in podcasting. Would this be a good tool for them to use?

    Reply
  • 3. dsmith3  |  June 13, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    We are hoping to podcast at Cromwell next year starting with kinderkids. It is a great media source for students, parents, etc.
    You can use it for so many reasons across all grade levels. I think its versatility makes it a great resource in the k-12 learning environment.

    Reply

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