With the unfortunate new price that it costs to use Gcast.com, Jennifer and I have been searching the Internet for alternatives that are free to use. Luckily, we have found two that we like. For those of you unfamiliar with Gcast, it is an online podcast host that allows its users to call in by phone and record a podcast. The podcast is saved to the users account to be edited later if needed or published. Jennifer had been using Gcast with her students to record their book talks. She was going to expand her use of Gcast to her professional development co-teaching class so that the members of the class could record their co-planning session. In search of an alternative solution, we posted a tweet asking for suggestions of similar sites to Gcast. In return, we were referred to phonecasting.com and drop.io.

Here is what we have found to be and not to be useful…

Phonecasting.com seems to offer promise because it allows users to record and publish podcasts through various methods such as uploading your podcast from your computer or calling and recording a podcast from your phone. It is free to use and the number you call to record the podcast is toll free. The later was a huge feature that we considered essential for two reasons: 1) we cannot expect our students to call a long distance number from their home phone and they may not have a cell phone 2) teachers cannot call long distance from the school and to record a co-planning session would possibly use excess minutes on their cell phones. However, Jennifer and I were both unsuccessful at setting up a channel (the location where the podcasts would be stored or featured). Even after referencing the “how to” directions many times, we still could not figure out how to completely set up the account and channel. It was very frustrating and we can normally figure out these types of things (at least together). Needless to say, we will not be using phonecasting.com.

I liked Drop.io almost immediately. Drop.io is much like an online file folder for sharing files. It allows you to upload media, documents, podcasts, pretty much anything you can imagine. It even allowed me to upload a .m4v file that I created and then exported from iMovie. You can “drop” a file by uploading it directly to your drop.io folder, emailing it, or calling and recording a voicemail. Drop.io also provides a number to call if you wish to host a conference call. Drop.io was very easy to set up and use. When I performed a “test” call, I was surprised how quickly the .mp3 file appeared in the drop. The only set back that we foresaw was the long distance telephone number for the voicemail.

Yodio.com allows users to record, create, and share pictures, presentations, etc. Yodio users upload pictures or a presentation and add narration from their computer or by phone. The number users call to record their Yodio is toll free. However, the number the user calls from must be registered with the account being called. Yodio was also very easy to set up and use. One thing that we like about Yodio is the visual component it offers.

We would love to hear of any sites that you use for podcasting or how you use podcasting in your classroom.

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