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

DIY Podcast Home


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.

DIY Podcast Home

DIY Podcast: Robots

New DIY Podcast Topic Module: Rocket Evolution

Our newest DIY Podcast topic module has considerably more multimedia content than the others. Rocket Evolution covers past, present and future NASA rockets. It gives you a wide variety of content to choose from as your students build their own podcasts. This topic module features 48 video clips and 24 audio clips that students can download to mix with original content. The content runs the gamut from historical footage to beautiful animation, including President Kennedy’s challenge to go to the moon, several launch countdowns, an artist’s concepts of future rockets, and clips with NASA experts talking about rocketry and the Apollo, Space Shuttle and Constellation programs. You’ll find a nice mix of sound bites and B-roll for video podcasts. If you opt for audio podcasts, your students can be creative as they blend their own narration and music with historic audio and expert sound bites. In addition to audio and video clips, the Rocket Evolution module includes links to images and NASA resources, and information to help students write a podcast script about how rockets have evolved.

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DIY Podcast: Rocket Evolution

New DIY Podcast Topic Module: Solar Arrays

Most of us can’t imagine living without electricity. On the International Space Station, life simply could not exist without it. In our newest DIY Podcast module, astronaut Bill McArthur discusses how electricity is generated and used on the space station. The new Solar Arrays module posted this week gives you easy access to a collection of downloadable NASA audio, video and images that students can use to build their own podcasts. The Solar Arrays module includes 23 video clips and 18 audio clips that students can mix with original content as they explore topics such as solar energy, electricity, spacecraft solar arrays and space station life support. In addition to clips featuring McArthur, this module includes B-roll with spectacular views of Earth and the space station captured during the STS-119 flyaround. The main page of the Solar Arrays module provides helpful information along with links to additional resources for students who want to conduct more research before writing their podcast script.

DIY Podcast Home
DIY Podcast: Solar Arrays

Please Note: If you leave a comment, please do not include a link to your blog or other Web sites. We typically won’t be able to approve your comments if you add a URL.

Getting Started With the DIY Podcast

One of the questions we receive about the DIY Podcast is, “What’s the best way to get started?”

Go to DIY Podcast Home. Select a topic on the right side of the page. Peruse the information to get ideas about the direction you’d like your students to go with their podcast scripts. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see a list of additional resources with more information about the topic. Click through some of the links or come back to this page for ideas throughout the podcast development process.

If you’re creating an audio podcast, select “Audio Clips” on your right. Select “Listen” to hear each clip and jot down ID numbers of clips you think you might want to use, such as 2-a, 5-a, etc. Of course, you’ll refine this list as your audio project comes together. After sampling a few clips, you may want to click on “Text version” and quickly read through the transcript of the clips to help decide which clips you want to include and if you prefer to trim away part of a clip after you download the file for editing. Download the audio clips you plan to use by right-clicking your mouse on the “Listen” link to “Save Link As” or by selecting the down arrow on the audio player to save a file.

If you’re creating a video podcast, select “Video Clips” on your right. A short description with each clip will help you decide if you want to preview the clip. You can select the image, the clip number or “Play” to preview a clip. Use the scroll bar on the right side of the clip descriptions to navigate through the playlist. Jot down ID numbers of clips you might use, such as 6-v, 30-v, etc. When you’re ready to save video files to your computer, select “Download” in the playlist or select the download icon in the Flash player control bar while previewing the clips you want to use.

Each DIY Podcast topic module includes links to images. Creative students often enjoy adding high-resolution still images to a video production. NASA images can also be used for podcast artwork or an enhanced podcast. Select “Images” on the right and browse to select the ones you want. Clicking on text or images will send you to a page where you can download the image.

We want to make it easy for you to use the DIY Podcast activity. Please post a comment with your questions or suggestions. Most links can’t be approved for posting, so we ask that you not include them in your comments.

DIY Podcast Home

New DIY Podcast Topic Module: Fitness

Astronaut Sunita Williams actually ran the Boston Marathon in space. And in our latest DIY Podcast topic module, she and astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria demonstrate and explain how astronauts exercise in space and why it’s so important. We posted the new Fitness module this week to give you easy access to downloadable NASA audio, video and images that students can use to build their own podcasts about fitness and exercise. The Fitness module includes 13 video clips and 12 audio clips that students can mix with original content as they examine fitness in space and on Earth. You’ll find helpful information about fitness along with links to additional resources for students who want to research the topic before writing their script.

DIY Podcast Home
DIY Podcast: Fitness

Please Note: If you leave a comment, please do not include a link to your blog or other Web sites. We typically won’t be able to approve your comment if you add a URL.

DIY Podcast Adds Sports Demonstration Topic Module

We added a new topic module to the DIY Podcast activity today. It’s called “Sports Demo,” and encourages students to create their own podcast demonstrating the science of sports in space. This latest topic module includes video and audio clips of NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson discussing scientific laws and how they apply to sports in space. He uses basketball, football, baseball, soccer and gymnastics to demonstrate Newton’s laws, the conservation of angular momentum and the effects of microgravity. Anderson demonstrates how much easier it is to dunk a basketball or do gymnastics in microgravity.

Students may choose from 16 video clips to create a video podcast that blends their own original content and NASA astronaut footage. Students also have the option of creating an audio podcast that mixes their own narration with any of 11 audio clips of Anderson explaining the science of sports in space. This DIY Podcast topic module, which also includes images, helpful information and sports and microgravity links, gives students a fun way to compare sports on Earth and in space and get a better understanding of scientific laws and principles.

DIY Podcast Home
DIY Podcast: Sports Demo

Please Note: If you leave a comment, please do not include a link to your blog or other Web sites.  We typically won’t be able to approve your comment if you add a URL.

How to Preview and Download Video Clips

The DIY Podcast Video Clips pages allow you to preview video clips quickly. Scroll through the clip descriptions in the Flash player. As you find clips that interest you, click on the “Play” link, the clip number or the image beside the description to watch the clip. If you want to use the clip in your project, click on the download icon in the Flash player control bar or the “Download” link under the clip description. A compressed ZIP file will download to your computer.

Each ZIP file contains video clips and timed-text transcript files in multiple formats to accommodate Windows and Mac users. Formats of the five files in each clip’s ZIP package are:

•    MPEG-4 video (.mp4)
•    Windows Media Video (.wmv)
•    Text (.txt)
•    Distribution Format Exchange Profile caption (.dfxp.xml)
•    SubRip caption (.srt)

The time-stamped text files make it easier to create a captioned product if you choose to do so. Once you decompress the ZIP files, move the video clips into your video editing software and build your project.

We want to make this activity as simple as possible for you and welcome your comments to let us know if these are the formats you need.

Do-It-Yourself Podcast Home

NASA Education Introduces DIY Podcast

We’re excited to introduce the Do-It-Yourself Podcast activity in the For Educators section of We’ll provide audio and video clips of astronauts performing work in space and on the ground. Your students can preview and download the clips to build their own podcast or similar audio/video project.

Learning modules on the DIY Podcast page will be categorized by topic to assist students with creating projects about a subject of interest. Each subject module includes video and audio clips, images, helpful information and links to related resources. A variety of audio and video clips will be provided to enhance flexibility and creativity. Students can create video or audio projects using free or inexpensive software on Windows or Macintosh computers. You and your students are encouraged to distribute your NASA projects through podcasts, social networks, Web sites, CDs, DVDs or any channels that you choose.

Today’s digital environments give students the tools to actively create and share content, not just passively consume it. Researchers say students who create and evaluate media are deriving a sense of competence, autonomy, self-determination and connectedness. A Pew Internet & American Life Project study finds the majority of American youth using the Internet are involved in some kind of content-creating activity, such as blogging, making profiles, sharing photos and videos, creating Web sites and remixing content. NASA Education’s DIY Podcast activity is designed to actively engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.

The Do-It-Yourself Podcast Blog will give you updates on our progress. We’ll let you know when additional topic modules are available and offer tips and suggestions for incorporating the DIY Podcast into your classroom. We hope you’ll use the Comments feature of the blog to share your ideas and experiences with teachers and students. Let us know how you’re using the DIY Podcast material and what we can do to make it better.

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