Harnessing Student Creativity Without Losing Distribution Control

Eduvision_SwoopHow Can a Video Solution This Versatile Be This Simple and Affordable?

If you could start from scratch and design a broadband video solution that helped individual schools at once encourage and showcase the creativity of their students, and without losing control of what they produce, what would it look like?

• It would have to be useful by being simple and easy – no intense technology learning curves or temperamental format concerns to prevent quick implementation.
• It would have to be cost-effective – because no one has very many budget dollars sloshing around their books these days. (And if a school had the option to actually make money with it, how amazing would that be?)
• It would have to support effective school communications – as students publish video that demonstrates their wonderful creativity, community members can more easily see the power of technology-centered teaching and learning, which can make passing bond levies easier.
• It would have to be readily accessible and capable of going “live” – allowing students, parents, and other community members (even a worldwide audience via the Internet) to attend events from school-board meetings to graduations ... or access them through a 24/7 archive.
• And it definitely would have to be controllable – in our modern wired world, once something is “out there,” it’s out there forever, so putting it out there should be the result of conscious thought and direction, not poorly channeled enthusiasm.

Sound too good to be true? What you’d be designing would look almost exactly like what JDL Horizons have been developing for the past two years.
 
It’s called EduVision. And it’s already up and running in middle schools and high schools coast to coast.

System as Solution
More than a powerful video streaming platform, EduVision is a full-featured curriculum and communications package that essentially provides any school with its own IP television broadcast station. It’s built around Flash-format video streaming, the simplest and most trouble-free technology available for users of virtually any computer operating system – Windows XP and Vista, Mac OS-2, Unix, whatever. It works within a full range of Web browsers, from Internet Explorer and Firefox to Safari.

But because the design was made for educators, nothing goes up through a school’s EduVision portal without the approval of the school’s system administrator or designated category manager, a vital form of operating control not available in so many of the popular forms of “post it and share it” media outlets on the Internet these days.

Consider, for example, the most popular of all: YouTube. It’s estimated some 13 hours of new video are uploaded to this site every minute of every day. If you believe everything you read on Wikipedia, in 2007 YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet did in 2000.

Tend to think of it as the world’s biggest video sandbox. Virtually anybody can play – there’s room for everybody, no matter what they want to do – and it shows in what you can find buried in the sand. For example, type “school” into the Search function and among the most popular clusters it will recommend are not only “school days” and “school bus,” but “school fights 2008” and “School’s Out – Alice Cooper.”
 
EduVision uses the same Flash technology and can be accessed through the same web browsers, but in contrast to the YouTube sandbox, a video site based on JDL’s solution is more like a well-kept school facility: who comes in to learn, and what they bring with them, is funneled through a supervised entryway. People on the outside can see what’s published – and should have no doubts the student producers involved clearly enjoyed the learning process involved in making it. But what’s published is what the individual school decides best represents it to its community.

Like what? Here are just a couple of examples (to see these sites, please visit www.jdlhorizons.com/eduvision):
• On the EduVision site for the New York City schools, you can see how the science of robotics is being actively taught in math and science classes in high schools and middle schools – and, soon, elementary schools. You can learn how a fifth grade class created and delivered a theater production over the Internet. You can view the results of a collaborative high-school blogging project based on over three years of professional staff development and interdisciplinary instructional support. And that’s just for starters.
• On CatCast, the EduVision site created and run by students at Eagan High School, located in a south metro suburb of our home base in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, you can watch the school’s highly polished weekly magazine, take advantage of nearly 50 tutorials, or sample 70 infomercials created by and for its biology classes. (Last November, using GrandStadium.TV, our video streaming solution for high school sports, we broadcast, as an online pay-per-view event, all twelve state high school football semifinals from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis; all the video production was done by students from Eagan High – a five-camera shoot.)
• The alliance with eSchool News, the independently rated top information resource for curriculum and technology (www.eschoolnews.tv ), shows both the capability of EduVision and its ability to be integrated into an association, district or school website. In the recently introduced Student Video Network model, eSchool News editors select top news stories and supply the words: a two- or three-minute script per school day. Following a real-world broadcast media scenario, students produce field footage and, using an anchor desk format, read the accompanying script on camera. The best of this student-created content then becomes the eSchool News default video of the day, distributed to tens of thousands of K-12 decision-makers in the publication’s online news feed.

Simple and Sustainable
Unlike more technically involved video solutions, EduVision requires virtually no upfront investment in either technology or technical training. JDL Horizons provides complete portal management, hosting and distribution, including customization. (It’s your site, so why shouldn’t it have your colors, logos, even school song?) We also handle archiving and troubleshooting, and set up pay-per-view and advertising features. In case you’re wondering, schools that choose those options keep all the revenue they generate.
 
Your total investment is a simple and affordable annual subscription fee that covers bandwidth, storage, live broadcasts and on-demand viewership. Far from being a one-size-fits-all, it’s based on a sliding scale adjusted for the different needs of grade schools, middle schools, high schools, and districts. EduVision also includes a syndication feature: Once a video asset is approved, it can be provided to another trusted site, including other EduVision sites and eSchoolnews.tv.

EduVision gives students engaging and creative learning opportunities, in and out of the classroom, while offering teachers an innovative learning tool for both individual and group activities – one that’s constantly growing, too. Teachers can take advantage of Learning Symphony (www.jdlhorizons.com/symphony), JDL’s ever-expanding catalog of diverse curriculum packages targeted to specific national, state and local mandates. EduVision also integrates seamlessly with professional development seminars and workshops for teachers and school staff.

But that’s just for starters. Because it’s born digital, the content students create as a project-based learning experience this year becomes a resource for future classes. Even better, it can easily be made accessible to audiences on the outside, giving the local community an upbeat look at their school’s commitment to cutting-edge education, from the classroom, to the athletic fields and performance stages, to commencement ceremonies.
 
Best of all, EduVision does all this without requiring school administrators to give up content control. Instead, by enhancing that control with the user-determined option to add easily manageable forms of pay-per-view programming as well as advertising for onsite sponsors, or simply password protecting video, individual schools and ambitious districts alike now have a new opportunity for generating revenue.
 
When we say it’s more than simply a video streaming solution, we are emphasizing the many ways – including years of extensive focus groups – in which EduVision has been designed to meet the needs of the K-12 educator.

The simplest way to explore EduVision is to literally see for yourself. Go to www.EduVision.tv for a free test drive and consider not only how much creative potential EduVision provides, but also how much reliability and control it gives you.