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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?
- Use your gmail account to email firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
- How to Create Your Own Podcast
- Odeo Studio – online recording studio.
- Beginners guide to Podcasts & Creating Podcasts
- How to podcast tutorial
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.