If you make a podcast for your students, you really should create an RSS feed for it – so they can subscribe using their Podcast app of choice. There are lots of advantages in this:
- New episodes are downloaded automatically in the background when the student is connected to Wi-Fi.
- Students have control over playback speed.
- The app remembers where they are up to if they don’t finish listening in one go.
- They can create playlists for continuous play
I’ve found lots of teachers who make ‘podcasts’ for their students don’t do this; instead, they simply upload the podcast to a folder on their school LMS and instruct students to go there and download it. Even though services like PodOmatic make it simpler than it once was to create an RSS feed, I think a lot of teachers still just think there are too many hoops to jump through.
I’ve just discovered a super-cool, and drop-dead simple service called JustCast. Go to the JustCast website, click a button to allow access to Dropbox. They then create a JustCast folder inside your Dropbox folder, and give you an RSS feed for that folder!
Any audio file you drag into that folder within Dropbox, gets pushed to the apps of anyone subscribed to that RSS feed. it’s so simple I’m stunned that it works – but, incredibly, it does!
The free service allows you to have three episodes in the RSS feed at any time. Adding a fourth episode will make the oldest episode unavailable to subscribers. Upgrade pricing allows unlimited episodes in the feed. (But three might be enough?)
I’ve discovered another really convenient use for JustCast – I’ve set this up for my own personal use. I’ve subscribed to my own RSS feed! Now any random audio file I want to listen to while driving, when dragged into my JustCast folder in Dropbox, appears in my podcast app along with all the other podcast I listen to. Sensational!