What is it? BlogTalkRadio.com lets anyone sign up and do a podcast or radio show over a phone. The Web site allows podcasters to take phone calls and add music or other soundbites to their programs. BlogTalkRadio also makes it possible to archive episodes in the common MP3 format.
How does it work? Users sign up for a free account and can then schedule a podcast. You can choose to make your podcast public or invitation-only. Once you have scheduled a program, you are given an 800 number to call at the time of the program. Simply call that number and talk into the phone and you're “on the air.” You also get a desktop of tools for uploading audio you can play during your program and another phone number where guests can call in.
How hard is it to use? If you have basic computer skills and know how to use a phone, you can use BlogTalkRadio. Even the advanced tools that let you add audio to your podcast work almost intuitively. This is entry-level software with a very low learning curve.
How well does it work? The only negative to BlogTalkRadio is that the thing that makes it easy – the fact that you simply have to talk into your phone – is also its biggest drawback. Phones are not ideal microphones. Because of that, the audio quality can be a bit hollow and nobody will mistake a podcast from BlogTalkRadio.com for a professional broadcast. That said, you don't really need professional audio quality for classroom or student use.
How do I use it in the classroom? It's more likely that you will use BlogTalkRadio with your students as an outside-of-school tool. Certainly your students could use the Web site for a project – it's an easy way to set up and record an interview. As a teacher or administrator, you could also use the site as an interactive way to speak to groups of parents or students. For example, you could have a call-in conference about changes in the school or classroom.
Read about other products featured in the Tech in the Classroom series.
Tech in the Classroom is a recurring feature that examines widely available technology, software and gadgets and how they might be used in a school setting.
Article by Daniel Kline, EducationWorld Contributing Editor
Copyright © 2011 Education World