I am a pretty regular podcast listener, mostly while commuting. Recently though I’ve been listing to iPlayer radio on the drive home. I listen to today on the way in. This week I’ve restarted the podcast habit.

I’ve listened to one old friend and a couple of new ones. The old friend is

TIDE

Today In Digital Education
A regular podcast from Dai Barnes and Doug Belshaw about education, technology, and everything in between.

I always enjoy this podcast as it roams education and tech. This weeks episode was particularly interesting as Dai & Doug were talking about Facebook and in particular the recent posts from Mike Caulfield which I’ve been following1

The ED Files The truth is out there?

A fortnightly podcast about UK education for and about teachers, teaching, government policy and other things…
By Alex Weatherall and Leon Cych

I listened to episode 1 which was mainly about the Michaela school. This seems to have generated a lot of tweets south of the border and it was good to hear some details. I’ll be adding The ED Files to regular listening.

The final podcast I listened to was CPDin140 – Kevin Hodgson. This is the first of a series of podcasts by Ian Guest. The episodes are interviews in Ian’s PhD research on Twitter for professional development. Kevin’s, who I’ve bumped into online was a great first guest. Again I’ll be listening regularly.

I am particularly delighted that Ian is posting these interviews on Edutalk starting a new ‘channel’ CPDin140 | EDUtalk. I’ve always imagined edutalk growing to include a range of show. Ian, of course, has contributed a lot of podcasts to edutalk via audioboom over the last few years.

I’ve not done as much broadcasting/podcasting on Radio Edutalk as I usually do. I am struggling to find time to organise my self and contact posssible guests. I have thoroughly enjoyed the ones I have done, if you have something to say about education and are free of an evening on A Wednesday at 8 please get in touch.

*featured image 1959 6-Tube Pushbutton AM Radio | Happy #ThrowbackThursday 1… | Flickr by Michel Curi | Flickr CC-BY. With a wee edit. *


  1. the post Banning Ads Is Nice, but the Problem Is Facebook’s Underlying Model | Hapgood is especially great, I am fascinated by the affects and affordances of interface. Facebook are master1959 6-Tube Pushbutton AM Radio | Happy #ThrowbackThursday 1… | Flickr of proving a UI that gets uses to do what FB want them to. 

One of  favourite online learning activities is DS106. I've blogged about it here had have a whole blog where I publish my DS106 learning.

Ds106 is a rather unique experience, it is an undergraduate course at the university of Mary Washington(and other places) on Digital Storytelling but anyone in the world can join in.

Last Autumn I took part in the Headless 13 iteration of DS106, a course without a link to a 'real' class for open online participants only.

I enjoyed the course immensely and was a amazed at the creativity and energy  of my fellow participants. At the end of the course one person, Mariana Funes,  posted a reflection on the course in 106 bullet points. Mariana was interested in teasing these ideas out  a bit more and asked me if I'd be interested in helping out with a podcast and internet radio show. I was delighted.

We are planning 106 episodes, each 15 minutes long, to be broadcast at 8pm on Sunday evenings on DS106 Radio. They will then be archived as a podcast, currently in EDUtalk.

The podcast is called in punning fashion “The Ds106 Good Spell” and we are having a bit of fun around. Imagery, slogans, and audio branding.

The idea of the show is to think about DS106, online learning, creativity and collaboration.   Like some of Mariana's bullet points DS106 can, at first, feel a little had to understand from the outside, hopefully we can help decode both bullets and the course in a way that is interesting and informative to others and fun for ourselves.

If 106 episodes are not enough we started with Episode 0 giving some background:

We now have Episode 1 under our belts:

and episode 2 will be broadcast on Sunday  6th April 2014. You can listen live at DS106 Radio and we are archiving the audio on  106 DS106 Bullets page on EDUtalk.

If you going to the Scottish learning festival this year I would like to invite to contribute to EDUtalk.

EDUtalk is, among other things, an open to any contributions podcast. EDUtalk started at the Scottish learning Festival in 2009 when David Noble and myself invited any of the attendees to submit audio to a podcast SLFtalk (lost when posterous stopped). We were trying to provide alternate sources of information and reflections about the festival and make it as easy as possible for people to both contribute and listen to the contributions of others.

This year given the ubiquity of personal mobile devices is even easier to contribute to EDUtalk.

Here are three simple ways:

  1. Audioboo an application for both iPhone and android, Audioboo allows you to record short segments of audio and upload then to the Audioboo site. If you tag the ‘boo’ #EDUtalk they will be brought in automatically to the EDUtalk site.
  2. Just record some audio on anything a computer on smartphone whatever you got. Then you can email it to audio@edutalk.cc and we’ll take it from there. There are usually a few computers on the floor at a SLF that are connected to the Internet many of these will have built-in mics it should be pretty easy to record something there and email it to edutalk.
  3. Another app you can use is a ipadio, this is an app like audioboo – available for android and iOS to record audio and sent to ipadio. Again if you tag it #edutalk we’ll pick up automatically and post it to edutalk.

So what do people talk about. You could talk about a session you been to. A keynote. You could talk to a colleague or friend.

You can have conversations with anyone about anything educational, at the coffee bar , in a quiet corner. it can be about whatever, educational, topic you like. Your thoughts we want them.

With the huge changes going on in Education this is a chance for us to join in the conversation, to talk across boundaries, of local authority, of hierarchy and think about what really matters today.

Wirelesses by Elsie esq.
Attribution License

Why would you?

  • Listening to audio is more time consuming that reading. It is hard to bookmark interesting section, to scan quickly through content and to skip back and forward.
  • Alternatively audio provides extra information, the sound of voices. Audio can also be consumed while doing other things, driving, washing the dishes walking the dog etc.
  • We have had many wonderful folk send us audio and a tremendous lineup of guests on our live show. Well worth listening to.

On the site

  • Podcast and Radio EDUtalk
  • You can listen to both podcast and the internet radio stream just by using the players on the site. The audio should be played via html5 players when possible falling back to flash. You can also download the audio using the links provided.
  • Listening on the site or downloading individual audio files is fine for casual listening but there are other ways to get the content with less effort and while you are away from your computer..

By subscribing to the podcast feed

  • The podcast has an RSS Feed. This allows folk to ‘subscribe’ to the podcast with podcatcher software. This software will automatically check the feed and download new audio that appears on the site automatically. Most podcatcher can be configured to discard older audio files and can organise the audio in different ways.
  • List of podcatchers – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • On a Computer
  • Mobile
    • Having podcasts on a mobile device is very useful. It means you can listen to podcasts as you travel. Personally I listen t opodcasts while comuting.
    • If you use iTunes you can sync your podcasts to an ipod or iphone.
    • There are also apps which will sync podcasts directly over wifi. Apple provide the podcast app for free. I use Instacast 2, version 3 is now avaliable.
    • Another popular iOS app is downcast.
    • On the android front here are some suggestions. I’d love to have some recommendations from folk I know.

Listening to the radio stream

There are many ways to listen to Edutalk, and other podcasts and Internet radio. You may find this is a great way to get information in addition to reading and watching.

I like listening to podcasts. I usually listen to them while driving. I use instacast to play podcasts on my iPhone. Instacast allows you to subscribe to podcast feeds, it downloads episodes while you are on WiFi for playback later. I subscribe to a few educational podcast, some mac ones, the Scottish Poetry Library and Machine of Death. I change these about occasionally.

Sometimes though I want to listen to individual podcasts episodes without subscribing to the whole feed. Recently I’ve been doing this by downloading the podcast media to dropbox, making the files favourites on my phone while on WiFi(which downloads them onto the phone) and listening later. To speed this up a bit and to allow me to do this from my phone or an ipad I have a folder in my dropbox with an AppleScript Folder Action attached to the folder. I add a text file with the url to a media file to this folder (typically with droptext) and it is automatically downloaded to my desktop in a dropbox folder. I then can favourite etc as normal.

huffduffer

This still leaves a bit to be desired, I need to remember to favourite the files while on Wifi so that they are ready to play in the car.

Huffduffer looks like it is made to solve this problem. It is a service that allows you to create a podcast feed from episodes of different podcasts or just mp3 files found on the web. You use a bookmarklet which finds any mp3 files on the current webpage and adds them to your podcast.

Earlier this week I saw a link to huffduffer and created an account: Johnjohnston on Huffduffer. The only problem is I created the account on my phone and left it a few days to install the bookmarklet on my desktop. By then I had forgotten the password!

Attempts to reset my password failed, and perhaps because it is the weekend, requests to get this fixed have not been answered yet. It looks like a few other folk have the problem

Not Huffduffer

So today I decided to try a wee bit of DIY with AppleScript. I’ve already got a few dropbox folders set up with Folder actions to do some automation 1 so had a rough idea of how to go about this.

What I want to do is, on iOS copy the url to a webpage, switch to droptext, make a new text file containing the url and save it into the folder. The Folder Action script then parses the webpage for mp3 and m4a files and adds them to a RSS file. I’ve describe to this file in instacast so don’t need to think about it much other than opening instacast when on wifi and letting it download episodes.

Google helped with a couple of tricky parts, getting the address of mp3 files out of the web page:
how to extract an mp3’s url from m3u…: Apple Support Communities and getting the correct style of date so that the RSS feed validates:
RFC 822 Dates with AppleScript | Joe Maller.

The script basically adds the mp3 urls to a text file along with the date they are added. This text file is parsed to produce an RSS feed. The script certainly lacks any polish, but it works. Here is the RSS feed in my dropbox. And here is what it looks like in
Instacast:

instacast not huduffer

As you can see, the feed is quite minimal, the names come from the mp3 file name. The script (I’ve uploaded it here), needs lots of work. I briefly tried to get the titles from the tile of the webpage, but ran into some odd characters which threw things off. I’ve also hard coded file paths into the script and it would be better not too. Most of the script, dealing with detecting the files added is a lift form the examples that Apple ship. My bit just process the url. I’ve also adapt this to run from a mac grabbing the front url from Safari, this script is in my FastScripts folder s oI can run it with a keyboard shortcut.

Not sure if anyone is interested in this stuff here, but it fascinates me and posting it is one way of keeping track.

1. I’ve blogged a couple of other applescript/dropbox ideas OCR via dropbox with Tesseract and
Testing a new system

On Thursday evening I was lucky enough to be in conversation with Gillian Penny, Dan Bowen, John Johnston and Fraser Speirs as part of the Edutalkr series. Iain Hallahan kept the conversation organised as chairperson and David Noble did the background tech.

You can hear the discussion on Edutalk:

EDUtalkr online panel discussions about Scottish education #7: The practicalities of using iPods and iPads in the classroom – EDUtalk

On Friday evening I went along to the evening presentation and discussion part of this event. There had been an afternoon training workshop on the practicalities of field recording run by the evenings presenters which was limited in numbers. My attention to the event had been aroused by a tweet from @scottishmusic I guess because I post the odd recording to the UK Sound Map. The evening was a little bit different from the educational conference/teachmeet meetings that I am more likely to be found at but I am really glad I went.

Tim Nunn

The first presentation was by theatre maker Tim Nunn of the company Reeling & Writhing. He spoke about his work in progress Formel, inspired by Chaucer’s Assembly of Fowls the play uses field recordings extensively. Tim spoke about how he wrote the play working back and forward between text & field recording each affecting the other. A lot of the sound was recorded on Islay and he played us fragments of a force 10 gale and rooks mobbing an eagle. Here is a taste of the play I found on the Formel page

‘Formel’ by Tim Nunn, trailer by timjnunn

Tim mentioned RJ McConnell as the person behind the sound of the play, whose blog will take you in other interesting aural directions

Formel has had a couple of preview performances and is due to be on tour at he end of this year or the start of the next (as far as I picked up) and is certainly something I would like to go along to.

Timothy Cooper

Next we heard from Timothy Cooper Timothy let us here kaktos the sounds of this were made by plucking of cactus spines. He showed us Postcards from blast beach which featured photos by his father and sounds recorded and edited by Timothy. A quick google found the video on My Space.

Next he played Skate ‘n’ Shuttle/Roll and Smash:

Skate n Shuttle/Roll and Smash by tim_bo

As someone who is as musical as a turnip I can’t really comment on the work, other than to say I enjoyed listening to it. The Blast Beach images & sound was interesting in being a very much polished combination of photos and edited found sound. As someone who takes phone photos and records the odd sound when out and about it shows where the idea can go give a deal of talent in photography & music.

Ian Rawes

Ian Rawes spoke about several sound map mashups. Starting with his own London Sound Survey which features London maps, ambient sound recordings, sound maps, local history & London wildlife. This is a site to get lost in, the quote on the front page Perhaps the most ambitious and comprehensive approach to sound mapping I’ve yet to see . . . an all-around wonderful site! (from Jim Cummings, Acoustic Ecology Institute) rather understates it! Ian is the Vault Keeper at the British Library sound archive (I think). Ian briefly showed us round the London Sound Survey playing recording of a street preacher (there are quite a few) and a Common Pipistrelle bat recorded with a Magenta heterodyne bat detector set to 45 kHz and Edirol R09-Hr digital recorder which gives you an idea of the range of the site if not the depth. He also showed us the London map with present-day streetmaps, historical maps and sound recordings.

Ian is also the person behind the UK Sound Map , I’ve blogged about this before and contributed a few boos to the map. what I love about the project is the fact that it is open to anybody to contribute, it is easy to do so and it mashes maps & sound.

We then saw the Acoustic map from 12 Gates to the City The acoustic map is an ever-growing collection of 1 to 5 minute sound recordings embedded on a world map at the exact location of each recording. created by Jonathan Prior, an Edinburgh-based creative researcher, who was sitting in the audience. Johnathan’s map is interesting because it uses UMapper rather than google maps, it looks and sounds good. We heard the underwater recording of periwinkles grazing on algae which sound nothing like you would expect. It looks as if there is a lot of interesting stuff on 12 Gates to the City.

The Inukjuak Sound Map is another map sound mashup this time created by Montreal sound artist Nimalan Yoganathan. The map has cultural and natural sounds, some with images. It uses google maps. We also watched Charles Veasey’s Hmsg Spiral Map which I had seen before, but it was interesting watching with other people on a large screen rather than in one’s own home with multiple on and offline distractions. The Hmsg project is a flash/video/google maps mashup.

One of the main impressions I got from the event was the quality of the audience’s listening, this made the evening quite quiet and contemplative, quite different from, say, a TeachMeet or educational tech event. I had not taken a laptop or ipad to take notes, but if I had I would not have used them, I didn’t take any photos either although I had a phone with me. In googling the links for this post I re read Inukjuak Sound Map and Hmsg Spiral Map on Ian’s London Sound Survey blog:

The Spiral Map looks and sounds very impressive as it progresses smoothly through its 30 different sound recordings and videos. Most of the videos have very little motion in them and much more action is heard than seen. It’s a great way to set a balance between the ravenous eye and the patient ear.

Educational Takeaway

I came away straight after the event, an empty stomach and dinner waiting kept me from the pub, with open ears, walking to the train station listening more than usual. At the station I was surprised that the announcement and the clicking and clacking of the high heeled shoes were louder than the train.

I’ve also been thinking of how this could relate to the classroom. Here are some ideas off the top of my head:

  • I’ve often used photos and sometimes video as stimulation for creative writing, following Tim Nunn we could add recordings as a great stimulus.
    Children recording sounds from a trip as well as taking photos and videos could be an powerful addition to stimulate writing and discussion back in the classroom. I’ve also had children record poetry with backing music, perhaps found sound could be used as well.
  • I’ve often involved pupils in creating movies from still pictures adding their voice with iMovie. It could be really interesting to add recordings Timothy Cooper style I think some children could be excited in working this way.
  • I’ve been building picture and gps map mashups for a while now, occasionally incorporating audio and recently mapped my boos this could easily be adapted for a school trip or for a collection of schools to work together. Or perhaps schools could contribute to UKSM itself. Playground sounds across an authority or skipping songs could be a starter.

Technical

In the afternoon workshop there had, I think, been a lot more technical information. Ian provides a Budget binaural stereo microphones guide on London Sound Survey. A lot of the Field Recording crowd seem to know what they are talking about kit wise, I was somewhat relieved when Ian appropriated the Best Camera quote: The best microphone is the one you have with you.

In talking about UMapper, Ian said it was in some ways easier to use than google maps. This is probably right, but I like the way google maps can be use to auto update, using the api, so that things are added without automatically, without crafting

More Takeway

Finally what I’d take away was the quality of listening shown by the audience & presenters. The time taken. Timothy Cooper’s Blast beach gave plenty of time to look at the images: audio can be slower. I am thinking again about Ian Rawes’ “the ravenous eye and the patient ear”, Tim Nunn’s theatre performances in the dark.

From the above you can see I’ve gathered a great number of links, sites not only to visit but to revisit. It is not often you get the chance to hear periwinkles eating.

Great conference, here is the official blog: ISRU Conference 2011 where I believe all the slides and video of the keynotes will appear in time. The tweets: http://www.tweetdoc.org/View/9984/ISRU11 and Flickr: The ISRU11 Pool

A very interesting day with lots of food for thought. I posted a couple of Boos when I got home.

Listen!

And the second boo, apologies for the speed and ems

Listen!