Learn: Podcasting

This post is about something I learned recently.  It reminded me that as a teacher, I must remind myself and my students that learning is an on-going, never-ending process. And that to learn to learn is a gift.

I learned what it takes to get a podcast up and going.  Basically it was this:

  1. Audio equipment (mic, if needed) and editing software.
  2. Publicly accessible storage space for the audio/video files.
  3. Valid XML feed with the right info.
  4. Create a site for the podcast.
  5. Submission process for iTunes.
  6. Submission process for directories.

Sounds real simple, but the bugger is in the details.  I did this almost completely free.  The only part I couldn’t do for free was the storage for the audio files and I already had a nice input device.  The files are large and I tried using several free online services, but there were always problems like file size limits on uploads, and the url has to be publicly accessible.   So here is the combination of free services I used:

  1. Audacity (free audio editing software)
  2. Feedburner (this takes the XML atom feed from the blogger blog and makes it into RSS2, ready for iTunes basically)
  3. Blogger (the base of the podcast and source of XML)
  4. Filezilla (takes the edited audio files and places them on the server where they will be stored for later retrieval by podcatchers)

Here is how I understand the process to work.

You create a blog post with a link in it to the current podcast, plus any text you want to appear in the description field in the podcatcher.   The xml from that blog is then manipulated into a form that iTunes (and others) can use by Feedburner.  Then you ping iTunes to alert them that there is new info in the feed and iTunes fetches the new info and displays it.  Ta da!  You’re a podcaster.

But then I realized that my descriptions in iTunes are coming from the text in the posts – and they are showing as raw html in iTunes.  So I went back and fixed that.  And then I noticed that my podcast image isn’t up to par, so I had to tweak that and reenter the image location  into feedburner so iTunes can find the new image.

**I also found that because my audio is mostly voice, I can reduce my file size substantially by using a low bitrate, which in Audacity is found in edit>>preferences>>File Formats.

Now at this point, I am only concerned with the quality of the audio.  And that is an entirely other thing for a later date.


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