What technology challenges are you facing today? A recent forum of CTO's found that while funding is an on-going issue there are other challenges that can be equally as daunting.
To compound the technology issues, a recent survey found that only 51% of school districts had their own IT Director. This means 49% of Districts are staffed by a part-timer (i.e. Principal or Teacher) or the position is not staffed. Given the growing importance of integrating IT and Digital Learning this could be a major obstacle for many districts.
We've highlighted some of the challenges and provided resources where available to help you chart a course.
For more information please contact us a 800-601-6991 or visit our website at http://synergybroadcast.com/contact.
Video & Technology
And other things to worry about...
Technology Challenges Facing K-12 Education
What technology challenges are you facing today? A recent forum of
CTO's found that while funding is an on-going issue there are other
challenges that can be equally daunting and include:
Bandwidth and infrastructure
Video and Media delivery
Teacher training and support
Many school districts made the full leap into digital and updated
bandwidth; moved to digital textbooks, swapped out TV's for
projectors and even moved relevant Cable TV channels to their IT
network and adopted BYOD strategies.
However, according to the Education SuperHighway's National
School Speed Test, 72% of America's public schools lack the
broadband speeds needed for digital learning so that means a large
percentage of schools have not made the full leap and are looking for
To compound the technology issues, a recent survey found that
only 51% of school districts had their own IT Director. This means
49% of Districts are staffed by a part-timer (i.e. Principal or
Teacher) or the position is not staffed. Given the growing
importance of integrating IT and Digital Learning this makes for a
Are you concerned about tech’s future? Here are 10 Steps
Technology Directors can take to stay relevant in K-12.
Video Delivery Challenges
In addition to the standard challenges, increasing use of video puts
additional stress on your network. Some of the challenges districts face or
will face include:
Delivering video to the classroom
Whether to adopt a Flipped Learning model and, if so, how
Rising Cable TV fees for digital cable
Managing existing video libraries and maintaining rights
Local and global communication to all schools via TV's and
Live video announcements
Streaming School Board Meetings Live and On Demand
BYOD & Wireless
Ownership or Off Site Hosting
Video in the Classroom
Video is an extremely useful tool in education and it can play multiple
roles in the classroom. Edudemic says that YouTube and other online
sites are popular and prominent places for young people to flock and
educators should take the hint and implement more video-based
learning and offers several suggestions on how to use video more.
Encourages creativity and collaboration.
Can start new lessons with a bang.
Has always been a key component in education but has many
more options today.
What are Some Ways to Use Video in the Classroom?
Use video to introduce a topic.
Use video to summarize a topic after a lesson or discussion.
Use video segments to stimulate discussion or interaction.
Take students on a video field trip.
Use video for things you can’t duplicate in class but are relevant.
Flip your classroom or at least some of your lessons.
Authenticity for foreign language and history classes.
Student video projects so they can show off their creativity.
Video book reviews or reports.
Use video to encourage critical viewing and thinking.
Use video to teach interviewing and questioning skills.
Download our ebook on How to Use Video in the Classroom.
Why Use Video?
Build listening, observation and verbalization skills.
Develop critical thinking skills.
Engage and motivate.
Show new resources and expertise.
Illustrate different approaches.
Connect real-world applications to classroom
activities and concepts.
Flip the Classroom
The Flipped Learning Network conducted a survey and found that
88% of teachers who flipped their classroom reported improved job
satisfaction. In addition, teachers reported improved student
attitudes (80%) and increased test scores (67%) and the vast
majority of teachers responding said they would continue to use
flipped learning in their classroom.
Flip the Classroom
In addition to video in the classroom there is significant buzz
about flipped learning and how it changes the structure of a
typical classroom. In Flipped Learning, the teacher provides
a video, or other means of conveying a classroom lesson for
homework and then uses class time for problem solving, oneon-one and group time to dig further into the topic.
As part of their research FLN recommends six styles of video with
thoughts on how to use them:
Use video to introduce a topic.
Use video in the middle of class as an interlude to introduce
a problems or challenge.
Use video to introduce homework.
Ask students to reflect or comment on a video.
Allow students to teach using video.
Use video to engage parents.
Mistakes to Avoid?
Everyone who tries flipping their classroom makes mistakes. That’s
how we learn and grow. One way to help in your transition is to
learn from other’s mistakes.
Cable TV to IPTV Conversion
Has your local cable provider increased the fee for digital
cable? For many districts the increased cost is just too much.
Alternatives to a cable box on every TV or projector is to put
them at the headend and stream the channels teachers
actually need over the network. The upfront cost associated
with this move pays for itself quickly in reduced cable bills.
Managing Existing Video Libraries and Rights
Most schools own some videos, and licenses can extend
many years into the future, which makes it important to pay
attention to copyright and how schools handle video.
As an example, if a teacher uploads a purchased video to
YouTube for students to watch on their own, the district
has likely violated Federal Copyright law. If the author
discovers this violation the district can be held liable for
unauthorized use or distribution. A private video network
organized for your curriculum makes sense versus a
Off Site Hosting
There are pros and cons to off site hosting services
and they make sense for some applications because
of the speed with which they can be configured and
However, video offers some different challenges:
● Video files are big so storage can be more
costly and is an on-going expense.
● Bandwidth charges can fluctuate each month
depending on usage so budgeting is tougher.
● Single Content providers limit choice versus a
solution that can take any video file you own,
lease, buy or create.
● Maintaining a private and closed, content
distribution network helps you manage copyright
and user rights and reduces potential abuse.
Live School Announcements
Live video announcements provide a fun way for students to
get involved with TV and video. It also teaches them how to
plan, organize, present, collaborate and other real world skills.
In the past, this effort required very expensive equipment and a
TV professional with technical chops to manage the process.
Today, video announcements can be done with very limited
equipment and streamed over the school’s network thus
making it much more popular and affordable.
Stream School Board Meetings Live and On Demand
Districts that don’t have access to local Public, Education or
Government cable TV channels can broadcast their public
meetings over the Internet. The cost versus funding a TV
station is significantly less and the broadcast is not limited to a
specific channel, cable system or geography. As an example, if
your local PEG channel is on Verizon, DirectTV and Dish
viewers will not be able to watch the meeting.
Streaming provides much more flexibility along with the
potential for viewers to use their tablets or mobile devices to
watch from anywhere in the world. Past meetings can be made
available using video on demand for added convenience.
Broadscale communication throughout a school
district can be problematic because:
Campuses are geographically dispersed.
Cable TV is not on a shared network since
each campus is separate.
Display options vary from campus to
Announcement systems vary from campus to
Older schools may only have a suitable coax
system while newer skills may not have coax
at all and rely totally on their network.
So the challenge is how to network all campuses
together on a single system so it works seamlessly
on different local networks and cable systems?
Adopting Bring Your Own Device presents a special set
of circumstances to IT and complicates support.
However, as it relates to video, one format (H.264) is
compatible with most devices students bring to school.
This can take some of the headaches away from
integration and support. Wondering what the pros and
cons of BYOD are? Here’s a link to an article from
SecureEdge networks you may find helpful. You can also
find a toolkit from K-12 Blueprint here.
The problem with older forms of wireless is their lack of
bandwidth. The latest version of WiFi is 802.11ac and it
holds the promise of providing significant bandwidth to
handle video. While not fully mature, 802.11ac should
evolve over time via software upgrades to take maximum
potential of the space. Click here to see the 802.11ac A
Survival Guide available from O’Reilly Media or click here
for a video introduction to 802.11ac from Aerohive.
What’s Your Strategy?
Moving forward is there an absolute right way to proceed? Three basic approaches come to mind:
Attack each issue with
a different, separate
Go for a full,
that covers all of
the bases but may
Adopt a modular system
that can be integrated,
one module at a time and
provides the benefits of a
turnkey system with the
budget friendliness of
Designed for school districts with:
Pressure to do more with less
Demands for better technology.
● Adds no hardware to the classroom
● Cost effective
● Scalable to any size district
● Easy to understand
● Simple to use
● Needs no extra support
● Requires no annual license
● Can use any video content
Content acquisition and management
Streaming and broadcasting
Video on Demand
Cable or IPTV
Cable TV to IPTV conversion
Teacher Uploader for Flipped Learning
Video delivery to remote locations/schools
Live school video announcements
Stream School Board Meetings and other events.
Click for more info...
A cost-effective and modular approach to K-12 Video that provides flexibility, scalability.
VideoCourier is available from Synergy Broadcast Systems. Call or visit our
website for more information.
About Synergy Broadcast
16115 Dooley Road Addison, TX 75001
Tel: 972-980-6991 or 800-601-6991
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