Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review: Listen Up! : Podcasting for Schools and Libraries

Title: Listen Up! : Podcasting for Schools and Libraries
Author: Linda W. Braun
Publisher: Information Today, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-57387-304-8
Price: $29.50 US
Subjects: Internet in education; Libraries and the Internet; and Podcasting

When I learned that Leo Laporte (TWiT) had done the forward to this book I figured it was a pretty safe bet that it would be a stellar reference for podcasting and I was right.

Linda W. Braun set out to create a book that would explain podcasting to schools and libraries without the necessity of a lot of technical knowledge and I think she has achieved this goal marvelously.

The book is broken into six chapters: This Thing We Call Podcasting; Before You Get Started; Real Life Examples; What Makes a Great Podcast: Developing the Content; What Makes a Great Podcast: the Technology; and Get the Word Out. The table of contents breaks the chapters down further into subtitles and sidebars making it easy to find the section you want at a glance. Each section is well organized and short enough to fit into the busiest reader's schedule. It's amazing that Braun was able to cover the entire topic of podcasting pretty thoroughly in under 100 pages.

This book includes some great features that will help any one new to podcasting. Readers should definitely check out the accompanying website to the book where they can find links to all the URLs in the book as well as a copy of the XML code for creating a feed and more. Planning worksheets, resources list, and a glossary are also included.

I do have a few criticisms of the book. Braun could have entitled the book "podcasting for educational organizations" and perhaps broadened her audience. Everything that she covers can be applicable to museums, science centers, nature centers and various other educational groups such as 4H clubs or scouting groups. I also would have appreciated more interviews with podcasters. Braun includes an interview with a library podcast and a college podcast, but I think interviews with different grade-level teachers and students could be beneficial as well. Finally,
the reader must keep in mind that this book is geared toward the novice podcaster. You won't find a lot of in depth detail on how to pick equipment out, how to publish the podcast, or how to trouble shoot your feed, although the references that she includes do go more in depth.

Overall, I think this book is a must have resource for anyone involved with an education organization that is considering starting a podcast. If you consider yourself technologically challenged this book will help you see how easy it really is to podcast. Or if you need that extra bit of ammunition to help convince others that your organization should be podcasting I'm sure you'll find it in these pages.

The author, Linda W. Braun, helps educational institutions figure out how to integrate technology through her job as an educational technology consultant at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online. Her educational background includes a MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a ME with a specialization in Computers in Education from
Lesley University.

The book's website: http://www.leonline.com/listen_up/

Note: I checked this book out from my local library.