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Podcasts are audio programs that are broadcasted over the Internet. They are MP3 files which can be downloaded onto a compatible digital player or played on your computer. You can download one or many, for free (generally), or you can subscribe to an RSS service for downloads so you can be alerted when new postings are made available. The name podcast comes from compounding the words iPod and broadcast (from “blogs, wikis, and new media”).
Here is a brief video explaining podcasting.
Podcasting in plain English: http://www.commoncraft.com/podcasting
From ICT Update: “Podcasting has been around since 2004 but it is still very much at the experimental stage when it comes to applying it to development efforts. In this issue we highlight some early initiatives from organizations currently testing the technology, and so far their results are all very positive.By using audio – speech and music – there is no need for expensive printing or distribution costs since the podcast can be downloaded from a single, central site on the web. In fact, the term podcasting is now commonly used to include the general distribution of audio files over the Internet, but it is this fact that podcasting uses audio that makes it so interesting. Like radio, it can overcome problems of literacy, but a radio programme is transient – if you miss the programme you miss the information. Podcasting makes it possible to listen to a programme at the time of your choosing.
Podcasting in International Development
There are five main opportunities for the use of podcasting in the context of International Development:
1) Steven Buckley from Christian Aid:
“We've started weekly internal podcasts at Christian Aid as a way of sharing talks that would have previously required staff to attend a presentation. We've managed around 8 podcasts in the last 10 weeks. The trial has gone extremely well and we're now looking at rolling this out more widely - including an external feed so that staff can connect regardless of whether they have an intranet connection. As ever, the quality of the podcast rather depends on the equipment you use and we've tried hard to keep the file sizes as low as possible.”
“Christian Aid podcasts are made available to staff through the intranet and to the public through iTunes and feedburner. Staff are alerted to new podcasts through a dynamic HTML listing of podcast feeds, though the file is hosted internally. We also take a lot of effort to promote the podcasts internally. As with the blogs, we ve found staff and supporters have engaged with the format very quickly. We now get emails asking if an event will have an associated podcast. For the first couple of months, we focussed on using podcasts to get internal information to staff based outside the UK. This week we re trying a daily podcast from Haiti in the Carribean to look at the issues our partners and beneficiaries face. It s taking a fair amount of time to produce but the feedback has been tremendous from supporters who are hearing stories from trips as they take place and for our field office staff who are able to get their perspectives out to the rest of the organisation.”
2) Practical Action Latin America are conducting a pilot project in the rural region of Cajamarca, northern Peru, to analyse the viability of podcasting for the generation and diffusion of knowledge in poor areas of Peru.” on podcasting:
3) Berenice Akuamoah is one of the youth from the curious minds program who made her digital diaries online with UNICEF:
4) Via: Jorg Meyer-Stamer jms at mesopartner dot com It's actually quite simple. For recording, I'm using a software called Pamela, http://www.pamela-systems.com. I records a Skype conversation as a WAV file, stereo, two channels: one channel is your voice, the other channel the interviewee(s). This is quite useful for several reasons, one of them being that you can easily fix the problem of a slight delay that sometimes creeps in (e.g. in our conversation I cut out a fraction of a second at the beginning of my sound stream so that the two streams became nicely synchronised).
To edit the soundfile, I use Audacity, http://audacity.sourceforge.net. On editing, see the attachment (which I did for my colleagues so that they can edit LEDcasts – steps like adding an intro don't necessarily apply to you). It also mentions The Levelator, a very useful piece of software that is available at www.conversationsnetwork.org. At that site, you can also find a link to the “Podcast Academy”, where two years ago they had an excellent presentation on the basics of Audacity – my understanding of this software is pretty much based on that presentation. There's also a presentation on the “the secret life of mp3 files” which I found very useful.
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