How I Created My Podcasts

from Educators' eZine

I recently started a new podcast, my third, called Teach with Video to support my recent publication of the same name. My first podcast is called "CDS News," and is the flagship of my podcast journalism class. It is a completely student written, filmed, and edited podcast produced by a group of middle school kids started in 2005 and still going.

Although originally an audio only podcast, "CDS News" evolved into video and so I upgraded my basic journalism class, changing both the curriculum and teaching methodology to support the transition. All three of my podcasts were created using Garage Band, a free program when you buy an Apple computer (If you don't have an Apple computer I recommend using Audacity. It is also free and very easy to use.). After recording voice, adding music and sound effects, I export the audio file to iTunes and add the show title and logo to the file. Then using iTunes I convert the file to mp3 format.

Using Fetch, a simple ftp program, I put the mp3 file online so listeners can access it. I purchased web hosting for my web sites with siteground.com, so I upload the video podcast there. If you do not have a server to host your podcast I recommend trying out one of many free podcast hosting services such as Libsyn or PodOmatic, or adding your podcast to your blog. One advantage of free podcast hosting services is that you upload using a web browser, then fill out a web form and the podcast feed is written automatically, saving you a lot of headache.

"CDS News" can be found at the iTunes Store, and I use a basic cut and paste for the RSS feed for every show, changing only the file name, description and show title. If you have never dabbled in writing an RSS feed, don't. It is extremely frustrating because one incorrect letter can make your feed not work.

I recommend you download Podcast Maker. Using this source, I input the information about the podcast, select the mp3 file and publish the feed to my web site. It is quick and easy. Podcast Maker has a free trial for thirty days and then costs $30. It is worth every penny for its ease of use. I can't believe I didn't get it before now. I will never write another RSS feed again.

Over that last two months I spent a lot of time investigating ways to get podcast statistics (specifically, number of subscribers and downloads). With "CDS News" I really only have a vague idea of how many subscribers we have and this is frustrating to me and to my students who work on the show. The service I settled on for my Teach with Video podcast is Feedburner. Now that Podcast Maker created my podcast feed (in XML) I set up my Feedburner account for the podcast. It is time-consuming but not difficult. Then I submitted my podcast to the iTunes Store. Everything worked great with the exception of my logo not appearing in the iTunes Store. I later realized I had a typo in the URL I entered for my logo, and once I fixed the URL my logo showed up in the iTunes store. When someone subscribes to my podcast they don't have any idea that I am using Feedburner. I can check my number of subscribers whenever I want and find out which episodes were downloaded on any given day. Someone recently suggested I try podPress. I set up a WordPress blog for the CDS News show and then added podPress, which took me a couple of hours to do. It looks great so far. I just posted the first show of the school year, so I don't have any statistics yet. I'll get back to you on how I like it.

The process of setting all of this up (Feedburner and podPress) was very frustrating for me because I did not know if I was doing it correctly and there was very little support available. With Feedburner & the iTunes Store the changes I make do not show up immediately, causing me to doubt if the changes I made were accepted. Even my Twitter & Plurk networks weren't a lot of help. Finally I found a great support resource at learninginhand.com. If you are just getting started or thinking of starting a podcast, I suggest you check it out. Also, I'm here for you. I'll help.

Links

CDS News

Teach With Video

GarageBand

Audacity

iTunes

Fetch

SiteGround

Libsyn

PodOmatic

Podcast Maker

Feedburner

Wordpress

podPress

Twitter

Plurk

A great Podcasting link for beginners

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