iPad Apps: Using Mobile Podcaster to podcast to PrimaryBlogger

mobilepodcasterWhy Podcast?

Over the next few weeks I am going to be working with groups of primary school pupils to try and improve their speaking and listening skills. One way of helping with this is to record them and play back the recordings so that they can hear and analyse themselves.

There are lots of podcasting solutions available for the iPad but I wanted to find a simple way of recording pupils using an iPad, reviewing / re-recording them and then publishing straight onto a PrimaryBlogger site based on WordPress. One of the more popular ways of doing this is with Audioboo and I will look at this in another posting.

There are a couple of things you need before you start:

  • a WordPress blog (we use Primaryblogger)
  • your blog administrator needs to enable the Blubrry PowerPress plugin (thanks to Ed at PrimaryBlogger who made this available) and preferably configure it to display the audio player correctly
  • Mobile Podcaster installed onto your iPad (£1.99 from the app store)
  • I would also suggest that you create a separate user for publishing podcasts to the blog and that this user is set as a Contributor so that you can moderate blogs before they are published
  • You can also create a Podcast category and set the app to automatically post into this category.

Mobile Podcaster is very easy to use, you can view a video on how to use it to publish a podcast, optional text and picture straight to you class blog.

Limitations of this method:

  • you cannot edit the recording before publishing – it would be nice to be able to trim the beginning and end if necessary
  • the sound files are stored on the WordPress site so you may soon run out of space and have to upgrade
  • you are currently limited to 15 minutes recording (not that this will be a problem for the work we are currently doing!)

I will add some links to some of our podcasts shortly.

Using YouTube to embed videos in your blog using an iPad

One of the problems with publishing videos on your blog is making sure that the video can be seen from all platforms. If you publish a video directly from an iPad it may not play automatically on a PC and vice versa. One way around this problem is to publish your videos via a third party site such as YouTube or Vimeo (Vimeo has the advantage of not showing adverts!) In this article I will explain one way of embedding videos in your class WordPress blog by uploading them to YouTube.

You will need the following:

  • a WordPress based blog eg PrimaryBlogger
  • a school or class YouTube account
  • an iPad with the iMovies and WordPress apps installed

First, make your movie in iMovies. This could be a simple video of someone reading aloud or a sophisticated movie that has been considerably edited. Once you have your movie, go back to the main iMovie projects screen, select your movie, click on the share icon and select YouTube. You will be asked to sign in, enter your username and password (these will now be stored) and you will arrive at the Share Project screen. Here you can fill in details about the video – remember not to reveal any details that you shouldn’t. Under Privacy I strongly recommend that you select “Unlisted” – Private would mean that no one else would be able to see it, Public means that it is listed for everyone to find. When you have completed this click on “Share” and the movie will be exported to YouTube. This may take some time depending upon the size of the movie and your connection speed.

Once uploaded, you will get a screen offering a number of options. I suggest you click on “Tell a Friend” and that you email yourself the link.

Open your email, copy and paste the URL into your post and then add the following text directly to the end :

?rel=0

So that it looks something like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A9h0ADLoAQ?rel=0

This extra bit of text makes sure that no adverts or suggested videos appear after the video has finished.

Publish your blog and the video should now be visible from most screens.

What to do on a class blog

I’ve recently been asked by a number of teachers “what shall I do on my blog?” So this gives me an excuse to do list on a blog!

  1. Make a list! People love lists, pupils love lists, so make a list of something that is relevant to your class. But don’t make it too long (unlike this list!)
  2. Set a challenge. The main reason for using a blog with children is to help them learn and there are so many things you can learn through either writing a blog or reading and commenting on a blog. There are some really good challenges out there on the blogosphere already such as 5SC (Five Sentence Challenge) and 100WC (100 Word Challenge). It is very easy to set your own challenge, post a photo and ask the children to describe what is going on, or the story that might surround the photo. Give the first line or paragraph of a story and ask pupils to write the next page. Give the last line of the story ….
  3. Point your pupils at posts by other children on your blog or on other class blogs and encourage them to comment. It works best if they are give several positive, encouraging comments for each constructive criticism that they make. Suggest that they think about how they would feel if they received the comment that they have written.
  4. Celebrate your children’s work. It is so easy now to put a photo or video onto a blog, especially if you use a tablet such as an iPad with the WordPress app installed as I am using to write this post. Parents, grandparents from across the globe, friends and relatives love to see their children’s work online or to hear them reading their own work. And if you have a visitors map attached to your blog you have your next geography lesson sorted!
  5. Visit other blogs to get ideas. Blog dipping is a great way to see the best of what is happening on other school blogs.
  6. Join Quadblogging. Link your class blog to three other class blogs across the globe. You take it in turns to blog and to read and comment on other class blogs and this will give you loads of new ideas, give your pupils lots of opportunities to provide critical analysis of other work, and another geography lesson will be sorted!
  7. Perhaps the most important thing is to make the blog live, it needs regular input and feedback from yourself, the pupils and an audience out there. As David Mitchell says “A Blog needs an audience to keep it alive for your learners.” Sugata Mitra introduced the idea of the “Granny Cloud“, people “out there” who are encouraged to praise, comment, suggest and challenge via the blog. Why not build up your own community of cloud grannies to help keep your blog alive?

If you have other ideas do please add them as a comment!What to do on a class blog wordle

Embed YouTube videos in WordPress – remove related videos

If you upload videos to YouTube before embedding them in your WordPress blog you may want to remove the related videos that display automatically when you get to the end of the video. This can be done by typing ?rel=0 directly after the URL eg http://YouTube.be/M_f4u4rWXHA?rel=0