A podcast is an episodic program- like a radio or television show - delivered to the user via the internet using an XML protocol called RSS. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication (RSS and podcasting, n.d.). It is a format for collecting selected content from the internet and pooling it in one convenient location which means that an audio or video podcast can be published only once on the internet but can then be accessed by different podcast software. It is the latest in on-demand technology. Users are able to choose which podcasts they would like to receive and can get the new content when it becomes available which is convenient and a great time saver (What is podcasting?, n.d.). The term podcasting is derived from the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcasting’. This is a bit misleading because you do not require an iPod to listen to or view podcasts. You can do it straight from your computer or download them to any mp3 or mp4 players (Podcasts in the classroom, n.d.).

Among the founders of podcasting are Adam Curry and Dave Winer. Back in 2001, “the two collaborated in using RSS technology and their media content to provide the first, albeit, prototype podcasts” (History of podcasting, n.d.). Adam Curry is well known for his work on the music video channel MTV. He helped pioneer podcasting, and is often called the 'Podfather' (History of podcasting, n.d.) because of his efforts. Dave Winer is an American software developer and entrepreneur. He is a pioneer in the area of RSS and the first to implement the feed "enclosure" feature, one of several necessary ingredients for podcasting at the time it first emerged. The enclosure feature is essential for podcasting because it allows for the syndicated feed to carry an audio file.

Podcasting can be seen as a progression from blogs to audio blogs and finally to podcasting. When people first began using the internet blogging became popular; people used the written word to express thoughts, opinions and information. But as internet speeds increased it allowed users to record their blogs and post them as mp3 files on the internet. The problem with this was that listeners had to go to each individual website to find the audio blogs they were interested in.
This is where Adam Curry comes into the picture. In 2001 he suggested to Dave Winer that the feed technology be updated so that it could tell the computer where to download the audio files. Then Adam began developing podcatcher software. This meant that newly available podcasts from a users subscription could be automatically updated within the software (History of podcasting, n.d.).

“By October 2004, detailed how-to podcast articles had begun to appear online. By July 2005, a Google search for "'how to' +podcast" returned 2,050,000 hits” (History of podcasting*, n.d.). From then on podcasts have only become more popular. There are millions of different individual podcasters putting podcasts on the internet and there is something to suit anyone, any gender and any age.

There are different types of podcasts. There are video and audio podcasts available for subscription on iTunes and different podcasting websites. To watch video podcasts on your portable device it must be mp4 compatible and to listen to audio podcasts you need an mp3 player or you can also watch them and listen to them straight from your computer.

Video podcasts are great because they offer a medium to express thoughts, feelings and information with the advantage of having visual capabilities as well as audio. Almost all of the podcasting directories have access to video podcasts. ‘Youtube’ is home to many video podcasts because it now has the subscribe feature and many people are creating shows with ongoing episodes which fulfils the requirements of a podcast. All podcasting directories have audio podcasts available.



ITunes is one of the best places to find podcasts (Podcasts, n.d.). There are many different categories so there is bound to be something that will suit everyone’s tastes. Many people upload their podcasts to iTunes including Orange Grove Primary School, this school podcasts to update people on what is happening at the school and to reflect on work they have done. There are various educational podcasts ranging from learning another language to grammar help but there are also podcasts from the history channel which would be great to use in the classroom.

You can find many different podcasting websites by searching in Google or your preferred search engine. Below are some great websites that provide thousands of podcasts.



One way I found to be the easiest and most convenient way of subscribing to podcasts was through iTunes which can be downloaded free from the Apple website to both a MAC or a PC. It has a great range of podcasts including a wide range of educational podcasts from K-12 and higher education as well (Podcasts, n.d.).

There are many websites on the internet devoted to providing users with podcasts. Many of them also have a feature that allows users to create an account where they can subscribe to podcasts. The website will also update the users account with new podcasts when they become available. So the websites do the same job as iTunes and Podcatcher software but one benefit that the others do not provide is the accessibility of the website. You can access your podcasts from your chosen website anywhere that you have internet connection.

Podcatcher software has evolved from the time is was first developed because now there are many different kinds of Podcatcher software that is often free to download. This software manages podcasts from a number of different sources including websites.
The website above allows you to compare the different Podcatcher software so that you can make the right choice regarding the software that is right for you.
Podcast Alley is a website that provides podcasts as well as many different types of Podcatcher software that you can download.

For now podcasting is not restricted by government regulation. No license is required to publish a podcast and podcasters do not need to conform to the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) broadcast decency regulations. This means that anything can be said or shown on a podcast; from shows suitable for young children to shows involving explicit language and content. Copyright law does apply to podcasting, though. So podcasters can copyright or license their work and they must consider copyright laws when using commercial music or videos in their podcasts (Podcasting History, n.d.).

The educational value of podcasting is vast as it:

¢ Offers new and exciting ways to teach and learn
¢ Can act as a communication tool between different schools
¢ Allows students to share learning experiences.
¢ Provides a worldwide audience giving students meaningful learning experiences (Podcasting in the classroom, n.d.)
¢ Provides additional information relating to assignments and the student can access this at their own leisure.
¢ Can improve students vocabulary as well as their public speaking ability.
¢ Improves students’ T & E skills.
¢ Can improve their knowledge on different subjects and improve valuable researching skills.
¢ (Podcasting in education, n.d.)

This quote was scribed from an interview on the Apple Inc. Website. The teacher being interviewed has used podcasting in her classroom successfully as a way for students to record their learning and share it with others. She asked her students how podcasting had benefited their own learning and this is one of the responses:

“Podcasting has helped me to improve in so many ways. I feel that I can work in a group so much better and I have learned how to be more natural when I am speaking not like I am reading from a script. I am also more enthusiastic when I read. When I first started podcasting voice was not something I used very much in my writing but podcasting has really brought out my voice. Podcasting has helped me in so many ways I think that everyone should experience it.” (Apple podcasting in education video series, n.d.)
So as you can see podcasting has helped students in a number of different ways and it is referred to as a positive element of the classroom and an innovation that has improved their learning.

Below is the link to the video series created by Apple Inc. It takes an in depth look into podcasting in education and includes perspectives from both the classroom and whole school level.
Below are instructions on how to make your own podcast using Audacity and Garageband. These are very basic instructions but there are also links to video tutorials from Youtube in the links section below which show the process in more detail.

NOTE: Before you try to podcast anything you will need to have some speakers and a microphone plugged into your computer.


1. If you do not have GarageBand you can download and install Audacity, a free program that can be used for podcasting, from: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

2. Once you have Audacity set up open the program. Start recording by clicking the Record icon (red circle).

3. When you have finished recording your podcast, stop the recording by clicking on the Stop icon (the yellow square).

4. To listen to your recording click on the Play icon (green triangle in the centre).

5. Save your finished recording in MP3 format.

6. Audacity cannot export MP3s (format needed for podcasting) on its own therefore you need to install the free LAME MP3 encoder from www.lame.sourceforge.net/


Here are the steps you need to take to create a podcast using GarageBand.

1. Open GarageBand and click on “New Podcast Episode.”

2. When the save box comes up choose and enter a name for your podcast. When that is done move on by clicking Create.

3. You are given a selection of 5 tracks (Podcast, Male Voice, Female Voice, Jingles and Radio Sounds). Click on either the Male or Female voice depending on whether you are a male or female. This makes very small adjustments to the tracks. The track will turn blue to show you have selected it.

4. To start recording click on the red Record button. This will immediately start the recording.
5. When the recording starts a blue box will appear that spikes and expands as you talk.

6. When you have finished, press spacebar to stop.

7. To hear your recording press rewind (left triangle with a line) then play (the centre triangle).

8. If you are happy with your recording, move the playhead (red line with triangle) to the end of the purple box you made and repeat steps 3-6. (if you have more to add)

9. If you’re not happy with one of your recordings, click once on the purple box and press delete. If you accidentally delete a recording you can bring it back by clicking undo.

10. Continue to record until your podcast is complete.

11. To add a jingle or radio sounds click on the eye icon to show the Effects menu. From there, click on Sound Effects then on a category you want. To hear a sound effect, double click on one. When you have chosen one, drag it into the track to which it corresponds i.e. a jingle will go in the jingle track.

12. When your Podcast is as you want it click on the Share drop-down menu and then select “Send Song to iTunes”.

Podcasting is the latest in on demand technology. It provides a convenient tool for users to access information such as shows and other broadcasts as well as contribute their own on the world wide web. It is also a great communication tool and is often very informative and entertaining. The subscription aspect is a great feature which allows constant updates to the user with new information from their favourite sources being delivered straight to their preferred software. It has so many applications in education – it can enhance children’s literacy and social skills and provides an exciting new medium for students to present information and receive information. It is for these reasons that podcasting would be a great addition to any classroom.

To get podcasts and Podcatcher software visit: http://www.podcastalley.com/
Orange Grove Primary Podcast website: http://www.podkids.com.au
Audacity Tutorial:
GarageBand Tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SoK_eAub20
To download Audacity go to:

To download the lame source encoder go to:

Apple podcasting in education video series. (n.d.) Retrieved, Septmber 10, 2008, from http://www.apple.com/education/resources/podcastingvideos/

History of podcasting. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 3, 2008, from http://www.podcastblaster.com/history-of-podcasting.html
History of podcasting*. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 10, 2008, from http://www.voices.com/podcasting/history-of-podcasting.html
Podcasts. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 11, 2008, from http://www.apple.com/itunes/whatson/podcasts/

Podcasts in the classroom. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 18, 2008, from http://www.det.wa.edu.au/education/cmis/eval/curriculum/ict/podcasts/
Podcasting in education. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 14, 2008, from http://www.apple.com/education/digitalauthoring/podcasting.html

Podcasting history. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 14, 2008, from http://computer.howstuffworks.com/podcasting1.htm

RSS and Podcasting. (n.d.) Retrieved, September 8, 2008, from http://www.abc.net.au/backyard/rss.htm
What is podcasting? (n.d.) Retrieved, September 10, 2008, from http://www.podcastblaster.com/what-is-podcasting.html