Livestreaming in Education

This year we have been exploring how to provide the ability to livestream events at our district. Because we realized that there might be sensitive information (ie student names and birthdates) we wanted the ability to lock down the stream if we needed to.  Enter: Schooltube Super Channel.

schooltubeSchooltube offers various levels of accounts and channels for educators and schools. These range from free channels where teachers can post student videos, to premium channels and super channels. Each level gives you more features, including the ability to control your viewing settings (offering private, organization, or global viewing depending on your need for privacy), customize a banner, have unlimited storing space, and livestreaming.  We decided to go with a Super Channel because it offers the ability to livestream.  A Super Channel is only $995.00 a year for a school district and doesn’t require special equipment or expensive software to livestream. Our channel can be viewed here. (if it is in a restricted mode it is probably because we are livestreaming for our schools so check back)

What I love about Schooltube:

  • Easy to use tutorials
  • Great customer and technical support (I had a question and after submitting my issue was called by a great support person who took care of my issue the same day)
  • Easy ability to livestream using Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (a free application)
  • Great and easy way for our teachers to post classroom made videos and share them with all stakeholders through a url or embed code for websites and blogs (no more need to burn dvds at the end of the school year of class movies for students)
  • Video doesn’t take up space on our servers, it is all web-based
  • Very affordable for all the benefits

Some ideas for livestreaming:

  • Special events: Not all family members can attend events in person, why not offer livestreaming of it?
  • Hatching eggs in the classroom: We set up a ‘chickcam’ for our second grade students as our first livestreaming attempt. The students and parents were able to watch the eggs hatch 24/7 and then the chicks after that. Everyone loved it!
  • Announcements: Why not stream your announcements instead of just having them come over your intercoms?

What Schooltube needs to work on:

  • No district management/dashboard to connect all schools within a district. For instance, right now parents, teachers and students can register and link to a school, but only one. If our teachers want to link to our Super Channel they have to make sure they connect their account to the district account, not their individual building account.  I was told by their support person that they are planning on addressing this in their new upgrade.
  • No approval step for those who want to connect to the channel. Under normal publishing situations this isn’t an issue, especially if teachers and students use proper care in not giving out personal information within the videos. We are looking at streaming our announcements at the middle school so would like the ability to ‘lock down’ the channel when we livestream them in the morning. We can currently choose ‘organization’  so our teachers can login to view the announcements, but if someone creates an account and connects to the organization they can view them and we have no approval step to make sure they are truly members of the organization. (Again, hopefully they will address this with the district management tool in their upgrade)

Check out some of the great videos our students and staff have produced:

A Letter from 2070

Empathy as a Second Language

Never Forget

UPDATE: Schooltube no longer supports livestreaming, but there are other options to look into. These include Highschoolcube and of course Google Hangouts.

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