Blog - Dec 2018

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Nigel Demming

Live Streaming In Education

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Video as a medium for learning remains one of the most potent tools available in the educator’s toolbox and the increase in broadband speeds has meant that live streaming now offers educators increased opportunities to engage with students, parents and staff.

What is Streaming?
Streaming is a relatively new development which is gaining ground with the increase in broadband speeds.  It allows consumers to watch video in ‘real-time’ as it is being broadcast without the need to download the video file first. 

An internet broadcast in this manner is often termed a webcast or live stream. The popular iPlayer service from the BBC is an example of a streaming service where programs can be streamed live over the internet whilst they are taking place in the studio. Pre-recorded videos and movies can also be streamed.  Many broadcasters prefer to stream content whether live or pre-recorded because it is a continuous stream of data and therefore difficult for users to save the data and distribute it illegally.

How to use Live Streaming in the Classroom
One of the most obvious benefits of live streaming is that it allows students who are not present in the classroom to participate in the lesson from anywhere in the world. Live streaming lends itself well to close-up demonstrations in the sciences, technology and the arts. Good video hosting platforms can allow for interactivity from students globally.  If privacy is a concern, educators can set up their webcam or camera to only record themselves and the apparatus at the front of the room and not the entire class.  Audio could still be captured from the classroom.
Live Streaming can be used to keep parents and other stakeholders who cannot attend special events like awards, sports days, or plays, informed and involved in a school’s activities by connecting to the live stream.

There are six main objectives of live streaming in education:

  • Basic instruction
  • Classroom Enrichment
  • Accelerated learning
  • Distance Education
  • Global Student Collaboration
  • Professional Development

All of these objectives are now realisable using live streaming software.

Getting Started
The first step in getting started is to empower your staff and contributors with the ability to create informative video content quickly and efficiently.  To achieve this a PC with a Webcam is all that’s required along with video streaming and recording software.  

Screen Elf is video streaming and recording software developed to make the whole process of streaming and recording videos on your Windows PC as simple as it can possibly get. With only one setup dialog and a small footprint for use inside of any Windows or Office application,  Screen Elf gets you started immediately; you can record videos and capture screen content anywhere using your PC.

Video Streaming/Hosting Platforms
To stream content live you will need a subscription to a video hosting platform such as IBM’s UStream, Microsoft Stream, You Tube or Facebook Live etc. Most educational subscriptions cost as little as a few dollars per month per user.  Enter the connection details supplied by your streaming service provider into the Screen Elf set up dialog. These will consist of the URL of their Streaming Server, a Stream key and additionally a logon name and password.  

Multiple connection profiles can be created and stored in Screen Elf allowing you to connect and switch between many different streaming service providers to test and compare their platforms before you subscribe.  This is important because the quality and features of service providers will differ, and the requirements of School's or educational establishments are also varied. Let your admin staff try different platforms as part of your trial or feasibility study.

The best Video Streaming service providers allow you to stream live content, upload pre-recorded videos known as VOD or video-on-demand, monetize your videos, provide video search and analytics capabilities, all on a securely hosted platform with worldwide content delivery.

Conclusion
Live Streaming in education is set to grow exponentially as broadband speeds continue to increase and ever greater parts of the planet are connected to the internet. Live Streaming will allow interaction and collaboration above and beyond the classroom environment.  Monetization tools and Performance metrics built into video hosting platforms will allow educators to generate revenue from their teachings and identify the levels of engagement from their students.  Getting started simply requires a PC with a good webcam or camera and a subscription to a video hosting platform. Screen Elf is video streaming and recording software that provides an easy and cost-effective way for Windows Operating System users within your organisation to start participating in video streaming, recording and information sharing without leaving their desk.  

For further information see the How To section of the website.

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