So what makes a podcast
different from an ordinary audio or video file placed on
the Internet? Automaticity.
Wikipedia, "a podcast is a series of digital media files (either
audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web
Okay, so what does that mean?
Podcasts are Internet broadcasts
to which listeners can subscribe, free of charge. I like to compare
podcasts to magazines. If you are a subscriber to Time
magazine, you don't have to call the publisher every so often to find out if
a new edition has been released. As a subscriber, every time a new
edition is published, it will automatically be delivered to your mailbox.
Podcasts work the same way. Once a listener subscribes to a podcast,
every time a new episode is published, it will automatically be downloaded
to the subscriber's computer.
element of a podcast, what makes it "subscribable," is an RSS feed
(RSS stands for Really Simple
Syndication). If you have a website or podcasting host that
creates an RSS feed for you, you don't have to worry about this technical
aspect of podcasting. For the rest of us, the process of establishing an RSS feed can
be a bit confusing. Because of this, I thought I'd put
together a list of the steps I took to create the feed for my classroom
podcast. These steps do not make up the only way to
create an RSS feed for your podcast. There may be easier ways out
there. These are simply the steps I took to get my classroom's podcast
up and running. Hopefully, they will be helpful to you. If you have
any questions, please let me know by clicking
|1. Record your
Before getting to the
"podcast" part of the process, you first need to record a digital
broadcast (a digital audio file on your computer). This can be
done in many different ways, using either a Mac or a PC. For a
detailed explanation of the process my students and I use when we
record our ColeyCasts, click here.
|2. Publish your
broadcast to the Internet.
you have created your broadcast, the next step is to publish it to
your website or other location on the Internet. If you don't
already have a classroom website, you can easily and cheaply create one using
If you need a place to host your podcast, here's a list of
podcast hosting services compiled by educational podcasting
|3. Create a blog.
In doing some research, I found that I could
create an RSS feed by first creating a
A blog, short for weblog, is sort of like an online journal where
writers can express their ideas for people to read. Like
podcasts, blogs can be subscribed to, so that each time a blogger
(one who writes a blog) updates his or her blog, the content is
automatically downloaded to subscribers' computers.
Okay, I know what you're thinking -- "All
this RSS and blog stuff is confusing, and I don't really care why it works. I just
want to know how to do it." And you know what? I
totally agree. I thought the same thing when I first started
(and to be honest, it's still a little confusing to me). So
let's get on to the "how" part of it.
You can create your own blog using
It's free and very easy to set up. To create your blog,
perform the following steps:
- Go to the
- Once on the
main page, create an account by clicking the Create a Blog button. Follow the onscreen instructions to create
an account name, password, blog name, etc.
- Once your blog has been created, you will be taken to a "posting" page (the
Posting tab at the top of the page will be selected).
- Before you begin posting, click on the
Settings tab at
the top of the page.
- Then click the Formatting link
right underneath the tab.
- Scroll down, and in the Show Link
Field box, select Yes.
- Now scroll down to the bottom of the
page and click Save Settings.
- Click the Posting tab at the top
of the page to return to the posting screen. You should now see a
"Link" text box underneath the "Title" text box.
- Now it's time to add content to your
blog post. You don't need to fill the blog with much.
Remember, the only reason you're creating the blog is because it
gets you halfway to your RSS feed. Enter the title of your podcast episode in
the "Title" text box (e.g. "ColeyCast #5"), the URL (Web address) of the broadcast
in the "Link" text box, and a short description of the broadcast in
the main posting field. To obtain
your broadcast's URL, open a new browser window or tab, navigate to
your broadcast, copy the URL from the address box of your
browser, and then copy it into the "Link" text box.
- It's also a good idea to include a link
to your broadcast's URL in the body of the blog post. This
may seem redundant, but this will help ensure that your RSS feed
will detect the blog post's media file. To insert a link,
click the hyperlink button and paste the broadcast's URL in the
window that appears.
- Finally, click the Publish Post
button. That's it!
Your blog post has been published!
- Now click the View Post link.
In your blog, the title of your post should be a link to your
broadcast, and under the title will be your description of the
episode (and the actual link to your broadcast).
- Now click the Home link at the
bottom of your post window.
- This will display all the posts of your
blog (although right now you'll probably only have one). In the address box of your browser, you
will see the URL of your blog. It will be something like
http://blogname.blogspot.com/, where "blogname" is the
name you chose for your blog. Select the URL and
copy it. You will need this for Step 4.
- NOTE: You will need to create one
blog post for each broadcast you create. For example, if you have five
broadcasts on your website, you'll need to create five blog
posts, each with a link to a different broadcast. Each
time you create a new broadcast, simply add a new post (with a
link to the broadcast) to your blog.
Remember, your blog is more of a
"behind-the-scenes" type of thing. What it looks like isn't
really that important, because unless you publicize it, visitors
typically won't visit your blog. You're just using the blog to
create an RSS feed for your podcast.
|4. Burn your RSS
By creating your blog, you
have almost reached the RSS finish line. We will now take
your newly created blog address and use
FeedBurner to convert it into an RSS feed.
- Go to Google's
- Sign in to your Google account.
If you don't have one, you can freely and easily create one by
clicking the Create an Account button.
- Now, paste the URL of
your Blogger blog (the one you previously copied) into the
box like the one shown below. Before clicking Next, make sure you check the
"I am a podcaster!" box.
- On the next page that appears, you will
see a message saying that more
than one feed has been found at the address you entered. Select
the My Podcast - RSS option and click Next.
- Follow the onscreen instructions to
complete the process of creating your RSS feed. I
recommend you take a little time and look over these pages, as
they contain information such as how you want your feed to be
displayed in iTunes (should you decide to submit your podcast to
iTunes). Remember, you can always access your feed's
settings at a later time if you wish to make changes.
- Congratulations! Your RSS feed
has been created! The hard part is over. Just a
couple more things and you're done.
- Find your RSS feed URL, which should be listed near
the top of the page. It will be something like http://feeds.feedburner.com/feedname, where "feedname" is
the name you chose to call your feed. Click on this URL to
see what your feed looks like.
- In the address box of this new window,
you will see the URL of your feed. Copy it. You will
need it for Steps 5 and 6.
|5. Put a
link to your RSS feed on your website.
website, you'll now want to include a link to your RSS feed.
That way, listeners who want to subscribe to your podcast will know
what your RSS feed is. A popular way to
provide your RSS feed is to
post the new icon for RSS feeds (shown below in two sizes) and make it
link to your feed.
That's it! You're done!
Your broadcast can now officially be called a podcast!
your podcast to iTunes. (optional)
Now that your podcast is ready to share with
the world, why not submit it to
It works on both PCs and Macs, it's free, and it has
a built-in podcasting section that makes it a snap to search for,
listen to, and subscribe to podcasts. If you don't already
have it installed on your computer, you can download it by clicking
Submitting your podcast to iTunes is a simple
process and does not require you to republish your broadcasts
to iTunes. Basically, all you're doing is providing iTunes
with your RSS feed and the details of your podcast (name, author,
etc.). That way, iTunes knows where to go to get your podcast
when listeners want to subscribe.
To submit your podcast to iTunes, complete the
- Once in iTunes, go to the iTunes
- Click on Podcasts
at the top of the iTunes window.
- Now click on Submit a Podcast on
the right-hand side of the screen.
- Enter your RSS feed (that's the one
that looks like http://feeds.feedburner.com/feedname).
- Follow the onscreen instructions to
complete the submission process.
It typically takes 24-48 hours for your podcast to be cataloged
in the iTunes podcast directory.
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