Additional NASA Audio Clips

All of NASA Education’s DIY Podcast topic modules include audio clips your students can download for their podcasts. You also may want to include related audio clips available on the NASA Audio File page. The page has sound clips with NASA scientists, researchers, astronauts and officials, as well as natural sound of events such as spacecraft launch and landing.


If your class creates podcasts using the new DIY Podcast Robots topic module, you might consider a couple of Viking spacecraft sound clips from the NASA Audio File page. They would work nicely with a DIY Podcast clip of robotic systems engineer Fernando Zumbado talking about NASA’s planetary mission robots. In clip No. 9 on the Audio Clips and Video Clips

pages of the Robots module, Zumbado mentions the Viking spacecraft and the Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. Browse the NASA Audio File archives to find and download related clips that complement the Zumbado clips your students use in their podcasts.

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DIY Podcast: Robots

NASA Audio File

NASA Audio File: Viking to Mars — 30th Anniversary 

NASA Education Robotics Resource

The topic of our newest DIY Podcast module is Robots. You’ll find a lot of information, links, images and downloadable audio and video clips in the module. But there’s another resource that may help your students when they’re researching robots and developing their podcast scripts. The NASA Education Robotics Web site  is a central location for robotics-related educational products and opportunities, videos and interactive modules.


The site includes information about the STS-131 space shuttle mission scheduled to launch in April 2010. Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger, an educator and mission specialist, is a robotic arm operator on STS-131. The robotics site features video messages for students and teachers from Metcalf-Lindenburger. The site also includes an image gallery students can use to enhance their podcasts about robots.

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DIY Podcast: Robots

Meet Us at NSTA

We’re taking the show on the road. If you are going to be at the NSTA 2010 National Conference in Philadelphia March 18–21, be sure to look us up. NASA will have several exhibits at the conference in the 840 section of the exhibit hall. There also will be more than 70 NASA and NASA–related workshops throughout the conference. On Saturday, March 20, our NASA’s Do-It-Yourself Podcast presentation will be from 2-3 p.m. in Hall D, Room 17, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. During this session, we will show you how to get started with your podcasts and answer your questions. If you are currently using DIY Podcast modules, please come and share your ideas with us.

See you in Philly!

NASA@NSTA schedule

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Well, I’m not really a new kid on the block. I have been working with NASA’s DIY Podcast since its beginning. I am Denise Miller, the educator behind the podcast modules. I write the overviews at the beginning of each module to support school curriculum and national education standards. I review the video clips to make sure that they are going be what you and your students need. I have collaborated on several of the blog posts. But now, they’re mine … all mine. HA! I’ll be using the DIY Podcast blog entries to help you use this cool technology with your students.

I’ve taught eighth grade science, algebra and pre-algebra. I enjoyed using different methods for presenting lessons including demonstrations, discrepant events and PowerPoint presentations. If I were still in the classroom, I would create podcasts for my students to download to their MP3 players or computers so they could have repeated exposure to their lessons. I would assign podcast building projects to accompany some units. To me, podcasts are the PowerPoint presentation of the 21st century.

I came to work at NASA because I was using NASA lessons in the classroom and I had participated in NASA activities. I wanted other teachers to know about the cool and FREE stuff that NASA has for students and teachers.

The DIY Podcast is another example of cool and free NASA stuff. It is also an exciting way to use NASA multimedia in the classroom.

OK, really … the blog isn’t ALL mine. I would like your help with it. I want to use it to start a conversation between teachers, to trade ideas on how to make the most of this educational tool. No doubt about it, we can learn a lot from each other.

DIY Podcast Adds Robots Topic Module

NASA uses robots for tasks that range from exploring the solar system to building new rockets. And now your students can build their own podcast about robots using audio and video clips, images and information bundled in NASA Education’s newest DIY Podcast topic module.

The Robots module we added this week features NASA robotic systems engineer Fernando Zumbado discussing robots and how NASA uses them. The module’s 22 video clips include Mars rover animation and B-roll footage of several NASA robots. The Robots module also has 11 audio clips. Your students are free to download these NASA multimedia materials and edit them with their own recordings and narration to create a podcast.

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DIY Podcast: Robots

Production Ideas for Using Still Images in Video Podcasts

We’re wrapping up our blog series on using still images in video projects with a few production ideas for developing classroom projects with DIY Podcast materials. In the Sports Demo topic module, astronaut Clayton Anderson demonstrates sports in microgravity. He shows how it’s different to play ball or do gymnastics without the full force of Earth’s gravity. Your students could show the earthbound perspective by taking pictures with their digital cameras.

 It might be fun for your class to participate in the same sporting events that Anderson demonstrates on the space station. You could designate a few students to take action shots of their classmates playing baseball. Some of the students who play in the baseball game could serve as photographers for the next sporting event. By the end of your sports demo, all the students will get to shoot photos and play sports.

With the use of transitions and special effects, your class could create a video product exclusively using still images. If you take that approach, you could grab still images from the Sports Demo video clips to draw a contrast between sports in space and on Earth. You could mix in some of the stills on the DIY Podcast: Sports Demo Images page. Or your class may prefer to capture video and just drop in still images for titles, transitions or special effects.

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DIY Podcast: Sports Demo

Benefits of Using Still Images in Video Products

Video should usually be created with moving video, but still images are well suited for some video production situations. In our last blog post we discussed how a lack of moving video prompted Ken Burns to rely on the pan and scan effect to bring Civil War photos to life. When video you need isn’t available, you may choose to incorporate still images into your video project. An occasional still image may help to smoothly transition from one scene to another.

Using still images to make a video is sometimes faster, cheaper and easier than using live motion video. For example, it’s faster and easier to download an online image of Sir Isaac Newton than to have a student dress in costume to perform a vignette for a video podcast about Newton’s Laws.

If you don’t have access to a video camera, your students can still build a video podcast or digital slideshow by creatively blending still images with text. The DIY Podcast activity provides images related to the topic modules. Once you find images suitable for your project, insert them into the timeline in the order you want and then add transitions, graphics and music. You could spice up the project by dropping in a few of the DIY Podcast video clips.

Still images also make great backgrounds for project titles and are more visually interesting than a solid color background. You may want to manipulate the image in your photo editing software to give it a soft blur or some other effect before importing it into video editing software for inclusion in your project.

In our next blog post, we’ll share some production ideas for using still images in video products your class creates with DIY Podcast materials.

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Extract Still Images From Video

DIY Podcast topic modules feature images that you can use when building your podcasts, but you may occasionally wish to grab a still image from one of the video clips. A couple of videos that come to mind are Sunita Williams exercising on the space station, which you’ll find in the Fitness module, and Clay Anderson demonstrating sports in space, which you’ll find in the Sports Demo module.

Most video editing software makes it easy to extract a still image from video. Depending on the software you use, the still image function may be listed as “Export,” “Make Freeze Frame,” “Extract” or “Take Picture from Preview.” You also may want to try a simple Web search for a free image extraction tool.

Students can use special effects with still images to create supplemental video that runs with their narration. We’ll discuss some of the ways still images are used to create video productions in upcoming posts on the DIY Podcast Blog.

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Adding Still Images to Video Projects

We started a conversation on the DIY Podcast Blog last week about using still images in students’ video podcasts. Still images can be used in a variety of ways to enhance video projects. One technique, known as the pan and scan effect or move-on-stills photography, was introduced to most of us through Ken Burns’ documentary film “The Civil War.”

The technique is used primarily when film or video material is not available. It gives life to still images by slowly zooming in on subjects of interest and panning from one subject to another. For example, if your students include DIY Podcast clips of an astronaut in their video project, they could use this effect on an expedition or space shuttle crew portrait. Your class videographer could slowly pan across crew members’ faces and settle on the crew member being discussed by the narrator. The pan and scan effect also can be used to transition from one scene to another.

You can achieve this technique with a camera or with software that incorporates still images into a video project using slow pan and zoom effects. If you scan an image, it’s important to determine the right scanning resolution for your work. You need enough data in the scanned image to allow you to zoom in without causing the image to break into blocks of pixels, but you don’t necessarily need to go with the highest scanning density because the resulting file will take a lot of hard drive space and slow your computer processing.

We’ll consider some of the benefits of using still images in video projects in our next blog post. How are you using still images with video in your classroom? Post a comment and share your experience.

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Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Most of the DIY Podcast topic modules feature astronauts on the International Space Station explaining or demonstrating scientific concepts. Your students can create audio podcasts with the sound clips we provide on the Audio Clips page of each topic module. But what if your students could interview an astronaut aboard the space station and ask the specific questions they want answered? Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, offers this opportunity.

If you or one of your students’ parents is a ham radio operator, you may be able to contact an astronaut aboard the station. Record the conversation audio, and then your students will have unique content to add to their podcasts. As students prepare for a 10-minute session with a space explorer, they could study a topic related to a DIY Podcast module, listen to the clips provided in the module, and then ask informed questions to get answers they would like to include as sound bites in their own podcasts.

International Space Station Reference: Ham Radio
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