Wikipaedia defines a podcast like so
A podcast is a digital media file, or a series of such files, that is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds for playback on portable media players and personal computers... Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital media formats by its ability to be syndicated, subscribed to, and downloaded automatically, using an aggregator or feed reader capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.
I had this explained to me once during a session at uni, but have struggled since to formulate it in a way I can share with colleagues. This framework seems quite a useful one not only for podcasting but for framing discussions about the difference between the host of currently existing so called "Web 2.0" technologies and those that went before.
Having said this, I have begun integrating year group blogs, and a couple of others into our school website from the point of view of trying to develop ownership of its content. To engage colleagues I have presented them initially as a kind of hybrid between a desktop publisher/wordprocessor and email, where they can apply existing skills, and to promote them as easily updateable web sites, tools that can be used to share ongoing classroom activities with the outside world, or structured over time to involve students in logging themes. I recognise that this decries the power and potential that these tools actually have through syndication, and the notion of content coming to us rather than us going to the content, but in the early stages of this process it has and is important for me to get these spaces used, and colleagues and students involved. I have been concerned that if I begin introducing the technological nuances I would lose my colleagues.
However, the above definition seems also a useful starting point to begin exploring and framing future work with colleagues around the differences between other socalled "Web 2.0" technologies and those that went before. In introducing the syndication aspect of these technologies, I might be able for Podcast to Substitute Blog, del.icio.us or Flikr, for digital media substitute web page, bookmarks/favourites, photo gallery etc, for playback on portable media players substitute a host of web enabled technologies, and browsers, eventually substuting the concepts of syndication and aggregation as the basis for sharing and collaboration.
With Blogs particularly I have a leaning towards something I mentioned in an earlier post, the idea of creating a community feed that will enable us to pull together, all our blog content to one place for use as a celebration and sharing point in school assemblies, or a means to keep our stakeholder community up to date through perhaps inclusion of a headline animator in our homepage. Hmm! Something further to ponder on...