Video on Demand
Tech specialists from across the country discuss the systems they use to deliver multimedia content.
CCC Video on Demand
NAME: Richard Silvernail, director of technology and staff development district: Florence (SC) School District Five
WHAT we USE: CCC! Video on Demand (www.cccvod.com )
How we use it: Florence School District Five is a small rural South Carolina school district. We started using streaming video in our remedial labs and after-school programs. As we started putting more LCD projectors into the schools, teachers quickly picked up on the benefits of being able to merge video on demand with their daily lessons. Teachers are now using individual “chapters” from CCC! VOD in PowerPoint presentations, and students use them in reports and research papers.
Why I like it: Our state offers a competing product to South Carolina schools free of charge, but we pay for the CCC! VOD because I like the quality of the video, the depth and breadth of the content, the ease of the front-end software, and the ability to have the product delivered in-house over our existing network. Our teachers now use CCC! almost exclusively.
What I wish it could do: We would like to be able to have a wide area network so all the CCC! servers could talk with one another.
NAME: Catherine Parsons,assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and pupil personnel services district: Pine Plains (NY) Central School District
WHAT we USE: United streaming and Power Media Plus (www.discoveryeducation.com )
How we use it: My teachers say that VOD really enhances the classroom. Most teachers download content prior to teaching and run it locally or off the district’s hard drive.
Why I like it: The streamed videos are very high quality. Teachers like Power Media Plus’s podcast feature that lets them create and upload their own content. Unitedstreaming has excellent resources like lesson plans and a library of videos, still images, and primary source documents. But the most valuable aspect of both products is the Discovery Educator Network, where a group of like-minded users shares best practices.
What I wish it could do: This is not a major issue, but it would be nice to embed an editing tool into the product.
Name: Lee Solonche, director of education media services district: Vegas PBS Video Streaming Services, part of the Clark County (NV) School District
WHAT we USE: A variety of free and paid services
How we use it: Clark County is the largest district in Nevada, and the fifth largest district in the country, so we have a very diverse demographic: both rural schools and urban schools; our Hispanic population has tripled. We have to build a new school every month to keep up with the staggering growth. Streaming content is a great way to reach all of these populations. We provide a broad range of tech services including video streaming, massive amounts of video duplication, educational media library services, and online professional development.
Why I like it: We consider ourselves a hybrid. We have a 1GB Ethernet WAN, so bandwidth is not an issue, but we need to offer choices for our varied district. We offer content from commercial providers along with content we’ve created. Our schools prefer the ease of our video on demand, which allows them easy access and provides many instructional application options. For schools or classrooms that do not employ projectors or whiteboards, we use more affordable wireless scan converters to convert the digital signal to analog and send it to TVs.
What I wish it could do: In order to maximize the experience, it’s good to have significant training and support. We have that now, but I’d like to be able to provide it as much as possible in a variety of levels. I would like an army of trainers.
NAME: Della Curtis, coordinator of the Office of Library Information Services district: Baltimore (MD) County Public Schools
WHAT we USE: SAFARI Montage (www.safarimontage.com)
How we use it: We use SAFARI Montage to increase student achievement by teaching with a technology ideal for diverse learning styles and preferences. We can deliver media content with hypertext links to a Web-based curriculum that is searchable by both state and national standards. We also use SAFARI Montage to manage 165 school library media collections by converting them from the “plastic case/DVD model” to a server-based, digital model. We can manage and distribute our district digital assets produced by the Education Channel and school-based TV studios. We can also deliver anytime/anywhere professional development hypertext-linked within curriculum guides and other district publications.
Why I like it: We chose SAFARI Montage for its exemplary video content. We like that the local server-based solution in every school does not compromise the district’s bandwidth. Each school can manage its Safari server locally to produce media content. We like the Web-based video conferencing for professional development and connecting the educational community with a worldwide audience of experts and authentic learning.
What I wish it could do: I would like Safari Montage content to be searchable by our newly acquired Follett’s Destiny Library Manager. This would make it in essence a one-search interface that would bring search results from all our information and knowledge assets right to a student or teacher’s desktop.
Christine Weiser is a writer and editor who has reported on K-12 education technology for more than 15 years.