Tuesday, September 2, 2008

What's the frequency Kenneth

I share my blogroll on this site so everyone can see what I am reading, but I haven't been so good with my podcasting list. I'm a big fan of podcasts and, while I don't get to listen as much as I like, I do get through 3 to 5 every week.

Podcasts are digital audio files distributed via the internet using syndication (like RSS is used to distribute this blog). The term is generally considered to be a contraction of iPod and broadcast, but it is not limited to iPods. I listen to podcasts on my iPods, on my computers, on my Blackberry and on my work smartphone (yes, only work related podcasts there). I use iTunes as my primary tool for podcast subscription, particularly for those I want directly sent to my iPod, but I have also used an open source tool called Juice.

So here's my list, in no particular order:
  • TED Talks - you've seen me reference a few TED Talks video's in previous posts. Really thought provoking stuff.
  • The Teacher's Podcast - Dr. Kathy King and Mark Gura host this show for teacher professional development. Not being a teacher, the topics aren't always relevant to me, but it's always fun to listen to their banter. Listen carefully and you might hear a little Bichon barking in the background.
  • Science Friday - a NPR show that focuses on a wide variety of science topics every Friday. I like that I can cherry pick just the segments I want to hear without having to listen to the whole 2-hour broadcast. As you might guess, there is a boatload of good NPR and PBS content for download. You can browse the Podcast section of the iTunes store or go to a resource like Podcast Alley.
  • Sketicality - Discovery Institute fans can skip this one. It's the official podcast of Skeptics magazine and it reminds me to think critically. It's mainly an interview show with some news briefs and a little opinion.
  • Radio Sweden - one of my brother-in-laws lives in Sweden with his family, so I like to stay in touch with what's happening in Stockholm. Many other countries have the same, which could be a useful tool for researching other countries and world events.
  • The Chillcast with Anji Bee - It's a pod-safe music show featuring Anji Bee, who sounds like she just stepped out of early 70's FM radio (anyone remember KZAM). Even if the music isn't your cup of tea, the issues around legal licensing of music for podcasts, blogs, etc is a great topic for students to investigate. You might want to start your next content creation class with a trip to Creative Commons or Ioda Promonet.
  • Dan Carlin's Hardcore History - No, the history of hardcore is something completely different. I just learned about this site and haven't listened much. Dan Carlin comes at this as a fan of history, not a historian. I really enjoyed his interview with James Burke, host of great PBS shows like Connections and The Day the Universe Changed (now that what some serious education).
  • The MedicCast - I highlighted this one in a previous post. Created by the podmedic, Jamie Davis, I listen to the show to learn terminology of the Medics that I work with. There are a lot of professional-to-professional podcasts out there, which provide a great resource for students interested in a field.
  • Technet Radio - is a product education source from Microsoft about Microsoft technology. I really should be listening to MSDN's Channel 9, however. Technet is more infrastructure and MSDN is for programmers.
Also, let me suggest that creating podcasts (audio-only, or with video) is a powerful educational tool. I mean really, with podcasting, YouTube, instant messaging and email is there a reason to have "snow days" anymore. There are several small scale recording devices that capture your audio and transfer it to a computer. A free software package like Audacity does the same and can be paired up with an inexpensive microphone or wireless mic (I picked one up at Radio Shack for under $65) for recording lectures or interviews. Mac users can use Garage Band. Phone interviews can be captured directly from Skype. Oh, and you'll need a place to store your podcasts. iTunes U provides such as source for schools and districts, at a fee. There are free sources, but generally they are wide open, so you've got some trade-offs to make.

Okay, one last audio source and I'll leave you alone. LibriVox isn't a podcast site, but it is a source of free audio books of works that are now in the public domain, which includes many of the classics (I've been considering Moby Dick). Also, they are looking for volunteers to read chapters of these books. Might be a great service learning project for that student with an interest in the theater, radio, etc.

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Dr. Kathy King said...

HI Corey
Great to hear that you are listening to the "Teachers Podcast and Bichon Show" out in Snohomish county.

We really enjoy producing a professional development service for people who wan to understand educational issues, so we are thrilled that even non educators are tuning in!
Also YEEHA! for the plug for Librivox. Hands down this is one of my favorite opportunities for people of all ages to be global citizens...
Keep on the insightful blogging.
Dr Kathy King

Corey Smith said...

Dr. Kathy,

Thank you for stopping by and commenting. You were mighty quick at finding the post.

I find that beyond my general interest in improving education, education bloggers and podcasters have provided me a wealth of information on presenting information and training practices that I use at work regularly at work.

Please keep up your enjoyable podcasting.