York Region teacher who uses live-streaming technology so that students can share their video productions in real-time.
Provide intermediate students with hands-on understanding of the conventions and techniques associated with live video production.
Use live webcasting software to produce live newscasts via the web.
My name is Daniel La Gamba (OCT) and I am an ICT Program Consultant with the York Catholic District School Board. I use a laptop (pc) with WireCast for YouTube Studio (a software which allows you to stream live video directly to your YouTube Channel) to create live broadcasts. Many students can easily recognize the media elements (titles, lower thirds, transitions, chroma key, etc…) that are typical of newscasts. However, a more enriching experience can be promoted by having students craft such elements into a project that caters to an actual audience.
Initially, my students (at my former school in Woodbridge) were using iPads to create an array of videos that served a variety of purposes. A commonality shared by all of these videos was a desire by our Grade 8 students to be stewards to their peers. These videos touched on issues such as hand hygiene, volunteering opportunities, and guiding tips for Grade 7s before they enter Grade 8. Our students wanted to share these videos to a greater audience in the form of a live newscast.
Board personnel familiar with live stream production advised us on which equipment was necessary and accepted our invitation to coordinate this event as well. Adding such expertise into the equation gave students more fuel to consider how the newscast would start and end, how the news anchors would introduce each video, and how certain media elements would be utilized (e.g., lower thirds were used to introduce students when they first appeared in the live feed). In addition, a green screen allowed students to choose what background they wanted for the newscast (in our case, a brick background was selected).
Awareness about our newscast was raised by having students make announcements on the school’s PA system, a notice was placed on our school’s website, and I used twitter to tweet about this event. Prior to all of this, students involved in this project had to get consent forms signed by their parents.
I found that when students had to share a product they created with people outside of the classroom, they had extra incentive to take more pride in their work. It mattered to them what others would think of their efforts.
A live newscast requires plenty of preparation; an entire morning was devoted to ensuring that everything was operational for the afternoon feed. Student participation in this process only served to heighten their investment in this learning experience.
Doing something new is a great way to take risks and experiment. For instance, Wirecast Cam (a free app for the iPad) communicates with Wirecast software so that the video feed of any iPad can be recognized wirelessly. This can allow for multiple camera views to be included into a single live stream. Despite lacking the internet bandwidth to properly use this feature, it was still fun to play around with this option.
The sense of community this event sparked resulted in many messages of appreciation. Afterwards, it was a highlight to have a junior class visit the room used for the newscast so that questions could be asked about its production. Curiosity is a great way to beget interest! Please click here to view our live newscast.
You Can Do It Too!
What You'll Need
- iPad(s), iPad app for creating and editing video (e.g., iMovie), laptop, live streaming software (e.g., Wirecast for YouTube Studio), USB webcam (with tripod), green screen (with appropriate lighting), reliable Internet connection (use ethernet connection instead of wifi)
Steps to Take
- Obtain permission forms from parents to share videos.
- Create live event using YouTube account (this will provide the URL that the audience can reference for live feed) and promote event to target audience.
- Choose a quiet room for live video stream.
- Allocate sufficient time to ensure that equipment and software being used are working properly.
Worried about interruptions during a live video stream? Strive to anticipate things that might interfere with a live video stream (e.g., school announcements) and ask the right people to mitigate such issues.