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Friday, October 10, 2008

Free Podcasting Solutions

Last month I released a short podcast about podcasting. In that episode I shared a US History lesson plan in which students create podcasts about their local community. In that podcast I only briefly mentioned a couple of podcasting tools. Today, I am going to share some more information about five free podcasting tools.

Drop.io offers a number of free services useful for educators. (Read my previous thoughts about Drop.io in education here or here). Drop.io offers a free voice recording service that you can use to create a podcast. With every "drop" you establish on Drop.io you are supplied with a unique phone number. Simply dial that number and begin recording at the beep. Your voice recording is then hosted and can be played back at your unique Drop.io url. While you cannot edit the recording or add any kind of music, it is a very simple way to record your voice. You can download the recording to use in another editing service. The vocals for my last three podcasts have been recorded using Drop.io and edited in Garage Band.

MyPodcast.com is the podcast service that the guys at Wicked Decent Learning use to share their awesome podcast with the world. MyPodcast.com provides free podcast hosting as well as free podcast recording software. (The software is available for PC only). I tested out the software in August and found it to be more than adequate for creating vocal podcasts. For schools that do not use Apple computers (Garage Band is standard on Apples) MyPodcast.com is a very good, free podcasting tool.


Pod Bean
is the free podcast hosting service that I am using to host all of my Free Technology For Teachers podcasts. Pod Bean is a hosting service, not a recording service so you will have to use a recording program and then upload to PodBean to share your episodes. What I like about Pod Bean is the speed of uploading and the ease of integration with blogging platforms.

Gabcast offers two free options for recording and sharing your vocal podcasts. You can record by calling in to a phone number in a similar manner to the Drop.io system. The other way to record is by using a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) service. Gabcast does not offer free hosting, but it does offer free and easy integration with blogging platforms. You can buy hosting space from Gabcast or host your podcast on a free blogging platform like Blogger. Kevin Jarrett has written a good review, including a sample recording, of Gabcast which you should find useful.

Gcast is the service that Vicki Davis, author of Cool Cat Teacher, uses to share her voice recordings. Gcast, like Drop.io and Gabcast, records your voice over the phone. Your recordings can then be shared through the Gcast player which you embed in a blog or website. Just as with Gabcast and Drop.io if you want to add music or audio effects to your podcast, you will have to use a program like Garage Band or Audacity to do that.

Update
A couple of months after this post was published Gcast and Gabcast introduced paid plans and are no longer free.

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