More and more educational websites are including multimedia features, opening up new learning opportunities for literacy students. Unfortunately, Internet software being used in educational settings is often not current enough to play audio, video or animation. If this is the case with your software you may have run into error messages like this.
To fix this problem you need to install or upgrade special software that works with your browser to extend its capability. This type of software is called a plug-in or a player. RealPlayer by RealNetworks (www.real.com) is a common player that plays streaming audio and video. Quicktime made by Apple (www.apple.com) is also a plug-in used for viewing movies. Flash by Macromedia (www.macromedia.com) is a Web standard for viewing animation and vector graphics. Shockwave, also by Macromedia is a program for delivering and viewing interactive multimedia and streaming audio.
When you click on a multimedia object on a webpage and your brownser doesnt have the appropriate plug-in to play it, you are usually prompted to download the plug-in. This message should automatically take you to the companys website where you can download their plug-in.
Once you get to their website, finding the plugin isnt always easy because companies often direct you to the full version of their software which you must pay for. All of the companies mentioned above make a basic, free version of their software. The free version is all that you need. The next thing the company often requires you to do is provide all of your vital statistics including your email address. Just remember that no one would fault you if your finger slipped when you were typing your email address. One benefit of this clumsiness is that you'll not be inundated by unsolicited emails.
What you download from the Internet is not the complete software but the setup file. Then you must double-click on this file to install the software. As you are doing this you may again be asked to provide your email address to register the software. The software will also ask you if you want the company to contact you when a new version of the software is available. Be careful to deselect all of the options that allow the company to send you information automatically. If you dont do this, the next time you need to use the software with your students your lesson is likely to be interrupted with a message that asks you if you want upgrade the software.
For step by step instructions on how to download and use a plug-in, checkout the Plug-in Tutorial at http://einstein.cs.uri.edu/tutorials/hpr319/plugin/plugin.html .
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