Welcome to Joanne's Wiki about Podcasts.

What is a Podcast?

A Podcast is most similar to a radio program. A person accesses and listens to a radio program on their radio. In the case of a Podcast, a person accesses it from the Internet and listens to it on their computer or their MP3 player, such as an iPod.

Podcasts have evolved, and often contain a video component. In other words, in addition to the audio, there is an image on the computer monitor or the iPod screen, if it is the type of iPod that can receive video.

When video capacity is included with the audio feed, it is officially called a Vodcast. However, I’ve noticed that sometimes both versions, with or without video, are still called Podcasts.

What is a Podcast?

What is a Vodcast?

History of Podcasting

The term Podcasting, “has only been around since late 2004.” * Adam Curry is the main person associated with having started Podcasting, but in reality it’s been several individuals: Adam Curry, Dave Winer, Steve Gillmor, Andrew Grumet and Christopher Lyden. The following chart is an easy way to see how they connected with each other between the late 1990's through 2004.

September 30, 2004 – 526 ‘hits’ for podcast on Google.
Mid October, 2004 – 109,000 ‘hits’ on Google.
June 20, 2008 – 104,000,000 ‘hits’ on Google

Making a Podcast - Follow this link to another page for the "how-to" directions.

What’s unique about Podcasting?

Do you remember Napster? It was first released in 1999. It was a way for people to share music with each other, but you could not subscribe to anything through it, and there was no talking on that technology.

In contrast to something like Napster, Podcasts can be subscribed to. Why? Because they use RSS feeds. RSS documents are called ‘feeds’ and are used to publish things that are frequently changed and updated, such as blogs, newspapers, podcasts, wiki pages. Now that I think of it, I'm referring to all of the Web 2.0 platforms!

It’s the ability of Podcasts to incorporate an RSS feed that gives them unique value, and is a change from what came before. The RSS feed associated with the Podcast, enables listeners to subscribe to them, and have them automatically download to our computer or MP3 player. If it weren’t for the RSS feeds combined with the Podcasts, we’d have to go to each web site or URL we want information from and collect it on our own each time we want it.

Podcasts, in some ways, have become an enhancement of radio, web pages, and TV. The updates can be made quickly and users can have it all automatically come to their computers or MP3 players.

iPods were first launched into the market on October 23, 2001. They were to become yet another companion technology that have given Podcasts a way to be heard. Once we had the ability to store digital information on something so user friendly, (so cute!), and portable as the iPod, Podcasts became more popular.

Podcasting in the Classroom
For reasons described above, today’s learners, the Millennials, and Digital Natives both, are listening more frequently to Podcasts. The digital natives use the iPod effortlessly, but you see many older millennials jogging through the streets listening to their iPods also. Educators are finding many uses for using Podcasting and Podcasts in the classroom.

Apple has a fabulous Web Site for understanding and operating the iPod with iTunes, and with a PC or Mac computer. It’s filled with directions, educational ideas, and third party sources. I will describe a few things of interest on this Wiki, but for further information please go to, Getting Started: A Guide for using iPod and iTunes for teaching and learning,” at http://images.apple.com/education/products/ipod/iPod_Getting_Started_Guide.pdf

In education, iPods are being used for

1. S
econd language speakers – video component may be added, which is especially helpful to second language speakers
2. diverse learners with special needs
3. struggling readers
4. supporting teachers' own professional development

The successes of Podcasts and Podcasting are many. The Apple Website shares many ideas.
Here are some specific ideas that I liked a lot: #1 idea for Struggling readers (page 27 in the Getting Started Guide listed above/under the heading, Building Reading Fluency) Could a child who is struggling with reading imagine himself/herself as a fluent reader? Yes! They can do more than that. They can actually hear how they would sound if they could read fluently.
Here's what you should do. Buy the microphone* for the iPod. Ask the struggling reader to read a passage into the iPod via the microphone. After they’ve finished, edit out the long pauses, repeated words and false starts. Let them hear themselves as a smooth reader. When you edit, if you have a Mac rather than a PC, you can do the editing in GarageBand, because that software is already installed on the new Macs. Truthfully, I don't know how easy this is to do on a PC, but I imagine you could. Refer to my section above called Making a Podcast and look at the Audacity tutorials.

* This microphone came out in 2006 and costs $79.95. It can only be used with the video iPods. The microphone comes with a small built-in speaker and is plugged into the bottom of the iPod. It's my opinion that this would make it easier to use in the classroom as long as the school was committed to doing Podcasts. I think it would be worth it to create the most simple kind of set-up for the students and yourself. Having tried the built-in microphone on my computer for my first Podcast, and having gone through all the little steps to make it all happen, I'd go for this microphone. //http://www.xtrememac.com/press/pr/2006/2006_01_10.php//

#2 idea for Struggling Readers (*page 29 in the Getting Started Guide listed above/under the heading, Building Reading Fluency). “Some teachers find it helpful to have hesitant or struggling readers listen to the first chapter of a book on an iPod so they can get “hooked” on the book, and then have them read the rest of the book on their own.” *
iPod Project Ideas This list of projects is detailed in Apple’s Getting Started Guide. With any of these projects, video and pictures could be added to the audio componet.
  1. Immigration Stories
  2. Walking Tour of School
  3. iPod flowerclip_image001.gifMorning Announcements
  4. Oral Histories
  5. iPod Reporters
  6. Field Trip Tours
  7. Learning Math with Music
  8. Radio Show
  9. Kindergarten Animal Show

What I think is important about the technology of Podcasts is that it is really engaging, fun, personal, and since it’s digital and has the RSS feed (also known as Web 2.0), it can be combined with so many other new technologies.

As a child I used to love making ‘shows’ and presenting things in 'colorful' and interactive ways. Sound is such a great medium, and there are so many interesting auditory environments that can be created with sound alone. Using sound alone also focuses a student's attention, especially if they have headphones on. Of course, if students add the video component to their Podcasts, they can use even more creativity.

I can see what fun and learning a child in school would have making a Podcast.
I’ve seen the 9 and 10 year olds I teach play with PowerPoint. It’s really ridiculous how easily they use it, and how entertaining they think it is. I think it would be the same with Podcasting.

If there is any downside to Podcasts or Podcasting it's probably only the time that needs to be taken for professional Development and money that the school districts might not have. However, the idea could be considered that purchasing iPods might be less expensive than purchasing more computers. Not that one is an adequate substitute for the other, but given the lack of funds that a school district might be experiencing, Podcasting and iPod technology might be a relatively inexpensive way to add a new technology to the school, and increase student interest learning.

One way to approach Professional Development would be to gradually train key teachers the year before the school plans to officially use Podcasts and Podcasting in the cirriculum.

The technology staff might have to unblock some Web Sites if a class were going to be listening to a certain Podcasts on their computers. However, if there were a 'fleet' of iPods available in the school, programs could be downloaded to the iPods directly and ahead of time, resulting in a secure and safe listening experience for the students.

Podcasting would most likely be a culmination of a larger experience, as detailed on Tony Vincent's web site, so a large chunk of time would have to be devoted to the entire project. It's understandable if a classroom teacher wouldn't have time to see it through.

In general, I don't see too many negatives with using this technology in the schools.


I. The following is a list of Apple Web Sites I used for my learning and research:

Getting Started: A Guide for using iPod and iTunes for teaching and learning

~iPod and iTunes for teaching and learning (PDF)
Download this useful guide to get started.

~Success stories
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Learn more about iPod in the classroom.

~iPod Learning Lab
Learn about managing multiple iPods and more.

~Apple Professional Development Courses
Bring podcasting to your school with these hands-on workshops.

~Apple Learning Interchange

~Explore iPod lesson plans and more.
Apple tutorial about creating podcasts using GarageBand

II. Other Sites

~Audacity Tutorials. http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php?title=Tutorials

~Audacity Wiki Home Page. http://audacityteam.org/wiki/index.php?title=Audacity_Wiki_Home_Page

~Creating a simple voice and music Podcast with Audacity

~LAME MP3 encoder

~McElhearn, Kirk. Beginner’s Guide to Podcast Creation

~Podcasting News: New Media Update

~ Teacher Tube video about oral language demands in the early years

~Understanding the Podcasting Revolution

~Vincent, Tony. Learning in Hand