By now most of us are probably familiar with YouTube videos. With the advent of YouTube, everyone can be a star of the online community. YouTube is one of many sites that let you watch and upload videos for free. You can search for clips from your favorite tv show, favorite music videos from the 80s, famous political speeches and almost anything else you can imagine or dream up! To understand where Youtube comes from, how it works and why it is so powerful, watch this video (on Youtube!) of a talk that Professer Michael Wesch gave to the Library of Congress, An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube.
There are millions of Youtube contributors and it is generally a self-policing site, but if you’re concerned about security, you should know that your children can run into questionable content. There are many other sites, that allow sharing of videos including Vimeo, Totlol, TeacherTube, and Hulu. Some of these offer safer content alternatives for viewing for young children. There are lots of resources about online safety, specifically about video-networking like this pdf from wiredsafety.org and surfnetkids.com. Google now owns YouTube and has posted some safety tips for parents in partnership with Common Sense Media.
The uses for these sites are endless! This can be a great tool for teachers and classrooms, as well as parents. You can upload videos of your own to share with family and friends. If you have family that is far away, and Grandpa would like to watch your daughter at her dance recital, or see Junior hit a homerun, you can create privacy screenings so that only your family and friends can log in and see the videos you’ve posted. Sites like Speekabos are great for the younger set; featuring digital storytelling, and there is a feature where you can also create and upload your own digital stories.
Podcasts are kind of like radio shows, but available in digital format. They are non-musical audio or video broadcasts that can be subscribed to using RSS or commonly accessed through free audio sharing software like iTunes. Podcasts vary in length. They can be short (many clock in under 10 minutes) or long (some may be an hour or more), but there is a podcast out there for almost every interest imaginable! Did you know that right here at Darien Library, the teens create and publish their own podcasts each month! We're going to focus on audio podcasts in this lesson.
There are a couple of different ways you can do this Thing. You can download iTunes (free) for either Mac or Windows and search for podcasts in their directory and then use iTunes to subscribe to one that interests you. That's a pretty easy way! Here is an instructional guide on how to use iTunes to subscribe to a podcast.
You don't need to download special software to subscribe to podcasts though. You can use the RSS aggregators that you chose in Week 4: Keeping Up. You simply look for the RSS feed icon and follow the directions! The trick is finding a good podcasts to listen to. To get you started, here are a few directories (like an interactive White Pages) that you can search for topics that might interest you:
There are so many podcasts to choose from. There are some that share stories for kids like StoryNory, some are educational like Grammar Girl, some are for learning languages like the Learn Spanish - Survival Guide! Search for something you are interested in. What about knitting? Or animals?
You can listen to podcasts on your computer (speakers or headphones will definitely make it sound better), or if you download the MP3 file, you can listen to podcasts on an MP3 device. The most popular one the kids use is the iPod, but any MP3 Player will do the trick!
EXTRA CREDIT: Make your own podcast!
Do an Internet search for "podcast tutorial" and find out how easy it is to make one! Accodring to GCast, it is so easy your grandma could do it!" If you have a computer, microphone and the internet, you can make a podcast! If you do, please make sure to send it to us. We'd LOVE to listen and share it!
Good luck on this week's lesson. As always, if you have any troubles, please contact your mentor and make sure to post about your lessons on your blog! There are only 3 weeks left in the course so there is still plenty of time to catch up if you've fallen behind!