#44 Sound Out Your Authors

Sound Out Your Authors

Podcasts, strictly speaking, are a type of audio blog, where the information is updated regularly. Your subscribers will await updates via RSS or visit the web area where the podcast lives, such as i-tunes or your own blog.

However, I don’t see any reason why you can’t use the same technology to make static recordings which will not need updating often, but will provide your pupils and staff with useful information. A good example might be audio clips about authors (short example below) or book reviews.

Once you’ve created one, it’s very easy and quick to create more. These audio files have the advantage that they may be of particular use to pupils who have poor reading skills, or are more likely to engage with audio than text. It’s a good idea to encourage your pupils to do the recordings, particularly those with bright voices and clear diction; I generally tend NOT to use my own voice!

Philip Pullman: Short Bio


#14 Images And Video

Photos & Video

Most people own, or have access to, digital cameras and camcorders.

Filming and photographing pupils when they take part in sporting, social or library activities is a great way to get to know pupils better, have some fun with them , and keep a record for your newsletter or Intranet.

Please be aware that parents’ permission is required and that there will probably be a database somewhere in your school that gives details of who can and cannot be photographed. This site gives some useful guidance about the use of photographs and videos in schools.

#11 Podcasts


Podcasting is often viewed as highly technical, specialist area. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Creating a podcast is not as easy as creating a blog, but it’s not difficult either.

You need: a plan (what do you need podcasts for?), time to record, a volunteer to make the recordings, a headphone and microphone set, and software to create and save the podcast.

The Plan.

This is vitally important. Why do you want a podcast? Creating one because they are ‘cool’ is not a good option. Some more viable reasons might be:

  • Instructional podcasts for pupils with poor reading abilities
  • Instructional podcasts for those with visual impairments
  • Podcasts for information: author information, overview of a genre of fiction, a book review, and so on
  • Podcasts for entertainment; pupils read their own stories, pupils create news stories, and so on
  • Create a podcast area where you can link to other podcasts of interest on the web, within i-tunes and elsewhere


Time & Space

You will need time to create a podcast (a script is essential), a quiet space to actually record it, and a volunteer with a controlled, legible and clear speaking voice.

It is advisable to read a script more than once, as there are many glitches that can ruin a recording (a slip of the tongue, background noise, electrical interference, and so on). If necessary, you can create the final recording with snippets from more than one reading.

If you are unhappy with audio software and editing techniques, ask for technical volunteers from staff or pupils.


You will need some hardware to create a podcast, in the form of a headset with microphone. This will cost in the region of £10-£20, and will be your only financial outlay.

Software to create and store a podcast can be found for free on the web (see link below).

Podcasts can be a very useful medium for getting information to staff and pupils, and may be of particular benefit to reluctant readers and the visually handicapped. The most important part of the process is the initial planning process, and if this is carried out thoroughly, paying particular attention to the needs of the end user, and the viability of the project, you will end up with a powerful and impressive tool in your information literacy armoury.

Useful Weblinks:

Beginner’s Guide To Podcast Creation


Audacity, free sound editor.


Podcasts For Educators, Schools & Colleges