Ok, so less than 10 minutes after posting about how nicely QuickTime plays with a Podcast Producer Server I decided to take a look at some of Apple’s other content creation tools and see if there is really a concerted effort across the board to encourage instant publishing. What I was curious about is if the suite of iLife applications enable a user to create and instantly, with a single click, share that content to the emerging campus infrastructure Apple is promoting — I am talking specifically about iTunes U, Podcast Producer, and Blogs. In all cases, it easy to share to .Mac and iWeb — two tools that do not play in most of higher education’s plans. What I found was interesting, if only to me.
Keynote is the best presentation tool on the Mac (or any platform) and it would only seem appropriate that I could instantly publish to Podcast PRoducer just like in QT. So I explored the “Send to” menu item and I get the option to share it with the other iLife apps and strangely enough, YouTube. Nothing for Podcast Producer.
I then figured it had to be under the Export option, but again nothing for Podcast Producer directly. I am guessing I could use the QuickTime export and then open in the QT Player and use its share to Podcast Producer feature … one step too many.
I figured since GB is the best Podcasting tool on the Mac it must play nicely with Podcast Producer. Again, nothing that sends it directly to Podcast Producer. I am also quite surprised given Apple’s push with iTunes U that it doesn’t allow you to go directly there as well. When you attempt to use the Share menu in GB you do get a few options that are of real value — again, letting you go right to a couple of the other iLife apps.
iMovie is a powerful content creation toolset that actually gets quite a bit of use on campus. Mostly used by students, it only seems obvious that you should be able to publish quickly and easily into spaces like iTunes U via Podcast Producer. Checking the Share menu there doesn’t offer anything too surprising, except for the YouTube option again. There is a really nice matrix for sharing that Apple provides, but nothing to go straight to PodCast Producer. Again, it looks like you have to send it to QT to get it to Podcast Producer quickly and easily.
Since the previous apps let me go directly to iTunes, I figured I should check to see how easy it is to publish out of that environment. I was really actually fairly amazed that I can’t do anything out of iTunes … but, upon further reflection, iTunes is built for managing and acquiring new content — not sharing it in the other direction. In this scenario, it is more like a platform much like iTunes U, a blog, or any other place content is stored, managed, played, etc.
So there it is … Apple has done an amazing job of giving us an end-to-end set of tools to create and share digital media — especially in education. I am not bashing on any of it, but what I am saying is that the consumer focus of Apple’s iLife suite keeps it from fully realizing its potential when it is used in a connected education setting where digital media creation and sharing is being promted. Asking students and faculty to understand how to use more than one application for creating and sharing content isn’t too hard, but it lacks to overall elegance that the solution could rely lean on.