Making Learning Irresitable for Over 25 Years.

What Is Podcasting? (EP)

This is the same podcast as the one posted above. However, it's an enhanced podcast; notice the "EP" next to the purple antenna. Listening to an enhanced podcast on your computer requires using iTunes 4.9 and has an extra step or two not required when listening to a normal podcast. But it's much more cool! (For more information on the features of enhanced podcasts and how to use them, read the posts located under the category, "About Podcasting" in the gray sidebar on the right.)

To listen to this podcast on your computer, click on the icon above, which downloads the file instead of immediately playing it, like a regular podcast. Once the file has downloaded to your computer, drop it into the main iTunes window to play it. Now you can see the podcast as well as hear it!

posted on: July 01, 2005

So What Is Podcasting?

Podcasting is a new phenomena. The term comes from the concatenation of two words: iPod and broadcasting. Unlike traditional broadcasts, which require the listener tune in at the exact time a program is broadcast, podcasting allows the listener to download a program from the internet when convenient and listen to it on his/her iPod whenever and where ever the listener chooses. Of course the listener could just listen to the program from their computer too.

Everyone has heard all of the rage about downloading music from the internet. This is the same idea. But it's not just limited to music. People all over the world are starting their own programs, their own “broadcasts” or podcasts, and sharing them legally with anyone in the world with a computer who wants to listen. Major corporations are even doing podcasts: Disney, NPR, ESPN, ABC News, BBC News, sports, arts & entertainment, news, family, technology, public radio, talk radio, morning shows--it's all there. The list is huge!

So why would a school consider using this new podcasting technology? I can think of several reasons:

  • The first reason on my list: it's free. It doesn't cost the school or the user anything.
  • So, you can't make it to the Open House meeting at the beginning of the year because of a scheduling conflict? No problem. With podcasting, you can download the audio at home on your computer and listen to it when things are not as hectic.
  • Your child's grandparents are on vacation in England and will miss his band concert. Not anymore. Grandma and grandpa can download and listen to it from the internet.
  • You can download your child's orchestra concerts and then burn a collection of the performances to a CD for your scrapbook.
  • Your child is having difficulty with the dialogue the class is working on in French. She can download the dialogue, as spoken by her teacher, put it on her iPod, and repeatedly listen to it back and forth to school, piano lessons, and swim team.

Yes, you heard the magic word--iPod. With iTunes, which is available for free on Windows and Mac, you can actually download Mabry Middle School's podcasts from the iTunes store (for free) and put them on your iPod. (Directions will be posted to a link that will go here.) Listen at the gym, in the car, while you're jogging...whenever is convenient for you. You can even subscribe to the Mabry Podcasts, and many others if you choose, and have them automatically delivered to you through iTunes. So the school's latest podcasts are available to you with no effort required on your part. And, I'm pleased to tell you that we are presently the 3rd school in the entire world to do this for you! (I was very disappointed we weren't the first!)

And how much does all of this cost? Well, again, it's free. Now, I don't want everyone to think we will be podcasting 24/7 at Mabry. We can't. We're learning this new technology, and you are too. But in time, as we all begin to learn how to do this, I anticipate our having a slowly growing collection of podcasts throughout the year.

Podcasting will not replace our traditional means of communication. This is just another way we hope to increase the communication between the school and our community.

posted on: June 29, 2005

Everything You Need to Know About Enhanced Podcasts

What Is an Enhanced Podcast?
Enhanced podcasts have the following features and requirements not found in a regular podcast:

  • Require the use of iTunes version 4.9
  • May have "chapters" like a DVD which allow you to instantly jump to another section of the podcast
  • May have cover art that changes throughout the podcast which can be used to visually illustrate the podcast
  • May display live web links in the album art window
  • May be movie files that the viewer watches like a normal movie

How Do I Play an Enhanced Podcast?
The simplest way to experience an enhanced podcast is to drag the purple circular "antenna" in the gray sidebar on the right (on the main Podcast Central window) into the main window in iTunes. You must have iTunes 4.9! Once our podcast feed is on the iTunes store, simply clicking on the purple circular "antenna" in the gray sidebar on the right will take you to all of our podcasts. You will no longer need to drag the picture into iTunes or even have iTunes running. (You will have to have it installed on your machine.)

The first podcast will immediately start downloading. You will see a small orange circle spinning next to the name of the podcast. When it has finished downloading, simply double click on it to play it. (You can also click on it once and then click on the large iTunes play button at the top.) To download additional podcasts, click on the word "Get" by the grayed-out name. The podcast will then immediately start to download. Double click on it to play it.

Where Are the "Chapters" in the Extended Podcast?
Extended podcasts have chapters, much like a DVD, that allow the listener to immediately navigate to any section of the podcast desired. The chapters icon only appears when you begin listening to an enhanced podcast that actually has chapters! You can see where the chapters icon is located in the picture below.

Itunes Chapters

When you click on it while listening to our first enhanced podcast, this is what happens (Click on this thumbnail to enlarge it.):

Itunes Chapters2

By clicking on any of these seven chapters, iTunes will jump directly to that section of the podcast.

How Do I Make the Cover Art Change?
If you do not see the cover art changing, follow these simple steps:

  • Not all enhanced podcasts may have changing cover art
  • Click on the [Edit] menu in the top menu bar and select "Show Artwork"
  • Make certain that the words appearing just above the artwork window say "Now Playing"
  • If it says "Selected Song" (as pictured below), click on those words once to change them to "Now Playing"
  • If you click on the artwork itself, it will open up in a larger window that will not change
  • Live web links may appear throughout the podcast if the creator put them in the enhanced podcast

Below is a picture of the cover art section of the iTunes window. Did you know you can increase or decrease the size of this window? See if you can figure out how.

Itunes Cover Art

How Do I Make iTunes play a Movie?
Presently none of our podcasts contain movie files. Those that do simply play the movie in the cover art window when you play them! Podcasts that are actually movie files have a tiny movie icon on the right hand side of their name.

posted on: June 27, 2005

Did You Know...

Did you know that if you click on the large purple circular "antenna" in the gray sidebar on the right, your computer will automatically launch iTunes 4.9 (if you have it installed on your computer) and take you to our school's podcasts. You will then be able to subscribe to MabryOnline's Podcast Central in the iTunes store by simply clicking on the "subscribe" button!

You can also just double click on a single podcast to hear it if you would prefer not to subscribe to all of our podcasts. However, if you subscribe, then as we post new podcasts, they will automatically download themselves to your computer and iPod when you launch iTunes! Talk about easy!!

If you don't have iTunes installed on your Windows or Mac computer, you can get it for free from this link.

posted on: June 26, 2005

Making Learning Irresitable for Over 25 Years.
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