HOT TOPIC: Podcasting
Volume 3, Issue 16 - January 7, 2007

"Podcasts are a great multimedial format for delivery of portable digital content – teachers should be using it! But what does this mean to podcast? In short, it means recording and then sharing audio and video versions of live events. Sounds simple – what is involved? It can be very simple or more complicated. Let me offer two contrasting examples:

Example 1: In presenting at Alan November’s Building Learning Communities conference, I have been fitted with an iPod in my pocket that had a small white t-shaped microphone inserted in its top – all I have to do is hit record and leave it in my pocket and my entire session is recorded. I turn in the iPod to Alan and he can download the file from the iPod to a computer and then upload it to his web site where it can be accessed by those who want to listen, either on their own iPod or right on their computer using their media player of choice.

Example 2: This past Fall we decided to offer podcasts of selected sessions at the MassCUE state technology conference. Great idea! But it became a more complicated process. Several staff members used digital camcorders to record presentations and then converted them to QuickTime so that they could be formatted as audio and/or video MP4 files. The files were then uploaded to our server where we linked to them so people could access them from our site. We also created an RSS feed and uploaded it to iTunes so that podcasters could subscribe.

However you slice it, podcasting is a great way to share live events: lessons, tours, experiments, presentations and performances so that your audience can access and enjoy the content from anywhere they have Internet access (and in the case of MP3 players, without Internet access once the file(s) are downloaded).

Exasperated or excited, educators are aware of this new technology making noise across the Web community and they want to know more about what it is, how it can be used, and who can benefit from it instructionally. This week’s Digital Dozen Newsletter offers more than a dozen of the best resources online for harnessing the power of podcasting for your students."

©2005 Walter McKenzie

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