Information about Podcasting

What is a Podcast?

"Podcasting is the distribution of audio files, such as radio programs, over the internet using RSS syndication for listening on mobile devices and personal computers. A podcast is a web feed of audio or video files placed on the Internet for anyone to subscribe to..."
- Wikipedia

Do I have to have an IPod or Mp3 player to listen to a podcast?

Absolutely not!! Most people just use their computer to listen to podcasts. If you do have one you can download podcasts to your listening device and listen anywhere and anytime.

What software do I need?

If you are only subscribing and listening to podcasts you only need one piece of software, a podcatcher. There are several possible applications that can be used for this purpose. My favorite is iTunes which can be downloaded from here. Another popular podcatching application is Juice v2.2 downloaded from this site.

How do I subscribe to a podcast?

Subscribing is easy!!
1. Once you have installed your podcast receiving software, then navigate to the site where the podcast is located.
2. Once you are there, look for an icon that looks like one of these external image rss_button4.gif external image button_xml3.gif external image button_rss_20.gif external image button_xml_rss.jpg.
3. After you locate the icon, right click on the icon and choose "copy shortcut".
4. This step may vary depending on the podcast receiving software (iTunes, Juice) you choose to use. Open the software and choose to add or subscribe to a new feed. Then, in the resulting dialogue box, paste the URL shortcut that was copied in step 3.
5. Once you are subscribed to the podcast, the software will allow you to download episodes for listening.

How can I use podcasting in the classroom?

  • Create an audio class newsletter.
  • Podcast stories or other types of writing by students.
  • Podcast events from social studies as "You Are There" news broadcasts.
  • Podcast book reviews or summaries.
  • Record audio tutorials that can be accessed by students at home.
  • Share results from science observations and experiments.
  • Share classroom events or projects.

Audacity


Audacity is software that allows for the creation of various audio files including MP3 and WAV. This software is complex enough that is allows users to be very creative, but it is also user-friendly enough that even a basic user can use it to record mp3 files.
The program can be downloaded from this site .

In order to create mp3 files, Audacity needs a special file location. Begin by making sure that Audacity is installed on your computer. Then download this fileexternal image octet-stream.png lame_enc.dll and save it in this location C:\Program Files\Audacity 1.3 Beta. The next step is to record something in Audacity and choose File/Export as MP3. The software will ask where this file is and allow you to point to it with an Open dialogue box.
Preference Recommendations: Edit>Preferences
Tabs:
Audio I/O - under recording change channels to 2(stereo)
File Formats - Set MP3 bit rate to 64. A higher number will increase quality, but think about your audience. For Podcasting the decreased file size using a bit rate of 64 outweighs the minimal difference you will hear in quality using a higher bit rate.

Here is a link to an Audacity tutorial site

Import Audio into Audacity: This is a 7 minute video tutorial by Jess McCulloch.


Adventures in Podcasting: This 13 minute video by Jane Nicholls of New Zealand explains the importance that oral language plays in our curriculum and gives a general outline of what podcasting is. (Ask a Ninja is also embedded here.) This video is probably not for the general audience, but I included it because it contains some good background information that expresses educational validity for podcasting.