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Monday, April 10, 2006

The new way to Search Podcasts and Publicize your Blog



It is great that I can now convert my blog to a podcast automatically using Talkr. (See my How-to article.) Talkr is not perfect but I just do not have the hours it takes to blog AND podcast. But how can I be found?

Searching for Podcasts has been tough in the past

There are so many issues with the indexing and finding of podcasts. The only searchable information in the past has been show notes or information which has been entered in by the author.

Past searching has not been helpful for me because I have to listen to a whole podcast to make sure there is no profanity. It has been a bother to find useful podcasts! I don't have the time!

In comes Podzinger!

This morning during my workout I was listening to my weekly dose of Twit and I took the time to listen to Leo LaPort and Amber Frey interviewing Alex Laats, President of BBN about his new service Podzinger. (Interesting Statistic from the show– only 1% of US households listen to a podcast on a weekly basis.)

Who is BBN?

BBN is a longtime internet player and actually had the contract to set up the first several nodes of the Net for UUnet.

They have now changed the podcasting/vodcasting world overnight with their automated search of audio and video resources.

What does Podzinger do?

Podzinger has a speech to text recognition that takes the podcast and converts it to text. You can then search on the actual text of a podcast or vodcast. The results of queries are all free podcasts and video-casts (vodcasts) that have CONTENT that matches your interests.

They stress that this is not intended to be a transcription service and that the speech to text algorithms aren’t perfect. They look pretty good to me!

How does it work?

My first query on education didn’t produce many results. However, I queried “Education wiki” I came up with the Weblogs & Wikis & Feeds, O My! Podcast by Paul Allison of the New York City Writing Project.

While the first four minutes of the podcast are meaningless nothing, when you get into the meat of the discussion there is some very useful information about how these teachers are using podcasts. It is as real world as you get and very useful for higher level consultants, etc. to listen in on teachers who are actually using these tools.

How do I listen?

Podzinger lets you subscribe via iTunes or just download the one show. You can also listen from podzinger by clicking the play button.

I use a Palm with a built in Mp3 player and haven’t perfected iTunes with it so I prefer to download podcasts manually. To track and keep up with podcasts, I have created an edupodcast folder in bloglines. This way I can listen or download as I see fit.

How do I put podcasts into bloglines?

So, I wanted to keep up with the podcasts in bloglines. This is how I do it now.

1) Go to the podcast you are interested in by searching podzinger

2) Right click on the RSS XML button and select Copy Link Location

3) Go to Bloglines and Click Add

4) Paste in the box that appears on the right by right clicking and selecting Paste

5) Click the subscribe button

6) I suggest creating an edupodcast folder (it will simplify exporting things later via the geeky OPML that some of us love!)

7) Listening Options

a. In bloglines, when you see a podcast you want to listen to, just click Enclosure and you can listen from your computer.

b. You can also right click enclosure and save the podcast to the directory to synch with your MP3

c. If you have an ipod – just use ITunes.

How do you put your podcast into podzinger?

I think podzinger is going to change things. I haven't really liked any other search system for audio or video. This is incredible!

If you have a podcast you simply must add it to podzinger! Here's how:

1 – You have to have a podcast. Two options I’ve taught you:

A- Set up a Radio Station on Odeo and record them yourself

B – Use Talkr

C- David Warlick taught me to podcast and you can follow his presentation slides on how to create a more professional podcast using Audacity and Archive.org.

2 – Once you have a podcast and have a channel (URL) you should right click on the Talkr chicklet or get the Odeo channel information and copy it. (Geek version: You just need the XML RSS feed URL).

3 – Go to podzinger.com

4 – Click Register Podcast at the bottom of the page

5 – Right click and paste the “channel” information from step 2 into the box that says RSS XML.

6 – Type your e-mail address in the e-mail box.

7 – Check for them to notify you when your first show is available

8 – Click Zing it!

It says that will take about a week! However, I did it this morning and my last 5 posts are already on there.

Free Stuff Only!

Podzinger is only for free content NOT subscription services. They do have some for-fee services for subscription services but have an advertising model that they use. Amber Frey commented that it seems that the index does a lot of newer shows but takes a while to pull in older show information.

Other potential podzinger uses for Educators

Profanity Finder - In addition to a wealth of free resources, I like this because I could potentially screen through for profanity very quickly.

Rating System - What if it could look at profanity and rate it G, PG, etc. for me!

Grading Potential - I also hope that I can use it with my students. It sure would make grading podcasts easier if I could have the words typed out for me. I know podzinger is not for official transcripts but because we read much faster than a person talks it could take some of the headache out of podcast grading!

RSS Feeds for Searches - You can create an RSS feed for your search of podzinger and put it in bloglines or your RSS reader.

Is there an iVod in the future?

In class discussions today, my students and I also had some questions as we discussed podcasting and vodcasting.

We think Apple should rename the iPod the iVod at some point in the future. We think they learned something from Google…by making the word “google” a verb this company has integrated advertising into everyday language.

By creating the word “podcasting” Apple has built the iPod and its name recognition and emerged with the #1 hottest Christmas gift last year.

Apple certainly had a hand in the term vodcast. It looks like the term iVod is being used by Vaja as the name for one of their cases. I’ve got to wonder if Apple is not coveting that name! The students said they would love to have an iVod! It's not even a real thing yet!

Several of my students are now surfing the Net on their cell phones. It has added an interesting element to our discussion of effective web design.

Now these kids are thinking! (Yes, I teach high school students!)

In Conclusion

The world of searching has just taken a new turn. I see the day arriving when video, text messages, e-mails, Skype phone calls, podcasts, and websites will be searched easily and seamlessly.

Although 1% of households are using podcasts (mostly news) on a weekly basis and even less are using vodcasts, this is an emerging technology.

When our students graduate from college, they will have to communicate with meaning in blog, podcast, vodcast, e-mail, and many electronic forms that we cannot image yet. As a result, face, voice, and body language will remain important even in a world that is becoming more computerized!

Communication is even more important than ever. There are people being promoted today in companies for one simple reason, they are good bloggers. They are also good thinkers.

What are we teaching?

Are we teaching critical thinkers? Are we teaching kids to be as comfortable with technology as with paper and pen?

We’re not making widgets any more, America!

Which will your students be better at producing? Widgets or bytes?

Keep the faith edubloggers!

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