Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Podcastic History?

My Digital History class is making a digital exhibit on the History of the Sky. My group in particular is making a display that will inform the public about the History of Comets. The idea is that a visitor will touch a button on a globe, which will then project the computer program Google Earth onto a large screen. This will display the precise location and description of where a famous Comet has been seen and the affect that the Comet had on History. My portion of the project so far has included making a Google Earth KMZ file, that works whenever someone clicks London, England, and shows a picture and brief description of the history of Halley’s Comet.

Today it was suggested to me that my group could look into making a Podcast to accompany our display. I must confess that until approximately an hour ago I knew very little about Podcasts, aside from the general idea that they are basically online radio shows that can be downloaded and listened to on an IPod. I have mentioned in previous posts how attached I am to my IPod, which has progressed to not only taking it with me everywhere, but also having a special IPod alarm clock that wakes me up each morning. So needless to say, I decided it was about time to become more informed, and I have started looking through what ITunes has to offer.

There are many Podcasts that grabbed my attention, and I have already become a subscriber to The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos. The second I clicked on this Podcast I was greeted by The Long Tail, and was informed that listeners who liked The Hour also liked “BBC History Magazine”. I decided to try out the latest BBC History Magazine Podcast, and although I did not find it nearly as entertaining as The Hour, I immediately understood Podcasts’ potential.

I think that Podcasts could definitely be used to get the public engaged with history. I do not think it will be easy, but some creative thinking could allow for students and/or the public to listen to interesting historical accounts the same way that they currently listen to their favourite songs. I am not positive that a Podcast will work for this particular project, but regardless I think this is something I will continue to look into, because Podcasts could serve as a fantastic tool for the Public Historian.

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