What's a Podcast?

Podcast (definition from Wikipedia)

A podcast is a digital media file, or a related collection of such files, which is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers. The term, like "radio", can refer either to the content itself or to the method by which it is syndicated; the latter is also termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically when new content is added, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
An audio file with RSS feed. Essentially, a podcast is a file that is cast out in digital space and it can be caught by RSS feeds.

Why Use Podcasts?

Growing use of portable MP3 technology and podcasters
  • In 2005, podcasters were projected by iMedia to “balloon in number by 2010” growing from .8 million Americans using podcasts in 2004 to 56.8 million Americans using podcast in 2010.
  • Moreover, use of technology is growing substantially, as Independent North American research company Ipsos suggests “one in five Americans aged 12 and older owns a portable MP3 Player”.
Paul Allison's - A Pedagogy of Podcasting
  • Podjournalling: podcasts provide prompts for writing
  • Podcasting is a student-lef endeavor because the media is new, or at least newer to classrooms
  • Podcasting involves listening and talking and writing
  • Podcasting offers new and noteworthy material, which supports education goals of rigor, relevance, relationships
Other reasons to use podcasts?
  • Podcasts promote communication as they allow comments from users/readers
  • Podcasts offer an opportunity to revise using both writing and auditory skills
  • Podcasts engage students in speaking
  • Podcasts can showcase student productions
  • Podcasts extend audiences for student voices
  • Podcasts make it fun to not only read student work online, but also listen to it, supporting auditory and visual learning


News and Informational Podcasts
  • The State News (Opinion pieces and sports pieces are offered in these podcasts)
  • CNN.com (Audio and video podcasts are available)
  • NPR: Podcast Directory (National Public Radio offers several podcasts for listening pleasure)
  • EMS Live (Online radio show. By paramedics. For paramedics.)

Entertainment Podcasts
  • ESPN Podcenter (A variety of sports-related podcasts are offered)
  • MTV Podcasts (A number of music and entertainment-themed podcasts are available)
  • Cinema Playground (Podcasts for movie trailers, quotes, news, and more)

Personal Podcasts

Literature Podcasts
  • Poetcast (Poets.org from the Academy of American Poets includes reading of poetry in their podcast show)
  • The Death of the Author (A podcast novel in three acts)

Educational Podcasts

Podcasts with Students

Podcasts for Professional Discourse
  • Teachers Teaching Teachers (Skyping, Webcasting, Podcasting, and Blogging By and For Teachers)
  • Red Cedar Writing Project Original Cut (RCWP TCs share teaching experiences with others with podcasting through the blog site)
  • Weblogged-ed (The read/write web in the classroom; Will Richardson explores tools and ideas for using technology in the classroom in his podcast)

Podcast Directories (directories search for specific podcasts)

Subscribe to podcasts: Listening to podcasts

  • Subscribe to Podcasts in iTunes. Go to "Podcasts" then "Podcast Directory".
  • Check out free podcasts. Make a selection, then select subscribe.

Creating your own Podcast

Recording your own audio using Audacity

Using music in your podcast
  • Be sure to consider permissions and copyright when podcasting. Here is a good site to find music. Check it out:
  • Be sure to give credit to the artist in your podcast.
  • Bumpers are segments of music that go in between and silently as part of your narration.
  • Most often instrumentals are effective for podcasts.

Upload your MP3 file
  • Saving the file on a public web server, such as yours at school, through a hosting service such as Lunar Pages, or at the Internet Archive.
  • Be sure to note the URL.
  • Create a post in your blog with a link to the MP3 file.
  • Create a feed for your blog.
  • Subscribe to the podcast.
  • Or post your podcasting directly into your edublog!

Other possible hosts for MP3 files

To convert your audio file to post without editing:

To upload your file to server space, using Audacity.
  • In Audacity, go to "File" then "Export as MP3...".
  • Name your file and save it in your server space. (In some instances you may need to save your work and need to FTP your files to server space.)

Step-by-Step Instructions for Producing a Podcast beginning with an ipod (another set of directions in case you want more of a step-by-step process)
1. Record a voice memo on the iPod
2. Upload into iTunes
3. Import audio into Audacity
4. To add music, go to music.podshow.com
5. Go to search music to find what you want for your podcast
6. Click "Add to Playlist" when you find the song you want
7. Go to "My Playlist" and click "Download MP3"
8. Go back to Audacity
9. Go to Project, click on "Import Audio"
10. Click on "Music"
11. Click on "iTunes", then "iTunes Music", find your MP3
12. Import MP3 file
13. Note the artist and open up their website--you will need this information in order to give credit to artist in your podcast in your blog.
14. Remember, once you publish your podcast, you'll have to go back to the podsafe music network to report that the song was played.
15. In Audacity, you can edit the song by using the I-tool to select the track section that you want.
16. Use the timeshift tool to move your audio tracks to where you want them
17. To adjust the volume of your audio tracks, use the envelope tool (it looks like an hour glass). Click on the music track, you can drag the points up and down to fade the music out.
18. To save your project, go to File, Save Project As:
19. Save your project
20. Go to File, Export as MP3
21. Name your project
22. Save your MP3 file in a location that will be easy for you to find (probably in the album you created in iTunes)
23. Edit the ID3 tags for the MP3 file window pops up: Fill in the Title, Artist, Album, and genre information, then hit OK
24. Go to iTunes to test your project
25. Open iTunes
26. Go to File, Add to library, go back to your music folder, find your podcast, and hit choose
27. Go to Firefox and go to ourmedia.org and register as a user with a new account (Your homepage is your blog)
28. This will also require you to join archive.org. Return to ourmedia.com to continue. These sites provide free internet space to store your files.
29. under "MY CONTROLS" follow to "publish my media" then click "Audio"
30. In the "Submit Audio" box, type the title of your podcast and upload the audio from iTunes you wish to publish.
31. In the same dialogue box, fill in Author/Artist and the Description of work
32. Submit
33. Be sure to download the Our Media Publishing tools
34. Control click on This media file's URL: Link
35. Copy the link location by right clicking on the link and copy the address
36. Return to your blog
37. Click on Write to create a new post
38. Write a post on your blog with a link to the podcast by highlighting your desired text and then hit the hyperlink button
39. In the Insert/Edit dialogue box that opens, past the link you copied from Our Media.
40. Under target, choose to open in a new window.
41. Publish

Materials for this podcasting overview were developed by Dawn Reed in collaboration with other RCWP TCs Luke Rodesiler and Troy Hicks.