Educational Services Center
1921 A Street La Porte, Indiana 46350
Phone: 219-362-7056 Fax: 219-324-9347

LPCSC Podcast Directory

What is a Podcast?

Podcasting is a term that is derived from Apple's iPod, however has grown into a more universal term to describe audio or video "episodes" available on the Internet in the form of RSS feeds. These episodes can either be viewed on a computer with Internet access or can be downloaded to a media player such as an iPod, Zune or other portable media players. Depending on the format in which the content is delivered (MP3, WMV, AVI, etc.) the media can often be downloaded to a basic MP3 player using the proper software.

Simply put, a Podcast is similar to a newscast that you would hear on the radio or watch on television on a regular basis. A Podcast "episode" is the actual media content that is available for download for a particular Podcast.

Example:
  • You probably own a television. The television is like the Internet.
  • Your television has many different channels. Each channel is like a website on the Internet
  • Many local channels have a few news broadcasts every day. These broadcasts are like Podcasts on a website
  • Each news broadcast has new content every day. This new content is like a Podcast episode.

Using this example, let's imagine that channel 7 on your television offers three news broadcasts every day:

  1. "The Morning News with Jack and Diane"
  2. "The Mid-day News with Kristine and Michael"
  3. "The Evening News with Drew and Maureen"

Each of these news broadcasts on this particular channel can be compared to a Podcast on a website. Now let's break it down further:

  1. "The Morning News with Jack and Diane" airs 5 days a week
    1. Monday - This is one episode
    2. Tuesday - This is another episode
    3. Wednesday - And another episode...etc.
  2. "The Mid-day News with Kristine and Michael" also airs 5 days a week
    1. Monday - This is one episode
    2. Tuesday - This is another episode
    3. Wednesday - And another episode...etc.
  3. "The Evening News with Drew and Maureen" airs 7 days a week
    1. Sunday - This is one episode
    2. Monday - This is another episode
    3. Tuesday - This is another episode
    4. Wednesday - And another episode...etc.

Each broadcast is different because it is done by different people at different times and may be structured completely different with different types of news. The morning news may have guest appearances and some humor for example while the others are more serious news shows. Podcasts are very much the same thing. Each Podcast may be done by different people and may contain different types of information. They also may contain multiple episodes that can be viewed, heard or downloaded.

How are Podcasts Used in Education?

In education, podcasts can be used in a variety of ways.

  • A high school teacher may create a podcast that contains daily or weekly lectures
  • Students may create episodes that the teacher can use for his/her Podcast. Perhaps as a speech class project, they can script an entire news cast complete with background music and sound effects
  • A school could have a Podcast for morning announcements
  • Audio or video of guest speakers at a school may be published (with permission of course) for those that could not attend

The ideas are only limited to the imagination. Podcasts can bring out the creativity in both teachers and students and create opportunities for group activities.

I Made a Podcast, Now What?

Once a Podcast is created, episodes for that Podcast need to be created and uploaded. You can also "publish" a Podcast to certain Podcast Directories on the Internet, such as iTunes, AOL, Google, Yahoo, etc. There are many places to publish them, and it usually requires a visit to their website and submitting your Podcast. They normally review the Podcast and determine whether the content is acceptable to publish.

Podcasts do not have to be published. Publishing them just makes them easy to find on the Internet by the general public. In most cases, just creating your Podcast and uploading the episodes is good enough for educational purposes. As long as the viewers know how to find them on our website, they can view, listen, download or subscribe to them.

How Does a Person Subscribe to a Podcast?

Subscribing to a Podcast is an option for anyone who would like to get up-to-date episodes delivered to them for any specific Podcasts. It often requires signing up on a website that allows you to add subscription based content. Google, Yahoo and AOL all offer this service, as do many websites that specifically offer RSS or Podcast subscriptions. As of this writing, Newsgator, Pageflakes, ODEO, PodNova and Netvibes are just a few to choose from.

For the La Porte Community Schools Podcast directory, we offer links to subscribe to:

  • iTunes
  • Zune
  • Google
  • Yahoo
  • AOL
  • RSS

Links are provided on the Podcast page to subscribe to that Podcast. There are often unique icons (or chicklets) used to represent each type of subscription. Here are some commonly used chicklets:

iTunesGoogleMSNYahooAOLNewsgator

Clicking the link will either take you to that website and add the content to your subscriptions (if you are signed up) or open the appropriate software on your computer to add the Podcast (iTunes and Zune software for example.)

To subscribe to a Podcast using iTunes, for example, you first need iTunes to be installed on your computer. Once it is installed, any time you click a link to subscribe to an itunes podcast, it is added to your list of subscriptions and can be updated and/or synced with an iPod device at any time. The Podcast name is displayed, and any episodes from that Podcast are downloaded and listed under the Podcast.

Every subscription option may be different, so check with your subscription service of choice to find out how they allow you to add and subscribe to this type of content.

What is an RSS Feed?

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, depending on where you look. Basically, it's just a method of getting frequently updated news content delivered to a News Aggregator or News Reader, which lists the name of the RSS feed with a list of news items contained in that feed.

With content offered this way on the Internet, it can be embedded on other websites and "published" to directories to make it widely available to people all over the world. Many news websites used syndicated news feeds on their site to keep the content fresh with a minimal amount of work. Other sites offer their own RSS feeds as a way to promote their website.

A website that offeres RSS fees will have the option to subscibe to the feed, or a link to copy and paste into your favorite news reader. The links are often accompanied by or represented by a universal RSS icon such as RSS Icon or RSS Icon.

For more information, search the Internet for RSS

Links