Technology has been evolving at a tremendous speed over the years. Internet applications have been increasing in number due to endless innovations.The discovery of podcasts is among the most creative Information Technology innovations. The term podcast has had many definitions due to its many features.
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Consolidating all the definitions, a podcast is simply defined as a series of audio or video files that can be downloaded from the internet through a process called syndication (Bergey, 2006). The media files commonly referred to as web feeds are released in episodes by the distributor’s server (Bergey, 2006).
A podcatcher is special application software used by clients to access the media files present on the internet. The concept of podcasts will be discussed in this paper together with how podcasts can be utilized in learning and training.
The distributor of web feeds has the responsibility of creating and placing the media files and other content on the web. The process of creating podcasts is a bit technical and requires a lot of attention and focus. The podcast is first recorded and then published (Bayer, 2011). The recording stage is the most demanding and there are three fundamental recording tools needed for efficient recording.
The three tools include recording software, a microphone and headphones. The preferred software is Audacity which has editing features. Another software known as LAME mp3 encoder is needed to convert and save the podcasts in the MP3 format (Van Orden, 2008).
A good microphone is needed to transfer the audio sounds to the mixing unit. Headphones are very important in monitoring recording levels so that proper adjustment can be done on the mixing unit.
In the recording process, Audacity is first opened and the sound card verified for playback and recording. Only one recording channel is necessary for proper recording. Quality of recording is very important and some quality parameters need to be observed. The Default Sample Rate is chosen from the quality tab and it ranges between 44,000 Hz and 44,500 Hz (Van Orden, 2008).
The Default Sample Format is normally 16-bit. After recording, a copy of the file is normally made before editing is done. The recorded audio files are then compressed into Audacity to prevent the risk of accidental overwriting of the files.
MP3 Export Setup should be strictly followed while transferring the audio files (Van Orden, 2008). The main input option is the microphone and should be selected on the mixing unit. Volume adjustments are done on the mixer using the microphone.After the volume has been correctly adjusted, the system considered ready for podcasting.
The final stage of creating podcasts is publishing. After recording the podcast, the next step is for the distributer to pass it down to listeners. Subscription to RSS feeds is mandatory for any user to be in a position to access the podcasts. Aggregators such as iTunes enable the listener to receive automatic podcasts from the distributor. Blog software like WordPress are used to create the RSS feeds more easily.
The RSS feed is generated automatically by linking MP3 files to the subscriber’s blog (Bergey, 2006). The created feed is normally optimized for a number of aggregators using the FeedBurner software (Bergey, 2006).
After the recording and publishing process, the listener commonly known as the user is ready to access the podcast files quite easily. In case of a new episode, the distributer goes through the same process once again and the cycle continues.
The topics addressed in podcasts are normally very informative. The host can have a number of speakers who share information about different life issues. The distributor creates a podcast and makes the discussions, interviews or lectures available to subscribers. Family issues like infidelity, parenthood and love are normally discussed. Other topics affecting the society in general are also discussed in podcasts.
Gospel preachers allover the worlds are now utilizing this technology in spreading the gospel. Preachers podcast their church sermons and events and distribute then to their members and other subscribers allover the world. The use of podcasts has improved information sharing and dissemination in a great way.
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In conclusion, posdcasts have proved to be useful in training and learning. School homework and assignments are accessed on podcasts created by teachers using their cell phones. This enables parents to be updated with the progress of their students by downloading the posted podcasts. With the podcast revolution, a class can create a podcast about their favorite lesson or books (Van Orden, 2008).
Different classes can now share learning materials through the use of podcasts. In the modern world , parents do not worry about missing school meetings and assemblies because the school administration can podcast meeting events and proceedings and distribute them to parents who are unable to attend because of one reason or another.
Podcasts can also be used by teachers to monitor class attendance of their students. Classes and lectures can now be recorded using podcasts and made available to those students.
Bayer, R. (2011). RIFT podcast 35 addresses hacking issues and possible server transfer. Web.
Bergey, L. (2006). How to create web content that works. Web.
Van Orden, J. (2008). How to podcast. Web.