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Live Streaming for Education: Sharing Learning Experiences With the World

Do you have a lesson, demonstration, or activity that you feel would benefit from being live streamed? Perhaps not all of your students are in your classroom at the same time when you would like them to see you share something specific, like a science experiment or an art technique. Or, you wish to connect with a classroom somewhere else in the world, and are looking for a good way to collaborate.

Teachers and school administrators today have powerful technology at their fingertips, and using well-known platforms, they can stream lessons and events in their schools, allowing a wider audience to observe and even participate. Streaming technology also enables educators to bring subjects and events from around the world, like an animal sanctuary or zoo for instance, into their classrooms, which can create engaging, in-the-moment learning experiences.

Lesson Plans with Live Streaming

Teachers can stream an activity or lesson from their classroom, so that any participants who are not able to be in the classroom can still learn. Live streaming lends itself well to close-up demonstrations in the sciences, highly visual material, and perhaps, lessons that are relevant to wider audiences. Live streaming applications usually allow interactivity from the viewers, which allows the possibility of a more connected experience, with the addition of comments and live questions.

For privacy concerns, if a teacher wanted to share a lesson that they found particularly important, they could just set up their camera to only film themselves at the front of the room, and not the entire class. Or, students could sign a waiver to allow being filmed. Check with your school district’s guidelines on filming, to determine if there are any issues. Some potential issues of using this technology, is that it requires a strong internet connection, WiFi if used from a mobile device, and requires that all participants are using the same platform (Facebook, Skype, etc.). 

Flipping the idea around, videos streamed from a variety of sources and locations to the classroom can provide an incredibly exciting learning opportunity for students. This includes live streaming animals in zoos, faraway locations with exciting events, the possibilities of which, are endless.

School-Wide Events

School administrators can stream live events at their schools so that parents and others who are interested in seeing the event, but cannot attend for whatever reason, can still experience it—awards, plays, talent shows, guest speakers, etc. Perhaps an entire grade level could connect with a classroom across the globe, and collaborate as a large group. With teacher-created lessons, teachers and administrators alike can benefit from these videos, saved for later viewing, for professional development purposes. I have yet to find a streaming service that doesn't save the video for later viewing. 

Platforms

Facebook Live

Here’s how to use Facebook Live to stream a video to a Facebook Page or Group. Using a mobile device, and logged into Facebook, with the Page or Group that you will be streaming to already planned (you must be an administrator), select the field to create a new post. When the list of options appear, select “Go Live.” Create a title and any details or description, and then select Go Live. There is a short countdown before it will begin recording. Both teachers and administrators should utilize hash tags when describing their Facebook Live videos, so students, educators, parents, and learners around the world can find relevant videos. If you seek additional Q and A, visit this Facebook page.

Skype in the Classroom

With Skype in the Classroom, you can “Find, Create, and Share a Lesson,” on a platform that is really an entire online community. It enables thousands of teachers to connect with other educators and experiences across the globe. It essentially uses the same, free Skype platform, which allows for a secure user account on both ends of the connection. In addition to the well-known platform, Skype (Microsoft) for Education has created countless videos about subjects far and wide. There are five ways to use the service: virtual field trips, Skype lessons, Skype collaborations, mystery Skype, and guest speakers. To learn more about this platform, visit the site.

YouTube Live Streaming

Many organizations and educational centers have chosen YouTube to create a channel, and live stream videos of their content. A good example that could be a unique, educational opportunity is Explore.org’s channel, called “Explore Bears & Bison,” where they feature a live stream of an animal sanctuary with Panda bears. Another example is the Monterey Bay Aquarium's live stream of their Jelly Fish exhibit. When searching for choices on YouTube, look for the red “Live Now” icon in your search options. This means there is an ongoing stream at that very moment. You can also create your own channel and use YouTube as your platform for live streaming as well. For more information about how to set up your own videos, visit the YouTube site.

 

Written by Melissa Pelletier, Education Technology Contributor