Picture This: Video Streaming To Your Classroom

from Educators' eZine

With new technologies comes new ways of developing and delivering educational resources. The Internet has opened up an exciting new realm of useful content. However, with such a vast repository of information there comes the problem of deciphering what is quality and relevant content.

Streaming Video can provide a very powerful tool that can enhance the learning environment both in and out of the classroom. It allows you as the teacher to enhance the classroom experience by playing media in the classroom with a simple click on a web link. Students can access the videos to study for exams, review information that they may have not clearly understood, or watch the video to build on what was presented in class.

How Does Streaming Video Work? One source says, "Streaming media is the simultaneous transfer of digital media (video, voice and data) so that it is received as a continuous real-time stream. Streamed data is transmitted by a server application and received and displayed in real-time by client applications such as Microsoft's Windows Media Player or QuickTime Player. These applications can start displaying video or playing back audio as soon as enough data has been received and stored in the receiving station's buffer."

Tools to Use Without plug-ins, your Web browser may not be able to display interactive media or animations, play streaming audio or video files, or display government forms. Fortunately, you can download them free from the Web, and they install easily onto your computer. The best known are:

RealPlayer 8, free version
RealPlayer handles streaming audio (including live radio), streaming video (like the Survivor video clips), TV Webcasts (like Big Brother), animations, and multimedia presentations. Platforms: Windows 95/98/NT/2000, Macintosh 8.1 and up. Browsers: IE 4 and up and Netscape 4 and up.

Quicktime 4.1.2, free version (Apple Computer, Inc.)
Quicktime handles video, sound, animation, graphics, text, music, and virtual reality. Many Web sites are now using Quicktime files to display videos. Platforms: Windows 95/98/NT, Macintosh OS 7.7.5 and up. Browsers: IE 3 and up and Netscape 3 and up.

Other Benefits:
Streaming Video provides educators with so many benefits it is amazing that more teachers are not using this technology to enhance their instruction. Consider this list:

most players are free,
videos can be seen anywhere an Internet connection is available,
substantial collections of video and audio are easily accessible,
the technology requires very little in system resources,
links to videos can be placed in Web Pages or e-mails,
video is never entirely on students hard drive, so students cannot share it illegally,
and, finally, video Streaming content is always current and up-to-date.

Where to Get Streaming Videos for the Classroom?
Educational video-on-demand or video-streaming programs offer a unique opportunity to allow students and teachers access to a wide variety of quality programming without limited access to popular video programs, lost videos, or the need for multiple formats for different users within the school.

Here are a few resources to explore. The first three streaming video or video-on-demand resources are proprietary and the last two are the free streaming video sites for the classroom.

Discovery Education streaming