Module 6: Audio/Podcasting Workshop
6.6 Podcast Creation Workshop
In the platform analysis section, we asked you to listen to three podcasts. Each episode had a specific theme: Secret Dinosaur Cult explored therapy, Tech Talk discussed algorithmic decision-making and disability benefits, and The Digital Graveyards Project offered an introduction to memorialization online. Let’s take a moment to highlight a few connections to the course material:
- Tech Talk is closely tied to our discussion of Safiya Noble’s Algorithms of Oppression in Module 3 and the invisible biases and consequent violence of algorithm and computer code that are never neutral. (Magby, J., 2021)
- The Digital Graveyards Project explores what it means to use social media to remember, memorialize, and represent death in different ways. Recall, also in Module 3, our discussion of representation—death, like disability, is curated in specific ways. What can and cannot appear in an obituary? Whose death is worthy of a front-page article and whose death in invisibilized? Social media is one place in which we can change or challenge these norms. (Jiwani, Y., 2018)
In this module we are going to create our own short podcast episode and learn how to edit and save audio files. Your episode will explore a specific topic related to disability and technology. The activity instructions are meant to be specific enough to provide guidance and structure while also being expansive enough to allow you to explore your own particular interests. While these guidelines and activities are open enough for you to explore more broadly, we will also provide you with prompts that allow you to research, learn about, and focus on ways that disability and digital innovation meet and intersect in the everyday world. In this way you will have the opportunity to both be a digital maker and see the work of other digital creations and projects in action.
As you work to create your podcast through the following series of activities, you are encouraged to think about the intersections of medicine, health, and technology. Health and technology intersect in numerous ways, from mental health chatbots to mindfulness apps, meditation videos, and online diagnostic workups. We’ve had therapy sessions over Zoom and phone appointments with our doctors. We’ve struggled to schedule COVID-19 vaccines through the online booking system. Many of us have experienced diagnosis, treatment, care, or psychiatric/medical harm through digital platforms and spaces. Can you reflect on the ways these technologies shape your relationship with your body? Perhaps telemedicine has positively (or negatively) shaped your experience of accessing healthcare. How do you see the digital methods discussed thus far impacting health and wellness, especially in the age of COVID-19?
Create a Script Draft
Podcasters find that it is easier to produce a smooth, well-structured, informative, and engaging podcast when they create and work from a well-developed script. Writing a script allows for refinement prior to recording and therefore can lessen the workload in the editing process.
Step 1: Pick a topic related to medicine and technology that you find interesting or that you have personal experience with.
Step 2: Describe how technology was used in this encounter with the medical/psychiatric/wellness industry and the ways in which access is included and insufficient in the technology.
Step 3: Describe the and that you experienced in this encounter.
Step 4: Choose 2-3 other topics to discuss in your analysis: privacy, security, safety, technology requirements, consent, choice, affordability, or privilege.
Take 10 minutes to pick a topic and draft some notes!
Practice Reading Aloud: Vocal Exercises
Next, we’re going to practice reading our script aloud with the following exercises. We’re going to experiment with speed, volume, and emphasis. Below, find 3 reading aloud exercises.
- For the first half of your story, read very, very slowly. For the second half, read as fast as you can!
- Start reading your script as quietly as possible. Continue raising in volume throughout the piece until the ending is very loud.
- Pick one or two important moments in your story and insert dramatic pauses before or after the point to add emphasis. Mark the points down on your page so you don’t miss them during the read-through.
Did anything strike you as particularly interesting during this exercise? What did you learn about the ways your voice can impact the sonic and social environment?
Recording & Editing
For this workshop you are invited to use any audio recording app of your choice. Many devices have built-in audio recording apps ranging from HD Audio Recorder to Apple’s Voice Memo app. Neither of these apps allows us to edit our files, but they are useful tools for recording and tend to be more user-friendly and easier to navigate than many other programs. In Appendix 1 of this Pressbook, there are video walkthroughs of the free programs Audacity and WavePad, which are compatible for both Windows and Mac users, and can be operated on a PC or a mobile device, and Apple Voice Memo for iPhones.
Note on Access: In the assigned article, “Podcasting for the Blind & Partially Sighted” by Matthew McLean (2017), interviewee Stuart Beveridge identifies the way in which audio recording and editing platforms are inaccessible to vision impaired podcasters. He recommends Voice Memo instead of a dedicated podcast app like WavePad because Voice Memo is easier to navigate due to its use of larger font and fewer buttons. He also identifies accessible programs such as Victor Reader Stream for recording and Adobe Audition for editing audio. It is important to note that both are pay-to-use apps. Interviewee Tanja Milojevic also identifies Sound Forge as an accessible audio editing program. Like Adobe, it is screen-reader compatible. However, these programs are behind paywalls and are not free to use.
Because we recognize the many ways in which various recording software is inaccessible to users, we invite you to use any recording device for this activity. If recording is not available or possible at this time, we would encourage you to plan your episode thoroughly, practice reading your script aloud, and work on your platform analysis of podcasting apps. Your insight and analysis are critical to this conversation about technology, disability, and access.
What a digital platform, technology, or site allows us to do
The limitations that a digital site and/or medium impose on us