School’s effort to start video streaming opens possibilities

March 24, 2009 — by Tiffany Tseng

Imagine coming home from school, going online and being able to view all the morning announcements that you might have missed as well as pictures of the recent basketball game all in one streaming video. The next day, you could come home to watch the lecture from your biology class that same day to review the material you had been expected to understand in that short class period.

The new multimedia journalism class starting next fall, headed by video production and media arts teacher Tony Palma, has plans to host a Saratoga High website “channel” that will constantly stream videos. Although this idea is not new, the recent demand from teachers and students for a higher technological level of interaction has made it more necessary.

“People will be able to turn on their computer, go to this website at any time of day and see what it being aired,” said Palma. “The multimedia journalism class will be deciding the name of this channel and its content.”

The class is expected to run both live and prerecorded videos online, from simple billboard-like slideshows of pictures and announcements to more complex ideas such as live lectures, guest speakers and even the graduation ceremony. Possible videos that could be streamed also include student films, movies and news reports.

“The constant streaming will allow students to be more involved with all the various school activities because we will be able to re-air events like sports games,” Palma said. “The people who are actually able to watch sports and drama are limited, and we want to be able to highlight all the student activities.”

Palma hopes the streaming will allow events to be seen in real time. Students who will be leading this new multimedia journalism class will mainly come from the Media Arts 1 class, journalism 1, and the newspaper and yearbook staffs. The class will allow them the chance to work in a real television broadcast environment.

“[This project] will prepare students to enter a working field in this area because they will have had hands-on experience, which will make them much more desirable when looking for jobs or going to college,” said Palma.

In addition to learning useful skills, students will be taking advantage of technological advancements and incorporating them into the daily school experience. A new MAP building behind the woodshop is scheduled to be finished in August 2010, so the transition from the current classroom to a state-of-the-art facility will allow for the MAP classes and the video streaming project to reach their full potential in the next few years.

Palma said he hopes the video streaming will start next year, though funding for some expensive and needed equipment needs to be determined.

“We are planning to get our equipment from a variety of sources,” said Palma. “Cisco has some really good products and I would love to buy from them, but we’re looking at all kinds of alternatives because we want to spend our money appropriately.”

The main goal behind all these efforts is to create content that students want to see and allow for them to get news from multiple sources. One day, there may even be the possibility of viewing live feed from screens located at different spots on campus.

“It’s about opening up access to information and finding different ways to disseminate that information,” said Palma. “We have the newspaper and we have the morning announcements already. This will just be a new, advanced way of getting things out.”