Podcast features introduced on SC Department of Education web site

November 21, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – November 21, 2008 – The South Carolina Department of Education’s web site today introduced a menu of audio podcasts that offer new ways to access information on South Carolina public schools.

Visitors can listen to the new features via their computers or download them for “on-the-go” listening using portable media players such as IPods and other MP3 devices. 

“We’re excited about the possibilities,” said State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex.  “For us, podcasting offers a new way to communicate with parents, educators and the general public.  For users, it offers convenience.  It doesn’t matter when these programs are originally aired because you can listen to them any time you like, wherever you like.”

The new podcast features include:

• Speaking of Schools – This half-hour program, which airs Monday nights on South Carolina Educational Radio, is now available via podcast.  Host Doug Keel welcomes guests who share information on education in South Carolina.
• The Afternoon Drive with Jim Rex – Rex periodically shares his thoughts on the state’s public schools during the commute to his home in Fairfield County.
• Education News – This periodic feature offers full audio coverage and “behind-the-scenes” interviews on news events concerning public schools.  Examples include interviews with Mark Bounds, the Education Department’s Deputy Superintendent for Educator Quality and Leadership, on the topic of inappropriate relationships between teachers and students, and with Rex on 2008 PACT scores.
• The Week in Review – A summary of the previous week’s news stories about public schools.
• Pick of the Pods – Links to popular national podcasts about science, math, English and social studies.

Podcasting refers to the delivery of audio content to portable media players so that users can listen at their convenience.  Audio – and increasingly, video – can be downloaded from the Internet and “synched” to media players.  Another bonus is that users can “subscribe” to regular shows so that new installments are sent to users automatically.

Although the term “podcasting” comes from merging two words – “IPod” and “broadcast,” users don’t need an Apple IPod to enjoy podcasts.  Any device that reads MP3 files will work, and some web sites (including the South Carolina Department of Education’s) allow users to enjoy podcasting even if they don’t have portable media players.  These sites allow users to listen or watch using their computers.  An icon in the upper right hand corner of the department’s web site allows easy access to the podcasts.  They also can be accessed through iTunes.