Teens Know Web 2.0: iHCPL for Teens is a self-paced discovery learning program designed to help teens make the most of free Web 2.0 technologies, such as photo editing sites, productivity tools, online videos, social networking and sites for sharing music.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Sound Off: Making a Podcast

A brief overview

What is a podcast and why would I want to make one? A podcast is a syndicated audio broadcast that can be played on any MP3 player (the word comes from combining "iPod" + "broadcast"). When you subscribe to the RSS feed for a podcast, you receive automatic downloads of new content as it is made available online. Podcasts are available on a wide range of topics, just like blogs in audio format. Use Yahoo! Podcasts or Podcast Alley to find podcasts of interest to you. To hear what other teens are doing with podcasts, check out the Teen Podcasters Network or listen to the teen podcasts from Seattle Public Library.

Making your own podcast

Like most any other tools, online podcast tools range from the relatively simple to the more advanced, which often require downloading software. So that this exercise is accessible to everyone, whether or not you have a microphone for your computer, we are going to use a service that allows you to record your podcast through the telephone. Gabcast offers up to one hour of recording for each episode (up to 200 MB of space) with a free account. To get started:

  1. Create a new account. Enter your personal e-mail address and password and add your avatar, if you choose. You do not need to enter a web site address. You will receive a confirmation e-mail after registering. Just follow the link and begin.

  2. When you get to your account page, click on "create a channel," then click on "My Channels" to get the number assigned to your channel.

  3. Call the 800 number listed for the US at the right hand side of the page. You will be asked for you channel number and your password number.

  4. Record your podcast! You will have the option to listen to your recording or to publish. When you are ready, select publish.

  5. Return to your online account and select play to listen to your podcast. You can also edit the title and add tags for the episode.

For those of you who would like to explore other podcasting options, take a look at using the Odeo Studio for podcasts or use the podcasting tutorial at Feed for All.

Discovery Exercises

  1. Follow the steps above to create a Gabcast podcast on any topic of your choice.

  2. Send us a comment about your podcast.

The Sounds of the Web

You can find a wide variety of sounds on the web, from music to sound effects, podcasts to audiobooks. This post is going to concentrate on music. Most of you have probably been downloading songs from sites like iTunes or Rhapsody for some time, so we're not going to talk too much about the mechanics of downloading. Instead, let's take a look at what is available through the world of online sound.

Pay to Play

There are numerous sites where you can pay a monthly fee or a fee per song and legally download your favorite songs. Some of the most popular sites are Napster, iTunes, Yahoo!, and Rhapsody. Amazon has a wide variety of MP3 options and allows purchase of individual songs. These sites safely offer the widest variety of popular music -- for a price.

Free and Legal

What can be more free and legal than the public library? HCPL does offer some music (and audiobooks) through our downloadable media site, but it is limited by what is available for libraries to purchase. Sites like music.download.com offer free streaming and MP3 downloads, but they are also limited by legal restrictions. Some musicians, like the band Radiohead, are challenging the music industry by offering their music for download at very little cost.

Your Own Radio Station

You can listen to your favorite radio station through their web site (The Buzz, KRBE, Rice Radio and many more) or create a radio station of your own. Sites like Pandora or Songza build playlists for your by asking you about your favorite music.

Social Networking Through Music

MySpace started as a site to help connect bands with listeners and fans with other fans, but the site grew so huge that socializing is now the main draw. Quite a few newer sites are still centered around the music aspect. Mog is a site created specifically to link people together based on the music they like. The "Mog-o-Matic" is a downloadable application for Windows or Mac that tracks what you're listening to on the computer and adds it to your Mog page. imeem and Project Playlist are other sites that are based around sharing music with friends. Qloud (and many other sites) allows you to add a "my music" section to your Facebook or Friendster account.

Music Clouds

Have you ever made a Wordle? Just google your favorite song lyrics, copy them, go to Wordle, click create and paste the lyrics into the box. You can choose the colors and background that you like and it makes a word cloud for you. Can you guess the song used in the music cloud below?

A Sound of Your Own

How would you like to have a sound that reflects your personality to use in your blog, on your cell phone or your social networking profile? Just go to Soundbadge, sign up and answer a few questions and immediately receive your signature sound.


Use lyrics from your favorite song to create a word cloud in Wordle or sign up at Soundbadge and have a sound tailor made for you.