Week 13: Audio + games

Monday

Choose two podcasts from this list, and listen to one episode each. (It would be best if you actually listened this time, instead of reading the transcript.)

Once you’ve listened to two episodes (one from each), respond to these questions (options: blog or audio):

  • What is the purpose of each podcast?
  • How are these two podcasts the same in format or style?
  • How are these two podcasts different?
  • Who do you think is the audience for these podcasts?
  • How do these two podcasts keep the listener interested?
  • What isn’t working about how these two podcasts try to keep their listeners interested?
  • What makes audio a great way to tell historical stories?
  • What’s challenging about using audio to tell historical stories?

Thursday

Now we’re going to actually make a podcast! Podcasting starts with paper and pencil, believe it or not–getting your plan ready is the first step to a great podcast. Here’s your brief for Project 6:

  • Record and produce a podcast about one event in your war. It could be a battle, but it could also be not a battle.
  • Your podcast should be 7-8 minutes long.
  • You do not NEED to include music, but if you want to, you can. (More on that down below.)
  • Embed your audio in a WordPress post—you should be able to do this without first uploading to an audio hosting service, but if you really want to put it out on an audio hosting service (like SoundCloud, anchor.fm, etc.), PodBean is a good option because there’s a free version.
  • Also in your blog post, write about the challenges you overcame in creating this podcast and the potential challenges of doing podcasting for history in general.

How to make a podcast

You need a few supplies:

  • A decent mic and headphones–this could actually be just your phone’s headphones with a mic, but a gaming headset would be even better
  • Audacity
  • A good script

To help you with the good script, watch this video:

As you’re writing your script, do your best to make it more interesting than just listing off the sequence of events in your story. Tell interesting side bits; give context; explain why the events you’re choosing are the most important events; pick a character and follow them through the story.

To use Audacity, another video. I was going to make you a video, but then I attended a session recently that really did all the things that I would have showed you, and much more interestingly. So here it is.

A brief word about music: I do encourage you to use music! HOWEVER, you may not use music that is copyrighted! This includes pretty much every song you could sing or hum a particular version of. Even if the song itself isn’t in copyright, each artist’s version of it is copyrightable on its own. You may not use this. But there is public domain music out there (same with sound effects)!

The best place to find royalty-free public-domain music is the Free Music Archive. But know before you include: the licensing for each piece on this site is individual. You’re using it for non-commercial use, so you shouldn’t need to pay anything to the creator, but make sure you take note of whether the license asks for attribution (that’s saying the artist’s name in the credits or somewhere).

For sound effects, the same deal applies–make sure you take note of whether you need to attribute your sounds or not! The best place to get free sounds is FreeSound.

If you’re not into making a podcast…

Play the Oregon Trail here on the Internet Archive. Then write a response on your blog, talking about the possibility of games and history. You can draw on your own gaming experience as well, if you’ve played historical video games:

  • What are the ways in which games can help us understand history better?
  • What are the ways in which games can distort our views of history?
  • In your opinion, are historical video games a valuable thing?
  • How might you compare your own historical video game experience with playing the Oregon Trail (if applicable!)?
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