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What is a Podcast?

The word “podcasting” is a blend, combining the words broadcasting and iPod. An iPod is a portable music player produced by Apple Computers.  The reason it became linked with the iPod in name was because people download podcasts (audio shows) to listen to on their iPods. However you don’t have to listen to podcasts only on iPods; you can use almost any MP3 player or your computer's software. As long as you have some way to play music on your computer you will be able to listen to podcasts.

You can listen to podcasts like you read blogs. In fact,  podcasts are often distributed through a blog and you can visit the website or use an RSS feed to collect the updates. These files can then be listened to on your computer or you can transfer them to your mp3 player to listen to later.

Podcasts usually have spoken content rather than music.  This is mainly because of copyright law. If you broadcast music you don’t have the rights to use then you are taking a risk.  Some podcasts are just a long rambling interviews while others are segmented into different sections.  An example of this might be an entertainment podcast which has entertainment stories, music and trivia all in one broadcast.  Well produced podcasts are regularly created and have a uniformed format from episode to episode.

Video bloggin or vlogging, the newest type of podcasting, is allowing people to create their own video content for the world to watch. 


Activity 2a: Listen to at least two of the following podcasts.  Write a short review of one of them on your blog.  Read other reviews on your class member's blogs.



Podcasting and ESL Education

Podcasting permits educators to take their students beyond traditional schoolwork by including voice recordings, photos, movies, and sound effects to share their knowledge. For example, students can take a writing assignment and make an audio play, create a progress report for an ongoing project, or submit a recorded version of a science presentation.

Podcasting is also a good way for educators to deliver content to their students. They can distribute homework assignments, record audio books for beginning readers to read along with, or create foreign language lessons that students can review at their own pace. For educators and administrators, podcasting is an effective tool for professional development, as well as for communicating with parents about classroom activities and school announcements.

Read Students and Teachers, From K-12 Hit the Podcasts, from the New York Times

How can students benefit from teacher-produced podcasts?

How can students benefit from making a podcast?

Watch this video, How to Use Podcasts In The Classroom.


Activity 2b: Listen to one or two of the following student or teacher produced podcasts.  Write a short blog about the type of podcast materials your students could create.  Don't forget to read your classmate's posts and comment on their podcasting ideas.




Creating and Editing Audio Files

Before you can create your first podcast, you need to learn how to create and edit audio files.  In this section, you will be given the software and instructions to help you do that.

You can begin by downloading Audacity at Audacity.com, a free audio recording and editing software.  Install the software and make sure that your microphone and speakers are working correctly.

This is what your software should look like when installed.  The area circled is the main toolbar, which controls play and record functions.

audacity image

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Audacity Free Software]


To get started with your new software, you can watch the following videos or read the Audacity Online Manual.  After experimentation, you should be able to import files, move the timelines , adjust the volumes, fade in/out and record your own voice .

The Audacity Toolbar
Importing Files
Using The Effects

Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Audacity Free Software]


Activity 2c: Once you feel that you can record, edit and combine audio elements, create your own recording and save it as an mp3 file.  Visit Soundsnap.com  or The Free Sound Project  to import music or sound effects for this project.





Creating a Podcast

See Assignment 2 for details on this activity.

Now that you have mastered the art of creating your own audio file, it's time to create a podcast. This will be done in several steps.


Step One

Create an mp3 file with a combination of music, sound effects and voice.  Listen to the following example.


Step Two

Now that you have created a file, you need to put it on the internet. To do that, you need a host.  Some hosts will provide a free storage space on the internet while others will charge.  To find a free host, try one of these locations and store your mp3 file.  Make sure that you make note of your file's URL so that you can find the file later.  Here are a list of possible internet hosts that you can use.  If you have your own storage area on the internet, you won't need these.


Step Three

Once you have uploaded your mp3 file onto the internet hosting site, then you need to find an audio player.  The player is actually represented by HTML code.  This code decides the visual appearance of the player, where to find the audio file, how it will play, volume and other aspects.  There are also different types of players.  For this course, we will introduce one type of player but you may wish to explore to find your own. The widgets  in Unit One , which are simply HTML code, can also be used for playing audio files.

All you have to do is to go to Google Gadget, choose "MP3 Player", click "Add to your webpage" and will be taken to the page Add this gadget to your webpage. You can set, title, the height and width of the MP3 Player. A default URL of a song is already added for you so you will need to replace the URL of the default song with the URL of your own song.

google gadgets



1.  Select the name of your podcast, the size of the player and the color of the player border.

2.  Write the URL of where you have stored your mp3 file.

3.  Get the code.


 Once you have the code, you will need to copy and paste in into your blog post.  This is only one example of a player so feel free to search for others to try.  


Permission for the use of these screenshots has been obtained at [Google Permissions]


Activity 2d: Write a short explanation of how you created your podcast and the resources that you used.  Don't forget to visit your class mate's blogs and comment on their podcasts.





Audacity.com: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Allpodcasts Directory: http://www.allpodcast.com

Apple Computers: http://www.apple.com

Blogger.com: http://www.blogger.com/

Campbell, AP (2003). 'Weblogs for Use with ESL Classes' The Internet TESL Journal 9(2) Viewed on May 22, 2008  http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell-Weblogs.html

Duffy, Peter D & Bruns, Axel (2006). The Use of Blogs, Wikis and RSS in Education: A Conversation of Possibilities. In Proceedings Online Learning and Teaching Conference 2006, pages pp. 31-38, Brisbane. Viewed on May 23, 2008. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/archive/00005398/01/5398.pdf

Fryer, Wesley (2008). Cultivating Digital Literacy through Blogging and Podcasting. [Podcast] Moving At the Speed of Creativity. Viewed on May 23, 2008 http://www.speedofcreativity.org/2006/02/09/podcast32-cultivating-digital-literacy- through-blogging-and-podcasting/

 New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/

Soundsnap.com: http://www.soundsnap.com/

Teachertube: http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=fddceb67a26b34e5bc77

Teaching Ideas Website: http://www.teachingideas.co.uk/ict/podcasting.htm

The Free Sound Project: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/index.php

 Vincent, Tony (2008) Podcasts.  Learning In Hand  Viewed on May 22, 2008  http://learninginhand.com/podcasting/create.html