Podcasts: A New Way to Learn

podcast_rss.jpgAll geeks and many other computer using humans have heard of podcasts and podcasting by now. You can read the technical details by going to Wikipedia.

Here is my short take on the subject. A podcast is like a radio talk show without a radio being involved. Each is an audio recording made available for listening or downloading over the internet whenever the hearer wishes to, not when the broadcaster chooses to broadcast it. Everyone – from single individuals with a passion, hobby or soapbox, to large corporations trying to shape public opinion – have podcasts. And all have an equal chance to get their message out because the cost of producing and distributing a podcast is so reasonable.

I have a Microsoft Zune music player. I can easily access hundreds of podcasts in different genres and subjects through the Zune Marketplace for easy download to my device. Apple iPod owners have an even larger selection for download to their iPods through the iTunes store. But this bonanza of audio listening is not limited to these two groups.

iTunes_podcasts.jpgiTunes allows anyone to access and download freely podcasts they list. Click on our iTunes graphic and you will see PODCASTS listed in the top left part the screen. Clicking on it (the iTunes website, not our screenshot) opens the Podcast section of iTunes. Notice under CATEGORIES the different kinds of podcasts available. I clicked on EDUCATION and over 100 different podcasting shows are listed. Click on one show, “Learn Spanish – Survival Guide” for instance, and 60+ episodes are available for download!

To download a podcast from iTunes if you are not using an iPod, select your CATEGORY, then SHOW TITLE. Find an EPISODE you want to download and click on GET EPISODE. iTunes will download the MP3 file to the iTunes file folder on your computer (usually located in your MUSIC or MY MUSIC folder. That’s it. Build your own free library of audio broadcasts.

However, you are not limited to iTunes. Numerous other sites exist with veritable libraries of podcasts. In addition, many individual websites offer their own podcast episodes for download. Just use the Google search engine to locate some. As an example, my wife loves quilting; she sews quilts, reads books and magazines about quilts, watches TV shows about quilting, and takes quilting classes at local shops. Typing “quilting podcasts” into the Google search page immediately turns up numerous online quilting podcasts.

In addition to audio shows, some vidcasts (video podcasts) and screencasts (audio + slideshow) are also available. I urge you try some podcasts out. Be entertained, educated, trained, informed, or inspired!

Comments are closed.