Low-Cost Internet Video Streaming For Educators

A low-cost way of video-streaming to use and distribute information online has been described in the US by Thomas McNeal Jr. and Landon Kearns.

Their article, “Using Video Streaming: Setting up a Cheap System for Distributing Information to Teachers and Students” explores how to set up a streaming system, using tools readily available in classrooms.

Vintage computers and hardware can be used and the only cost involved, is the time it takes to build the unit.

The ‘Join Together” project initiated by Dr Harold Johnson from Kent State University aimed to “investigate the use of video-conferencing and streaming video as a means of delivering information about new ideas in the field of deaf education”.

The team talked with select companies, but found prices to be prohibitive.

Creating streaming videos requires a powerful computer, but the videos can be viewed on a computer with an Internet connection and video player. With this in mind the team experimented and found a system that worked.

The systems are used as a communication channel with both speech and sign language used through video.  Educators of deaf students have used this feature to share slide shows and documents at the same time.

Subsequently, the organizers looked at sharing the information with a larger group. As outlined in the article “videoconferencing and streaming may reduce the isolation of students and instructors and give students the ability to observe some of the best teachers in their classroom”.

Although the example used was in a university it could just as easily be used at a school or workplace. The system involved was found to cost less than $1,500. With many schools and colleges hit by budget cuts,  this affordable solution means education does not have to suffer in leaner times.

Full details on setting up a system like this and the original article (in PDF format) are on theEducation Resources Information Center website.

(compiled by Miriam Walsh

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