This week I downloaded, installed and had a little time to play with the Podium Upgrade and am loving it. The key difference between version 1 of Softease's Educational Podcast Tool and the upgrade is that it affords multitracking, and the ability to layer sound within the episodes being produced.
It would be an understatement to say little other than this has changed, though the simplicity of the tool has not altered. The principles and processes underpinning podcast development with the tool remain the same but the ability to add additional tracks to files being developed, adds an entirely different dimension to the possibilities for multimodal outcome creation. The addition of multitracking now enables a less linear approach to developing episodes than before, and is something I know at least one of my students has been waiting for. By adding a new track; background music or sound effects can be imported and added, and individual volume controls on each track used to alter their volume, enabling simple mixing and allowing the user to add depth to the "soundscape" they are recording.
The idea of "soundscape" development is a really exciting additional aspect of the upgrade for me, I can see possibilities for using this new version of Podium not only for podcasting but as a wider part of our digital authoring toolbox. Perhaps performing a role as a basic editing suite alongside Garageband, to create narration and backing for MovieMaker or PhotoStory projects. The addition of Multitracking makes Podium much more versatile, somewhere to create and produce sound tracks or "soundscapes"for use in other digital outcomes as well as its intended purpose, for example the narration for a video with background music. The object based nature of the soundtrack, means that not only can new sounds be imported, but they can also be dragged to the location desired by the user on a timeline, making them audio authors. Where perhaps previously the notion of, we added that sound because we could or because it was the only one we could find, this enables us to build on student experiences of Podcasting or evaluation of video texts to support consideration of the role sounds and music play in multimodal texts we engage with or are creating. I am really excited by the possibilities that this new version of Podium brings to the idea of "Playing With Sound," So now its time to have the upgrade installed and begin exploring the practicalities of my wandering mind!