Old RadioIntroducing...Podcasting

Podcsting...here's a word that likely one year ago wasn't even close to being on your radar. Now you know the word exists, but do you know what Podcasting is?

Simply put, a podcast is an audio-based blog. It's kind of funny to be using a new term like blog to describe the even newer term podcast. Like with blogs, podcasts allow you to hear (as opposed to read) what people have to say. That is, you can hear what anyone with a computer and an Internet connection says.

It sounds like a podcast is just like a radio broadcast. What makes a podcast any different than a radio broadcast?

  1. That little tidbit about anybody being able to produce a podcast is a biggie. If you want to produce a weekly podcast about polar bears, you can do it. If you want to have a weekly radio broadcast about polar bears, you might have a difficult time convincing a radio station to air you.
  2. You can listen in when you choose to rather than rearrange your day to accommodate someone else’s programming schedule.

Looking at podcasts a little more broadly and technically, in many ways they are the merging of two recent phenomena, blogging and MP3 music downloads. Podcasts are audio files, typically MP3s, that are created and then distributed over the Internet. Almost all podcasts are free, and they download to your computer and iPod (or other MP3 player) just like any other MP3. And if you subscribe to a particular blog through an RSS feed (iTunes will do it for you too), then they download automatically without you even lifting a finger.

Don't take it from me. Watch the Four Minutes About Podcasting video (requires Real Player) to learn a little bit more.

Experiencing podcasts

BernieEnough already! It's time to learn by listening. I'll give you a finite list of podcasts to listen to. You're going to wear several hats while you listen to help you make some conclusions about what a good (and not so good) podcast is about.

Complete PodQuest, a WebQuest about Podcasting created by Bernie Dodge.

MicrophoneI'm a believer...Where do I find podcasts?

Podcasts are exploding on the scene, and therefore we must deal with the double-edged sword of trading the plus of finding one to fit your interests with the minus of drowning in a sea of choices. I'll give you a short list of podcast directories and search engines to get you started. Where you go from here is up to you.

Share what you find

Using the above directories and search engines hunt down two podcasts that you find interesting and hopefully useful. One needs to be "educational" (you can define what this means) and the other can cover any topic you want. Share a little bit about these podcasts in the Moodle Forum called Podcasts. As others start populating this forum, read their posts, listen to their discovered podcasts, and then post a reply to their thread.

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