Home > No. 14 Podcasts

No. 14 Podcasts (2006年03月10日)

カテゴリー: The Treasure Hunt Club
Marcel Van Amelsvoort
(Kanagawa Prefectural College of Foreign Studies)
Hello everyone. Back in December I briefly mentioned podcasts. This month I’d like to help steer members to some sites that can help you find and use podcasts. I’ll also introduce one site that lets people set up their own podcasts.

First, a podcast is a long audio file (usually about 10-20 minutes long). It often is made to sound like a radio program. Some very common types of podcasts feature introductions to new music or movies, or discussions on science, politics or social issues. There are, however, thousands of podcasts being sent out regularly, including many made by ESL/EFL teachers for the purpose of helping people learn English. They are often of excellent quality and they are free. So podcasts offer us a chance to help our students get a large variety of listening materials for free.

Getting started. The easiest way to get started is to download iTunes from Apple’s web site (http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/ in English and http://www.apple.com/jp/itunes/overview/ in Japanese). With this software, you can then access the music store. In the music store, you can click on the podcasts link and then choose or search for podcasts you like. This software will give you the option of downloading individual podcast episodes or subscribing. If you subscribe to a certain podcast, new episodes of that podcast will automatically be downloaded into your computer. If you have an iPod, you can then load the files into the player and listen to them anywhere. If you have no player, you have to listen to the podcasts on your computer. From the iTunes interface, you can also get to the websites of the podcasters, where you can usually find transcripts of the podcasts and other information.

Some recommended podcasts. Here are some podcasts I recommend for learners. I’ll provide the URL for the sites, but the easiest way to listen or subscribe is through iTunes. If you search the iTunes music store podcast list with the name of the podcast, you should find it easily.

The Bob and Rob show. An American teacher and a British teacher. Lots of different topics and lots of fun. Lessons weekly. http://www.englishcaster.com/bobrob/

Flo-Joe Radio. This is mostly preparation for students planning to take the Cambridge First Certificate test, but it is well made with a lot of great learning and test-taking tips. http://www.splendid-learning.co.uk/podcast/

English Conversations. This podcast features practical conversations for language learners. Many of the conversations involve cross-cultural interviews. The accompanying blog has all the transcripts, and they are linked so that you can easily go and find things you are not sure about. Very nice.

And finally, for those people who would like to begin podcasting themselves, visit Podomatic http://www.podomatic.com/home where anyone can get started in setting up a blog that allows you to start podcasting.