Tech talk: casting light on digital developments

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“It’s a group of like-minded individuals around a table – it just feels like we’re chatting over a beer.”

Peter Gough, Senior Lecturer in Dental Technology at MMU, is new to the world of podcasting but judging by his relaxed approach on the new Shedcast series – ‘Tech talk from the Shed’ as its presenters bill it – he’s a bit of a natural. “I’ve got no experience of this kind of thing but it doesn’t seem like we’re working at it,” he says.

Launched in November, Pete is joined for the podcasts by Ed Keefe (3D Print Services Manager), Chris Wilson (iOS App Developer in MMU digitalLabs) and Neil Cochrane (IT Services AV and Primary Support). “The idea just came to us really,” explains Pete. “All the Shedcast team are involved with technology and education in different ways and it just seemed a perfect marriage of minds and tech.”

The podcasts are very much a team effort, and it’s this range of talents and voices that helps it work so well. It’s an approach that continues behind the scenes as well as on air.

“Everyone contributes rather than leaving one person to do all the work. For example, Chris has set up the website and podcast feeds and Neil drives the kit in the studio and edits the recording. Ed and I try to prepare and research material to cover in advance and I do the intro.”

The first two Shedcasts clocked in at around 50 minutes each and brought together a mix of topical tech chat (from the new iPad Pro to Raspberry Pi Zero), local digital news, and tips and advice across the digital spectrum.

“We try and keep the key themes of education and technology up there on the agenda but then tie it to recent news or events. Of course, if there are any interesting breaking news stories trending on the day then we squeeze them in if we can.”

While Pete mentions that plans for the future include guest contributors, both in the studio and via Skype, for the moment the idea is to stick with the core presenting team.

“We’re keeping it between the four of us while we cut our teeth and learn how to improve. We’ve already learned to record the intro after we’ve done the podcast, rather than before – that way it can better reflect what we’ve spoken about and the conversation is free to take its own course.”

The third Shedcast – recorded yesterday and available from 16 December – sees the team discussing the gamification of learning, the latest developments in cloud computing, and Apple’s recently published 3D printing patent application.

And, of course, much more besides. “We sometimes stray off the topic,” smiles Pete, “but that’s also some of the best conversation.”

Listen to all the Shedcasts so far at shedcast.com

Picture: left to right, Neil Cochrane, Peter Gough, Chris Wilson, Ed Keefe