Sunday, February 17, 2008

Part 2 - Podcasting 101

The term may sound technical, but a podcast is a lot like an “on-demand” radio show (Learning 2.0 Challenge). It is an audio program or broadcast, which instead of being played over the airwaves, is played over the Internet. The listener can control when he would like to listen to it because it is a recorded file which can be played back at one’s convenience. A good way to think of podcasting is as a form of time-shifted digital radio (Online Learning Studio).

Podcasts can take many forms, from short commentaries (just a few minutes) to much longer in-person interviews or panel group discussions. The world of podcasts is expansive, and caters to a variety of interests! Podcasting is for anyone for any reason. It empowers you with a voice that can literally reach around the world (About, Inc.).

A podcast is somewhat related to a blog: the difference is that a podcast uses sound files whereas a blog uses words (Learning 2.0 Challenge). Thus, a podcast is like a blog with sound. Podcasts use the MP3 file format, which is a compressed format for audio files. There are a variety of ways to access podcasts which go beyond needing an iPod or MP3 player; podcasts can be accessed by your PC, laptop, or other portable device. You only need the right software (such as iTunes or MediaPlayer) and headphones or a speaker to listen to it.

When subscribing to a podcast, it is best to remember the similarities with blogs. Since blogs are subscribed to using an RSS feed (like Bloglines or Google Reader) podcasts are directed the same way.

Depending on how one wishes to utilize podcasts, there are few different concepts to understand. One may wish to create, publish or subscribe to a podcast. There are several steps required to get set up. After that, the world of podcasting will open up its doors…

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