Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Tool Factory Podcasting

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Tool Factory Podcasting

Article excerpt

REPORT CARD

***** = Highly Recommended
 **** = Recommended
  *** = Good
   ** = OK in some cases
    * = Don't consider

Tool Factory Podcasting

Company: Tool Factory, Inc., 3336 Sunderland Hill Road, Sunderland, VT 05250. Phone: (800) 220-8386; Fax: (802) 375-6860; Internet: www.toolfactory.com

Price: $99--Single license, educational use; $299.99--five-pack; $499.99--10-pack; $999.99--25-pack.

Audience: Grades K-12

Format: CD-ROM: text, graphics, audio, video

Minimum System Requirements: For Windows systems only.

Windows XP (SP2) or Vista, 300 MHz (650 MHz recommended); 128 MB (256 MB recommended); 300 MB hard-drive space (600 MB recommended); 1024 x 768 resolution; sound card; microphone; and speakers or headphones. FTP access is needed to post podcasts on the Web.

Description: Tool Factory Podcasting provides the tools to create and publish podcasts, the audio broadcasts in MP3 and WAV formats that can be downloaded from the Web to computers and portable media players for future listening.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I used the software on an HP computer using Windows XP, Version 5.1. Installation was simple and quick. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Tool Factory Podcasting combines a scripting tool, sound recorder, uploading features, and a broadcast utility into a single, straightforward program designed to create audio files with music and sound effects.

The software comes in a bundle that includes software that lets educators write, record, edit, and post podcast scripts. It also includes a copyright-free music and sound-effects library on CD, a subscription to the Clip Art Station online library of copyright-free audio and images, 3 months of free online podcast hosting on Web Page Station, and an instructional guide to podcasting.

The software is very easy to use. In fact, this is the best podcasting program I have yet encountered. The instructional materials help new users get up to speed very quickly.

The steps are simple. Give the podcast a name and a brief description. Add an episode to the podcast and write a brief description. Create chapters for the episode, to segment and organize the information.

Type or paste the text into the script area, and enter the names of the actors. To assign the text, highlight the script and click on the actor's speech bubble. The script will be color-coded automatically.

Record the script, then edit and add the music. The audio editor makes it simple to add music and delete unwanted sounds. A tool bar allows you to change the color of fonts and windows.

A Tool Factory Podcasting Kit is also available. The kit, priced at $249.99, contains everything in the software bundle, as well as an Olympus digital voice recorder, a microphone with noise-reduction features, 6 months of free online podcast hosting on Web Page Station and a copy of Tool Factory's Simple Guide to Podcasting, a book with an accompanying CD-ROM.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The Simple Guide to Podcasting is the best instruction manual I have ever seen. The guide provides step-by-step illustrated directions and a comprehensive explanation of what podcasting is and how it works. I found the history section so fascinating that I made it required reading for my class before we even explored a single project. …

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