My Class Podcast Station Challenge: An Invitation to Blog before We Move On

Previously I used Filezilla Portable to set up the web space I need to host the audio and video files for my podcast challenge. Now I want to create a visible space, with a web address that visitors can come to, to find out a little more about us, review the content of our show. We may want to share our favourite podcasts but first and foremost we want to be able to customise it and provide a shopwindow where our visitors can sample our work before hopefully subscibing to our show, in order to watch or listen more often. This latter process requires an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed.

Even though I am trying to be more adventurous my personal experiences with coding is not wide. In my first post in this series I talked about how "blogging" like posting to Podomatic was, but as I progress I am aware I may be rushing ahead, and beginning to wonder about just how familiar some of my readers./visitors might be with what blogs are and how they work, so in this post I am going to take a step back, invite you to have a go at setting up a blog space to play with before moving on to show you how I have set up a Blog to act as a Podcast Station.

How does a Blog P
age Compare to a Podcast?

I don't want to spend a lot of time here saying what a blog is, how they work or how they might be used. This video from the Commoncraft Show does this much more eloquently than I ever could.

I also have a few notes from a session I lead introducing colleagues to blogs for use with students and some points to consider around esafety here.

The page that you arrive at when you visit the buzz (beesinapod) station, that I have been working on in these posts, is a Blogger Blog. The image below tries to share how a blog page is made up, and how these elements of the blog page will eventually relate to and compare with the features of a Podcast.

  • In this case as we create the station the "blog" will change its purpose, becoming the "podcast"
  • Each post in the Blog becoming an individual episode in the overall show.
What will make each "blog post" different is that as "podcast episodes" each one will use hyperlinks from the post to video or audio files hosted on the FTP space I set up in the previous post,and with a little behind the scenes tweaking at anothe website, (feedburner) will use the blog's existing RSS feed to allow visitors to subscribe to the podcast, in a podcatcher, but more about this later.

Blogger is the platfrom with which I am most familiar, so is the tool I have decided to use, though I don't see any reason why a similar process, to the one I am using here could not be used with other blogging tools.

So How Do We Set Up and Use a Space Like This?

If you can...
  • set up an online email account
  • write an email,
  • attach and send a file,
then you essentially have the skill set you need to set up and use a blogging tool.

For this project I have used Blogger, a free service from Google. You can set up a Blogger account by following this link.

Once at the Blogger home page you will be guided through the set up process. Click the Create your Blog Now link, and follow the steps.

Essential Blog Space Tweaks and.... Playtime

Once your account is created, there are one or two things you might want to play around with for esafety reasons, especially if you are going to use this space to publish student work. Certainly one of the things I have changed are the comment settings since I want to review comments before they are published, to ensure they are appropriate to the site. I did this by
  • Clicking the Dashboard Link
  • Clicking the settings tab
  • Clicking the comments tab
  • Scrolling and then clicking to turn comment moderating on, and and selecting the always option.
  • Scrolling and including an email address allows me to be informed if a comment has been made and needs moderation
I have also turned on "Show word verification for comments," so any one deciding to leave a comment must type in a word, presented as a random picture before they can send it. This is a really good idea, since it prevents machines using forms and what is called spamming.

Essentially that is it for the blog side of the Podcast station set up but---.

Why not play with the space for a while now the environment is set up.

Try changing the look of the space by visiting the "Layout" tab
  • Change theme
  • Change Colours
  • Add some Gadgets

All of these things can be removed and undone later, and were among the main reasons I decided to have a go at this project in the first place.

Before sharing how to use this space to publish a podcast maybe you should try it out as a blog for a while. This Blog published by New Zealand Teacher Allanah King, is a fantastic resource and point of reference while you play. If you like the space you create, and don't want to change it, then you can always create another space, by adding another blog to act as your podcast platform. As I have already said if you can send an email, you can blog. The Blogger Posting tool is really easy to use, and as you can see from this image is not unlike an online wordprocessor.

If you are already a blogger, then maybe you can see where this is mashup is going. My "Learning to Podcast" space, from last summer was the prototype for this project, and there are number of links here that will help you to move on more quickly. If you are new to this, then have a play, familiarise yourself with the blogging tools, and pop back later if you want to see how I have used this tool to develop the podcast station. I hope you will come back and share the remainder of this process with me, or offer comments about what you are thinking. I would also love to have a look at any spaces you are developing, leave a link so I can share.

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