So who would have ever thought that a MTV VJ would be the main force behind an Internet based media? That's right Adam Curry was one of the people that helped bring Podcasting to the forefront with his creation iPodder.
What Is Podcasting?
Podcasting as a word is the combination of iPod and Broadcasting. Podcasting in its simplest form is a mp3 file that is distributed over the Internet. The goal of a Podcast is similar to that of a blog, share something that interests you with others who have similar interests. Podcasting uses RSS technology just as blogs do. The main difference is that a blog is simple text and images. Podcasts are audio files. Think of talk radio on the web. Yep now you too can talk politics just like Rush Limbaugh!
Creating a Podcast with Audacity
To create a podcast you need a few things. The first is a way to capture audio files. Since you will be using your computer later on if you want to follow the K.I.S.S. principle a decent microphone attached to your computer will work for capturing the files. Now the other thing that you need is a way to record what you are saying into the microphone. There are a variety of different voice recording programs out there the easiest to use which is free is called Audacity. This simple program allows you to do multiple track editing and save the recording in a variety of formats.
Note: You will also want to download the LAME MP3 encoder when you download Audacity, this will allow you to create the MP3 files that your podcast will end up being.
So once you have downloaded and installed these two little programs, connected your microphone, and have thought of something to say you are well on your way to creating a podcast.
Recording and Editing
The first thing that you will want to do is connect your microphone and give it at test. To connect the microphone you will want to look for a connection that looks similar to this on your computer
Once you have the mic connected the next thing you want to do is open up Audacity. To do this go to the Start Menu and choose Audacity from the programs menu. Once Audacity has started you will see a screen that looks like this .
From here you can simply start to record. It is as easy as hitting the record button and speaking into your mic. As you speak you will see the play head moving across the screen and the sounds of your recording being populated in the screen. So your screen will begin to look like this .
Once you have created your sound file you can edit the file if you need to. There is one main tools in Audacity and it is very easy to use. The selection tool allows you to manipulate your sound file and get rid of the giggles and other mistakes with out much effort. By clicking and dragging the cursor you can highlight the area that you want to delete.
Now that you have the area selected simply go to the edit menu, and choose delete
This will take the selected area out of your sound project. There are other options in the edit menu that you may want to use. Cut and copy work as they do in Microsoft Word, allowing you to move or add to you project. If you choose edit>trim you will clear everything but the sound you have selected. This can be handy if you have dead air before or after your main composition.
Once you have your recording set up as you would like it you are ready to export your project into a format that people can listen to.
Audacity saves each project into its own file format, but it allows you to export the file as a standard mp3 file if you download the LAME MP3 encoder when you initially download Audacity.
To convert a file to an mp3 simply go to file>Export as mp3
At this point you will be asked what you want to call the file and where you want to save it. Once you have done this if you haven't installed the Lame Encoder you will see the following error message.
So now it is time to unzip the LAME Encoder file and set up Audacity to encode mp3s.
Lame Encoder Set Up
First you will want to download the LAME Encoder for you computer if you haven't already. Next you will want to unzip the file if you are using a Windows operating system. If you are using a Macinosh operating system you will want to unzip the file using StuffIt.
Once you have unzipped the folder on a PC you will want to move the to a place where you won't accidentally delete it. For example I put my Lame files in C:\Program Files\Audacity\Plug-Ins which is the location of the rest of the files for the Audacity program. Now when you see the warning about locating the lame_enc.dll you will simply need to navigate to the location of the file. Which in my example is C:\Program Files\Audacity\Plug-Ins\lame-3.96.1.
On a Macintosh you will unzip the folder then move the LameLib file
into the Audacity plug-ins folder. To access this folder you will want to open your Applications folder and navigate to the Audacity folder. In the Audacity folder there is a folder labeled plug-ins, simply move the LameLib file into this folder and you will be ready to convert your Audcaity projects into mp3s.
Now you should be able to save your file as an mp3. The next window that you will see is a window that has a place where you can enter meta date about your mp3 in the form of an ID3 tag.
Simply fill in the information about your podcast. This information will end up in other peoples iTunes, or other media player. So being consistent in using these tags is helpful.
Now you should have an mp3 file of your podcast. Go ahead and open it in your media player and listen to it once more before uploading it to the web.
Creating a Podcast Online
Podcasts can be created online by creating an Odeo account. Once logged in you will see an option to Record Audio on the left side of the window. Connect your microphone and do a test by clicking the record button. Press Stop when you are done. To hear back the test click Play. You can adjust the volume of the microphone using the slide on the right of the page. If you need to test again press clear audio and then record your test. When your microphone is at the correct level and you are ready to being your podcast clear the audio from your test, press record, and begin. Press Stop when you are done. You can now listen to your podcast, add more to it (by clicking "Record" and choosing "Continue"), or save it by clicking "Save Recording". When you do click to save it, it will automatically be saved to your Odeo account. You can download your podcast as an mp3 by right clicking on "download mp3" and choosing "Save link as...". You can also put an audio player with your podcast in your own website using the html code at the bottom of the window. Clicking on "My Podcasts" on the right will always show a list of all your podcasts.
Uploading your Files
Podcasts that you create on your local computer aren't very useful until they are uploaded to a web server and connected to a web page via an RSS feed. This may sound like a lot of work, but really it is only as slow or fast as the Internet connection that you are using. To start with you will want to upload the files that you have. Depending on your districts policies you may have to sign a form and attend an overview of how to do this. There are three basic ways that you can upload files to a web server. One is using FTP which takes files and transfers them up to a specific folder on a web server. The second uses the creation program to upload the files. Programs such as FrontPage and Dreamweaver have built into them ways of moving files up to a web server. The last way that you might be moving files to a web server would be using a networked folder, where you can simply drag and drop your newest files.
If you are wondering how to do any of these things you should follow the link that makes sense for you;
Creating Your RSS feeds
One of the key pieces to Podcasting is the ability of people being able to subscribe to your feed. The way this is done is by using RSS. There are a lot of different ways of making this work for your Podcast. The easiest way to do it is to create a Blog using either Blogger or another service and linking your podcast to it. This way every time you link a new Podcast to your Blog the RSS feed will automatically be updated
If you are interested in trying to create RSS feeds yourself you can either learn about writing them by going to RSS to learn how to create your own feed or you may want to download List Garden which is a RSS Creator that works in a web browser. Once you have downloaded the List Garden software you need to start the software application, and then you can start start creating your RSS feed by entering the following URL in your web browser http://127.0.0.1:6555/. This will open
Hosting your Media
Opsound http://opsound.org/ Place to find fee music.
Our Media http://ourmedia.org/ Free storage place for media
Challenger Spacecast A podcast from Monroe #1 BOCES' very own Challenger Learning Center. Listen to Commander's Raab, Robson and Orcutt talk about Mars, Earth and everything in between. Sample Episode
Room 208 This is the podcasting page from a group of 3rd and 4th graders from Maine.
Mr. Mayo This is the podcasting page from a group of Middle school students in Virgina.
The Education Podcast Network is a great place to start looking for podcasts related to your specific interests and needs.
This webpage has been set up by Greg Hall, an Advisory Sytem Engineer for Apple.
On this page you will find numerous resources for Podcasting and other interesting tech tidbits.
Royalty Free Music
- Award winning library of royalty free music.
If you really want to learn all the ins and outs of podcasting then take a look at Podcasting Hacks.
- Learning in Hand: Podcasting
- Podcasting Booklet for Teachers & Students (PDF)
- Podcasting in Education Resources.
- Apple Tips for Podcast Fans
Software that is available for creating a Podcasting blog on the server side.
Software for teachers creating the media file.
Audacity- This is an Open Source sound recorder, this might not be right for all teachers.