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May 19, 2006

E-Coaching Tip 14: Podcasting -- Taking a First Step with Audio

This tip is the first of a few tips about "getting into" audio in your courses. Before creating audio content, a good first step is to experience some audio content.

By the way, if you are under 35 or so, you can skip this tip. You already have an Ipod or an MP3 player firmly attached to your head somewhere with over 2000 "tunes" available at a moment's notice! On the other hand, you may want to do this assignment anyway, as this is a first step in thinking about the kind of text content that really works in this audio format.

For all of you who are "newbies" to podcasting, this note has an assignment attached to it. Go to one of the following urls and download a podcast of your choice to your computer. (What is a Podcast? It is a "digital audio file" equivalent to a radio show that can be played on your computer or other digital player such as an iPod.)

This assignment has four parts:
1. Find a podcast that you would like to hear.
2. Download that podcast, and
3. Play it on your computer, while checking that you know how to adjust the volume control on the speakers on your computer, and
4. Send an email to us as to what you found that surprised you, or that delighted you, or confused you, or how you are thinking about using an audio podcast in your course, or what question you have next. (This is obviously optional, but your insights and questions will guide what comes next!)

This can be done in as little as 15 minutes, but for those of you who are curious, it can easily stretch into an hour of browsing. Think of it as going to the library!

  • www.sciam.com/podcast. This is the website for Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American. This is the source of some of my favorite podcasts that I load on to my iPod and listen to while I exercise or drive. Each of these "sciam" podcasts -- as I like to abbreviate them -- have 3 segments of about 7 minutes each. For example, one of the segments from the podcast of April 11, 2006 features an interview with David Berreby talking about his book, Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind. The last few minutes of each podcasts lets you "test your knowledge about some recent science in the news." Note -- Many if not most of the podcasts available at the iTunes site are free.

  • www.apple.com/itunes/. This is the by now famous site that launched a music revolution. It has evolved into a portal where you can browse for "more than 3 million songs, 35,000 podcasts, and more than 16,000 audiobooks plus classic videos or the latest episode of "The Office."

  • While you are at the iTunes site, you may want to download the iTunes application. There are versions for both the Mac and the pc and it is freely downloadable piece of software. More info is at www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/tips.html

 

Another interesting feature of podcasts is that you can choose to subscribe to the podcasts, and each time you then launch your iTunes application and you are on the Internet the most recent "podcast" in the series will download into your iTunes library.

Enjoy your Podcast assignment, and be thinking about how you might like to use audio in your course. Is there a favorite author/expert that you would like to interview? Is there a discussion board summary or observation that you would like to do using audio? Maybe your students would like to add an audio supplement to their project.

Next week is Memorial Day Weekend. The next tip will come on June 2! Have a good weekend!

More Background and References

1. http://www.podcasting-tools.com/
Podcasting Tools --
Description of the site from the site:
This site is a comprehensive podcasting resource detailing everything you need to know about Podcasting. Podcasting is the process of creating an audio show of some sort available in MP3 format via an RSS 2.0 feed that supports enclosures. Podcasts are designed to include talk shows, tutorials, music, or other audio content. Users select the podcasts (audio feeds) they wish to subscribe.

2. Wikipedia is a good source for this type of recent digital phenomenon. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Podcasting.

Interesting note from the entry of 5/19/06: "The editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary declared "podcasting" the 2005 word of the year, defining the term as "a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player".

E-Coaching Tip 14: Podcasting — Taking a First Step with Audio

 

 

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Revised May 20 2013
Copyright Judith V. Boettcher, 1997-2013