A few days ago, the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint was released on CodePlex (our open source project hosting web site). For schools, it’s an opportunity to move into a multimedia, web 2.0 world, without losing control of either information, or users.
Up until now, many of the ways that people have used podcasting, and many other web 2.0 technologies, has led to a fragmentation of information – with podcasts being hosted on external sites, and made available to anybody. But what do you do if you only want your podcasts available to your own students or their parents, or only to a specific class group. Not everybody wants to publish all of their materials straight onto the Internet for anybody else to download/distribute!
The Podcasting Kit for SharePoint is a solution which allows you to retain control over information, and still make it widely available to those who have the right to it. By basing your podcasting system on SharePoint, you link it to your school’s user management through Active Directory – which means that you’re not creating yet another data store/identity list, and users can be given access to resources according to their role etc
You can provide a facility for all of the school staff and students to distribute audio and video podcasts within the school, and directly integrate that into the rest of your ICT infrastructure painlessly. Most schools in the UK either have, or are deploying, a learning platform, and by deploying it on SharePoint, you not only have single identity and access management, you can also integrate solutions such as these within the same environment.
The features of the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint are:
- Simple RSS feed based on a defined podcast series
- Simple RSS feed based on a person
- Dynamic RSS feed based on search results
This release is the beta, which we don’t recommend deploying it to production systems, and the full release is in September.
You can find out more, and download the kit from CodePlex. There’s also a short presentation which runs through the kit, available as a download.
We’ve been using it within Microsoft for the last 9 months, and it has demonstrated (1) how robust it is and (2) how much it improves communication between a community of 150,000+ people! I use the RSS feature on my mobile phone to keep up to date with any new podcasts published with the “education” tag.
And because it’s all on CodePlex, the community is already working on other projects to enhance it – like a very smart-looking mobile phone client to enhance the user experience. I can imagine that might be a hit with my eldest – because she seem to have her eyes glued to the tiny phone screen most of the time!