• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!



Page history last edited by Doug Peterson 13 years, 6 months ago



An Introduction to Podcasting


Another element of being your own publisher and creating content to share over the internet ... Podcasting.  Here, we're not using the written word, but rather than the spoken word to comment, express opinions, comment, narrate, relate, retell, ... in fact when you podcast, you are your own internet radio host.  Like traditional radio, you broadcast or post to the world and you really don't know who you audience ultimately will be.  Unlike traditional radio, your internet radio show made be downloaded and played back on computer or a portable music device like an iPod for listening at a later time and also over and over.


Podcasting in Plain English


Podcasting in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.



There are thousands of podcasts available if you know where to look. Traditional media uses it as another outlet for their message.  Schools use it in Communication Technology courses but the concept isn't limited there.  An individual radio show may be a media file stored in MP3 or other audio format.  When you produce your show on a regular basis, you create episodes and you'll let your listeners know of updates via an RSS feed.  Your listeners "subscribe" to your RSS feed and download updated episodes as you make them available.


How to become a disk jockey the old fashioned way!  Or, check it out using Career Cruising.  Your teacher will have your school's login/password.






Clearing Some Jargon


Media Formats

As with word processing or spreadsheet documents, there are file formats that promote the universality of access.  In order for your podcast to be enjoyed by others, you must save your episodes in a format that others can use.  The common format is MP3.  This is a compressed audio format that balances a small size with high quality audio.



RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary" or probably other things.  Bottom line, it is a file that captures the critical details about your podcast so that your visitors know where they may access your episodes.  Your visitors can use a separate utility like iTunes to keep track, they may use a utility like Google's Reader, or modern web browsers like Internet Explorer or Firefox have this functionality built into them.  RSS can be a little intimidating at first, but makes a great deal of sense to your RSS reader.  Depending upon where you post your podcast, you may not even need to know the technical details.


What you see...

What your reader sees (and understands!) ...

Some sample podcasts
Creating a Podcast


Step One
Before you go near a computer, you need to consider the following
  • What type of podcast am I producing?
  • How long will my broadcast be?
  • How can my message be effectively delivered?
The Writing Process is key
  • Prewriting
  • Writing
  • Revising
  • Editing
  • Publishing - this time as a podcast - note this is LAST!
Step Two
  • If you are podcasting directly into FirstClass no software is necessary.  FirstClass has its own simple recorder built right into it.
  • If you don't use the FirstClass recorder, you will need a software package to record your podcast.  There a number of really good product like Garageband to do this.  An excellent free and open source software package for the purpose is Audacity.  Audacity is available for Macintosh, Linux, and Windows.  You can download Audacity from:   http://audacity.sourceforge.net/.  Audacity should be installed on computers on our networks.  Make sure that you also download the LAME MP3 encoder.
  • Locate the internal microphone on your computer or connect and test your external microphone.  If you are going to do this quite often, purchasing a USB microphone is an excellent idea.
  • Make sure that there are no background noises to interrupt your production.  Bells, buzzers, announcements, students, ...  This may well be the most challenging issue.  Perhaps the instructions should read "minimize background noises"!
  • Position your script in an easy position to read.  i.e. not between your mouth and the microphone.
  • Want to be high tech?  Play your material through this online teleprompter.
  • The easiest way to create a podcast is in a single recording.  However, Audacity will allow you to record multiple segments and merge them together to produce a final product.
  • For professional results, consider musical introductions and segues.  Respect copyright limitations of artists and their distributors.  Read the acceptable use restrictions at various sites.  For example, the resources at Free Play Music may NOT be used in a podcast.  Sources you may consider include: http://ccmixter.org/http://music.podshow.com/ or Wikimedia Commons.
  • Practice makes perfect.  Retakes are easily done.  Even consider a blooper reel!
  • Make sure that you know the name of your Podcast file.  You'll need to know it when creating your RSS feed.
Step Three
Creating the RSS Feed
You now have to find some way for your listeners to find and to subscribe to your Podcast.  With an appropriate browser or reader, you will want to broadcast information about your episodes.
  • If you are using FirstClass, it's easy.  FirstClass creates the RSS feed for you automatically.  Any visitor to your website will see the notification of an RSS feed right in the browser.  Or, if you are using an RSS reader, the feed needs to be entered.
  • If you are not using and posting through FirstClass, you'll need to create your own RSS feed.  Fortunately, there are a number of wizards available to take care of the technical details.  Here's one.  Fill in the blanks and let the wizard create the feed for you. 
  • If you expect to broadcast your Podcast through iTunes, there are additional tags that are needed.  Apple's specifications are found here.


Step Four

Posting your Podcast and your Feed

So, you've created the podcast and your feed.  What's next?  Getting it onto the web.

  • Again, if you're using FirstClass, you are done.  The content is already stored on the server and the RSS feed is already created.  Just advertise your feed!
  • You might consider posting your podcast to an online service.  Check out:  http://www.gcast.com
  • Doing it yourself.  Not a terribly difficult task.  Determine just where on your website you will be uploading the podcast.  You'll need to know that.
  • Decide what page will host the information about your podcast.  Usually it will be your index page or you may have a special Podcast page.  On that page, you'll have to add the following line.  It will let incoming browsers know 1) that there's an RSS feed, and 2) where the podcast is stored.  The line will be between <head> and </head> and is only entered the first time you create the file.  From this point on, you just modify the RSS feed.




  • <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="Name of your feed" href="http://<address to your RSS file.">

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="GEC Computers in the Classroom Podcasts Feed" href="http://www.gecdsb.on.ca/d&g/GEC_Podcasts.xml">



Step Five

Finally, proudly let everyone (including me) know of your Podcast.  There's no sense creating the next great radio show and not having an audience.


Podcasting Ideas

  • Record a Podcast of the Morning Announcements and post directly to the school website so that those not in attendance and parents know what's going on.
  • Create a trailer after a class reads a book to summarize the plot and key points.
  • Create a podcast to go along with a recipe in cooking class.
  • Use a podcast to retell a story read in class.
  • Create your own radio commercials.
  • Summarize a lesson and post to a class website so that those who missed class can get caught up.
  • Create a podcast to complement class or personal blogs.
  • Create a podcast to post an interview with guest speakers, other teachers, or the principal about a topic of the day.
  • Document how to perform a particular task.
  • Take your jokes and riddles to the web.
  • Play a historical role and explain to your listeners what you discovered and how you did it.
  • More Podcasting Ideas.


Guy Kawasaki's Big List


In the classroom? 

Download a booklet from Learning in Hand "Podcasting for Teachers and Students"





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