Forum Friday – Podcasting as easy as a Phone Call
Each Friday I like to pull a particularly popular or interesting post from the forum to share with others here on the blog. I know this particular week has been a slow one for me personally (Spring Break is going on), and the forum has died down a bit, but there’s a recent post about podcasting with a discussion that includes several valuable resources. There are hundreds of podcasting educators and students out there, and hundreds more that would love to do it, if they only had the technical know-how. One of the reasons I don’t podcast is due to the many steps it usually takes me to create a relatively polished broadcast. Thankfully, with a simple request and a lot of great help, we’ve discovered that there are plenty of resources out there for podcasting, including a way to make a podcast as simple as making a phone call.
AndyAK started the conversation off with a question about getting some of his teachers creating podcasts:
I’ve got a couple of teachers that are interest[ed] in having students do some readings, and then make them available as pod casts. I get the idea, but……..ok….I’ve never actually done it.
I’m thinking for students listening at school it would be easy enough to drop the audio files into iTunes and share them out. Our student machines all have iTunes.
If we want to also make stuff available to the world at large, it would mean putting them on a remote server, and I’m wondering if anyone has messed with this before. The district provides us with space on a server, but no administrative controls. Can we do it?
If anyone has specific advice, I would appreciate it, or if you have a URL to what you thought was a pretty good guide to a technically gifted idiot on how to do this.
Tom Wooward (aka BionicTeacher) chimed in with a rather technical solution:
think you’ve got a couple of options.
If you’ve got macs the easiest route is iWeb’s podcasting template.
If you just want to host it on your server with no blog etc. Apple has an example xml feed that isn’t too hard to update with a simple text editor. I have a filemaker db set up somewhere for generating the standard itunes feed if you’d like it.
You’ll just add to this and switch it out on the server each time you add a podcast. That won’t scale really well if you’ve got a bunch of them going at once but it’s fairly pleasant for small numbers.
You can also go the blog route and you’ve got a wide range of options depending on the blog etc.
For free hosts you might want to use odeo or something similar.
Let me know if this gets at what you want,
Using Odeo, as Tom suggests, makes a lot of sense, but as for creating and maintaining your own xml feed, that’s not something we’re all gifted enough to be able to do. Steve (aka falconphysics) then replied with a much less technical way to create a podcast:
You may also want to check out Gcast.
Gcast is a free podcast hosting site. They will host your file, create your feed and put it in iTunes for you. If you want, you can even remove your computer and simply podcast from a phone.
At which point I had to put my two cents in with a great collection of resources that I had learned about at the MACUL conference. Gary Stager’s Podcasting Resources has a host of links and resources for not only creating a podcast, but also finding a place to upload it to the Internet, create a feed for it, and a whole lot of other technical stuff. However, after reading falconphysic’s post, I released just how simple Gcast is, and Tom was able to use it to help a teacher that came to him the day of the posting. How’s that for turn-around time on a help-desk request?
Gcast isn’t the newest, and many have already written about it, but with it’s free hosting, free copyright free music for your podcast, and the ability to record by simply making a phone call makes it a powerfully easy tool for podcasting. The site will even take your recording, and automatically post it to the Internet wherever you want it to go (using a helpful little widget with a play/pause button and a link to download the podcast). Imagine being able to use that telephone in your classroom with students, instead of just making sure they aren’t calling home sick behind your back before the big test 🙂