Friday, August 29, 2008

# 19 (Week 8) Podcasts (You don't need an iPod)

The word podcast is used to refer to a non-musical audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the Internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS.

In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by New Oxford American Dictionary and with the growth of podcasting over the last few years it’s easy to see why.

Podcasts take many forms, from short 1-10 minutes commentaries (like the ones used in this Learning 2.0 programme) to much longer in person interviews or panel group discussions. There’s a podcast out there for just about every interest area and the best part about this technology is that you don’t have to have an iPod or a MP3 player to access them. Since podcasts use the MP3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC (or portal device) with headphones or a speaker.

iTunes, the free downloadable application created by Apple, is the directory finding service most associated with podcasts, but if you don’t have iTunes installed there are still plenty of options.

For this discovery exercise participants are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Bloglines account as well, so that when new casts become available you’ll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

  • To find out more about podcasts start with this tutorial
  • There are many, many podcast directory and finding tools out there. Here are just four of the more popular ones that don’t, like iTunes, require a software download:

Discovery Exercises

  1. Take a look at one or two of the podcast directories listed and see if you can find a podcast that interests you. Look for some interesting library related podcasts like book review podcasts or library news.

  2. Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Bloglines account. Look at the comments link at the end of this post for some tips to do this.

  3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

  4. Use your gmail account to email northshorelibraries@gmail.com with a link to your blogpost. Please put Exercise #19 in the subject heading.

Optional: Do you want to learn how to be a podcaster? Here are optional resources for those who want to learn to create podcasts:

Note: You don't need a podcatcher like iTunes to listen to podcast. There are many podcasts you can download as mp3 files and listen to on your computer (using Windows Media Player for instance) or mp3 player. Some podcasts however require a podcatcher. If you are interested, use the PodcatcherMatrix to compare the features of the different podcatchers.

2 comments:

NSL Learning 2.0 team said...

To find RSS feeds in the different podcast directories try the following after you have done a search to find a podcast you like:

Podcastpickle:
- Let the podcast title you selected load completely,
- On the right side bar click on the RSS icon and copy the URL,
- add this URL to your Bloglines acc to subscribe.

Podnova:
- Under the Details heading (before Available episodes heading) there is a RSS feed link; click on it,
- copy the URL and add to your Bloglines acc to subscribe.

Podcastalley:
- Click on the podcast link from the list of your search results,
- click on Subscribe,
- copy the link in the text box below the wording: "Please add the entire URL below to your podcast software."
- add to your Bloglines acc to subscribe.

You have to try a few podcasts because not all of them have feeds that you can subscribe to as described above. Just play around and you will find some neat podcasts.

You could listen to the podcast feeds on your Bloglines account, but the sound quality isn't
always good. I found if I click on the 'enclosure' link (sometimes located above the speaker icon) then the podcast opens up in Microsoft Windows Media Player which gives a better quality sound.

Mrs Doolittle said...

In Podnova, I right clicked the 'RSS Feed' line, then clicked 'Properties'. I highlighted the 'URL' and Copied it ready to Paste into the Bloglines 'Add' page (the link can be found in the Feeds tab.)