RSS & Podcasts (Tenn-Share 3) (38)

July 7, 2008

I saw my friend William last Saturday. He was carrying eight newspapers! I stopped and asked, “William, what’s with all the newspapers?”

He said, “Well, I like reading the comic strips Pearls Before Swine and Dilbert, but they’re not in the same newspaper. Then, there’s this columnist I like in the New York Times and a sports writer in the Washington Post who’s great. I gotta run. If I don’t get home soon, I’ll miss Daniel Schorr’s radio commentary!”

“Whoa! Why aren’t you getting this stuff in your feed reader?”

“My what?”

“RSS feeds. RSS puts all your news in one spot! You just sign up for an RSS feed reader online, then read all your favorite comics and journalists in one place. You can also use RSS to read blogs, news, and even hear that radio story you’re about to miss.”

“All with an RSS feed reader? Can you show me how it works?”

RSS Feeds
RSS broadcasts web pages over the Internet much like a radio station broadcasts programming over airwaves. An RSS feed reader (aka aggregator) “tunes in” to the websites that you tell it to “listen” to and collects new items into your reader as they appear. You can get news, blog posts, comics, music, personal updates, or even this learning activity. Web sites now offer a variety of content in RSS format. Anywhere you see one of these little buttons, you can click on one to activate the feed.

rss image rss image rss image rss image rss image

There are many different feed readers to choose from, but most are free web applications, so you will not have pay or download to take advantage of RSS.

Commoncraft – RSS In Plain English

Podcasts are RSS feeds, too!
William is also a big listener of National Public Radio and other radio programs. I was telling him about this fascinating story on gorillas that aired the other night.

“I was so busy catching up on all my newspapers that I missed it.”

“Don’t worry, RSS can help you keep up with radio shows too. You can still hear the gorilla story as a podcast!”

NPR also delivers most of their stories as podcasts, so you’ll be able to catch up on the latest programs whenever you want. You can find older stories too. Maybe you like tuning into Mike & Mike (ESPN), Dave Ramsey, Dianne Rehm, or This American Life? You can get a podcast of just about anything on NPR and a variety of shows from local radio all over the country. There are thousands of podcasts from amateur and community radio DJs. Maybe you would like the Jamaican Reggae music hour or the guy who plays a Grateful Dead concert tape every week?

It is not just music and radio. Television programs are podcasting too, in both video and audio. You can catch up on Good Morning America (ABC), Frontline (PBS), or The Colbert Report (Comedy) with podcasts. Many programs are offering season subscriptions for a fee, but most podcasts are free to download. Hobbyists love to share tips on gardening, knitting, or even fly fishing with podcasts.

A podcast could be anything from a thirty second cell phone update to an hour-long concert. Podcasts are sort of like an audio archive, delivering the newest episodes and storing the older stories for later. Instead of tuning in at a specific time on your radio, you can hear the recording whenever you want, on your computer.

Four ways to hear podcasts:

Browser: Visit the podcast’s web site and play the files from there, just as you would any other sound file.

RSS Reader: Subscribe using an online RSS reader like Bloglines or Google Reader. Podcasts will show up along with your blogs.

Podcatcher: Use a podcatcher, like iTunes or Juice, to organize and play podcasts for you.

mp3 player: Take podcasts on the go with your portable mp3 player. Listen to your favorite programs while you are out walking, waiting for the bus, or anywhere.

RSS & Podcasting Activity:1. Sign up for a feed reader (Google Reader and Bloglines are two nice ones).

2. Subscribe to the RSS feed for the TennShare Learn & Discover blog.

3. Browse NPR’s list of podcasts. Sign up for a podcast (use iTunes or Google Reader).

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the RSS/Podcasts Forum.


One Response to “RSS & Podcasts (Tenn-Share 3) (38)”

  1. A.J. Price Says:

    I’ve been waiting for Summer Reading Club to slow down, that’s what I’ve been waiting for. June and July to a Children’s librarian are what the Xmas season is to a retailer! 😉

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