Introduction to Podcasting & Vblogging in Education

Session Outcomes

This workshop introduces participants to podcasting & vodcasting and looks at the tools and techniques used in their production and delivery within an educational context.

At the end of the session participants will be able to:
  • Understand the principles behind podcasts & vblogs
  • To subscribe to them using an aggregator ie iTunes, Juice
  • Find podcasts of interest on the internet
  • Understand how podcasts & vodcasts are produced
  • Record audio using Audacity/Audition or an mp3 recorder/Apple ipod
  • Edit the audio using Audacity/Audition and export to mp3
  • Post a podcast to a wordpress blog using the podpress plugin
  • Share ideas for using podcasts and audio material in education

What is Podcasting & Vblogging

external image 291390732_367cc81d4c_m.jpg
image by mobology

Podcasting is a method of delivering regularly updated audio content (typically in the mp3 format). Vblogging uses the identical underlying techniques however delivers video instead of audio to the subscriber.

Emerging in 2000 as a concept and gaining wide acceptance by 2004, podcasting grew out of the successful subscription & distribution model pioneered by the blogging movement based upon RSS. In this sense a podcasting began as a form of audio blogging.

The term "pod-cast" is a mashup between "Ipod", Apple computers range of portable players and "broadcasting". While an ipod is niether necessary for either producing or subscribing to podcasts/vblogs the term has sort of stuck. To avoid any confusion and litigous threats from dominant industry players some have tried to use the term netcast or webcast but it has not gained much traction.

Video blogging uses the same RSS based distribution model to deliver video content. Hence the term vodcast, a mashup of video and podcasting. Vodcast as an expression pre-dates vblog and although wikipedia uses it as the root term, on the web vblog has gained more currency in terms of usage.

Like blogs podcasts and vblogs are episodic and are typically updated frequently.

Subscription and distribution using RSS

rss powers the web 2.0 ecology
rss powers the web 2.0 ecology

image by inju

RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary. RSS was originally developed as a method for distributing and syndicating content from blogs, online journals, websites and news sources. Around 2004 enclosures were added to RSS which highlight links to mp3 files so they can be filtered out and harvested by aggregators.

Simply placing a link to an mp3 file on a website does not constitute a podcast, it’s all about the subscription, distribution & syndication of audio/video files using RSS.

RSS is the connecting fabric of web2.0 services, providing the conduit for information flows between distributed networks.

More about RSS - All About RSS || Fagan Finder or the wikipedia entry for RSS

RSS = Really Simple Syndication = Rich Site Summary = RDF Site Summary = who cares? - All about RSS

What is an RSS Aggregator or Feed Reader?


image by jrhode

A news feed reader or rss aggregator is a tool for subscribing to and aggregating content from multiple sources and displaying them in one place. They are the primary tool for subscribing to blogs and typically comprise a standalone desktop application, widget or web based service.

More info: News aggregator - Wikipedia

Types of News Readers (RSS aggregators)

Types of RSS Feeds

Podcast & Vblog Aggregators

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image by sridgway

The tweaking of the RSS standard in 2004 so that mp3 files would be highlighted saw the emergence of dedicated podcasting aggregators or podcatching software as they became known.

Podcatching software or aggregators allow subscription to podcasts/vblogs using RSS. Aggregator software runs in background and automatically retrieves the new audio files when they become available and saves them to your hard drive or MP3 player.

Some examples are:-

Basically listeners subscribe to a podcast or a vblog rss feed using an “aggregator” which retrieves the latest audio/video files and automatically downloads them to the listener's computer or directly to an portable device.

How do I Subscribe to a Podcast?

Leo laprte podcasting
Leo laprte podcasting

image by leoville

Manual Subscription

Find the podcast/vblog feed on the blog, often it will have 2 feed url's listed, one for the all the posts, including regular blog posts and another one dedicated to podcasting/vblogging.

e.g. TalkingVTE


Copy and paste the podcast feed URL into “podcatching” software

Scan the feed for available and new podcasts

Select where you want the file/s to be saved (computer or MP3 player)

One click subscription model

There is also one click subscription methods for specific aggregators such as Juice or iTunes

Most of the popular podcast aggregators, such as itunes have streamlined the process so that one only needs to click the icon denoting thier aggregator and they will be automatically be subscribed to the podcast.


Types of Podcasts

  • Home-grown radio shows - news & current affairs, talk shows, music, passions
  • Distribution of creative works - bands, musicians, comedians, novels etc.
  • Storytelling, radio plays & audio books
  • speeches, debates or conference sessions
  • “Sound-seeing” or “sound-scene” tours
  • University lectures
  • Teacher or student podcasts

Examples of podcasts and vodcasts


Talking VTE Podcast - A podcast with interviews and recordings made at conferences, seminars and workshops throughout the Australian Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) sector.

myLearning - TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute This is an example of a wordpress blog using the podpress plugin to provide podcast/vblog functionality.

podding downunder - Michael Coghlan's podcast, TAFE SA

EdTechTalk - Podcast on Educational Technology

Let's Talk - Rosa Ochoa, TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute, St George college, ESOL podcast

TWiT - This week in Technology

List of education podcasts


SkillsOne Vodcast - an initiative of The Institute for Trade Skills Excellence and was designed to promote trades and skills in an interactive environment in order to address Australia’s trade skills shortage.
You can also subscribe using iTunes

Ask the Techies - Ohio University’s weekly video podcast (vodcast)

Rocketboom - videoblog by Amanada Congdon

WATCHME@XOLO.TV - videoblog

CommandN - Tech videoblog

Ask A Ninja - A popular vblog vblog by Leigh Blackall

Podcasting Directories - how to find podcasts/vblogs

You can find podcasts that interest you at one of these directories:

Advantages of Podcasting

  • Podcasting allows you to listen to audio content at a time and place of your choosing (commuting, jogging, gym, cleaning, beach) hence the phrase "time shifted audio"
  • Many devices play mp3 format, dedicated players, pc’s, mobile phones, PDA’s etc.
  • Anyone can create a podcast with minimal equipment and at low cost

Educational uses of Podcasting and Vblogging

See an Extended list of Educational Uses of Podcasting.

Why use Podcasts & Vblogs in Education?

  • By capitalising on the popularity of MP3 players such as iPods and up-and-coming MP3 phones, podcasting can provide an easy and accessible entry into e-learning and mLearning.
  • Support for students with low literacy skills, reading or other learning difficulties
  • Caters for students with auditory and kinaesthetic learning styles
  • Can provide extra material for motivated learners and be used to facilitate self-paced learning
  • Material for vision impaired learners
  • Can be used in distance education
  • Empowers students by allowing them to distribute their musical creations or poetry to the world and create their own radio programs

Creating a Podcast

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image by mr brown

  • Record the audio, pc & headset, mp3 recorder etc.
  • Edit if necessary with software ie. Audacity, Adobe Audition Soundbooth etc.
  • Convert to suitable mp3 format, name file and add Mp3Tags
  • Upload to a server
  • Post an entry to podcast
  • Test feed
  • Promote

Selected Links

TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute podcast/vodcast server

Stephan Ridgway's tagged podcasting resources

Stephan Ridgway's tagged resources on podsafe audio

Podcast Lane - Podcast using Wordpress to support Public Schools in the Sydney Region of NSW DET. Produced by the Schools IT Services Unit,

Mobile technology in TAFE - Podcasting Basics - Great collection of resources put together by Sue Waters, the author of the Mobile Technology in TAFE podcast

Exploiting the educational potential of podcasting - An article exploring the potential of podcasting activities and scenarios for pupils and young people in schools.

Academic MP3s >> Is It iTime Yet? - Mikael Blaisdell, Campus Technology, May 2006

Podcasting In Education - Sean Fitzgerald

iPods and Podcasting in Education - wwwtools for teachers

Web based podcasting services Podomatic, or Odeo

Lectopia - (also known as the iLecture System) a lecture capture and podcasting solution developed by the University of Western Australia

LibSyn - Fully integrated podcasting services offering hosting of files, large bandwith, blog engine, an RSS feed, and an interface to distribute your podcast.

The latest 10 resources tagged in with "podcasting"


    Inspiration for this presentation was drawn from resources by Sean Fitzgerald