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Virtual Field Trips - Partnering with Teachers and Parents

Educators,

Scholastic has long been your partner in the classroom, delivering free educational content and classroom resources directly to you and your students. Our online classroom events, such as our Virtual Field Trips, Virtual Author Visits, and Literacy Events were developed to support and enhance many of the subjects in your lesson plans — from language arts to history to social studies — and work in tandem with the online and print materials you're already using. Not only are they a cost effective (FREE!) educational tool for you, they also offer students the opportunity to virtually visit exciting locations or meet their favorite authors.

Since Scholastic broadcast the first webcast in the Fall of 2008, we have continued to incorporate your valuable feedback into our planning process. Because of your insights, we've been able to define a number of key requirements that will ensure a more successful and more consistent experience for you. And because we want to ensure that your experience is as effortless as possible, and that your students get the most of this valuable opportunity, we're asking that you please take a moment to review our technical requirements, tips and FAQs, and then share them with your school IT staff.

In the meantime, we love to hear from you as we strive to make all of our online classroom events as informative, educational, and engaging as possible. Please continue to send us your feedback at LiveWebcasts@scholastic.com, and thank you for all you do — for us, and for your students.

Sincerely,

Billy DiMichele
Vice President, Corporate Productions & Creative Services, Scholastic Inc.

Technical Requirements for Live Webcasts

The following are mandatory technical requirements for Scholastic live webcasts:

  • Install Flash: You will need Flash version 10 or higher.
  • Check Bandwidth: You will need a minimum of 500kbps bandwidth per user in your school. For example, if 10 different classrooms in your school network are watching the webcast, you will need 5,000kbps (5mbps) of bandwidth. Test your bandwidth at least one day prior to the event at the same time of day the event is scheduled.
  • Test Live Access: If you see the video playing, you are set for the webcast. If your school restricts access to various sites, ports or proxies, please talk to your IT department and please see our ports section below for accessing our live events. The IT department only needs to allow access and open the port temporarily for the time of the webcast.

Technical Tips

The following are helpful tips that will help to ensure a successful live webcast viewing experience:

  • Close Unnecessary Applications: If too many applications are running, your computer speed can be compromised, which can affect your viewing experience. Close down any unnecessary applications before connecting to the webcast.
  • Restart Your Browser and Limit Open Tabs: If your browser has been open for a long time or it’s open with multiple tabs, your computer speed may be compromised. Restarting your browser should resolve this issue.
  • Confirm Your Bandwidth: For most users available bandwidth is dependent on the overall consumption within your network. It is important to confirm your bandwidth capacity for the specified webcast time with your technical department, especially if you are planning on accessing the event on multiple computers. Most webcast issues stem from not having enough bandwidth. To this end, we will always have a replay of the event available for those who have connection issues.
  • Limit Internet Access on Your School Network During the Webcast: The required 5,000kbps (5mbps) of bandwidth applies to your entire school, so anyone using the Internet – even if they’re not watching the webcast – is still using up part of that bandwidth. It's a good idea to request limited Internet usage during the time of the webcast.

Above all, staying in regular communication with your school’s IT department in advance of, and during, webcasts will help ensure a successful experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that you review these with your school IT department:

Q: Can I view the webcast on my iPad or other mobile device?
A: At this time we do not offer streaming for the live webcast on iPad or other mobile device, but you can watch the replay on your iPad and mobile devices. The supported operating systems on mobile devices are Android 2.2+ and all iOS.

Q: What is the running time for a webcast?
A: A typical webcast runs for 30 minutes.

Q: What browsers are supported?
A: Internet Explorer 7+; Firefox 2+; Safari 3+; Chrome 3+

Q: Do I need Flash for viewing?
A: Yes, please download the most recent version of Flash

Q: My presentation rebuffers a lot and when the video plays, it is choppy... what is the problem?
A: There are a few possible reasons:

  • Not Enough Bandwidth: You need 500kbps of available bandwidth per computer. Test your bandwidth.
  • Overloaded Machine: If you have too many applications open, your computer speed will be affected, which can compromise your viewing experience. Close down unused applications during the webcast.
  • Overloaded Browser: Too many open tabs on your internet browser can also slow down your computer. Restarting your browser should resolve this issue.

Q: The video won't play at all...what should I do?
A: You may be experiencing difficulties with video for the following reasons:

  • Unsupported Versions of Flash Player: We suggest you test your system and download the latest version of Flash Player, if required.
  • Internet Connection Interrupted: Ensure that your connection to the Internet is active.
  • Port Connection Problems: See our ports section below for accessing the video from behind a corporate firewall.

Q: What ports need to be open?
A: Here are some technical tips, which you should pass along to your System Administrator:

  • Accessing Media Files From Behind a School Firewall: Occasionally, school firewalls and/or proxy servers do not allow video to play through internal networks. You will need to either connect to the broadcast site from outside of the firewall or ask your IT department to open "Port 80" which supports audio & video streaming. You only need to open the port for the time of the webcast and can close it again once the live event is finished.
  • Generally, Port 80 is Not Blocked on Any Network: As this is the standard port for normal web traffic, it is more likely that your Systems Administrator disabled access to the "rtmp://" protocol.

Q: I cannot hear the audio when the presentation is playing...what should I do?
A: Verify that your speakers are turned "on," with the volume set at an audible level; that the volume controls in the video player are set to an audible level; and that you do not have "mute" checked in your computer volume settings.

Q: Why does the audio sound scratchy, or inconsistent?
A: Make sure your speakers are connected, turned up, and your connection to the Internet is active. Also, confirm that you have enough bandwidth.

Q: I cannot login to the presentation...why not?
A: You will need the email address you used to register in order to login to the presentation. Please re-register if you have forgotten which email address you originally used.

Q: The video froze in the middle of the live presentation...what happened and what can I do?
A: It may be that others on your school network are also using the internet, which is decreasing your available bandwidth. Try refreshing your browser.

Q: I am having trouble viewing the webcast and I am missing it! Will it be available for replay?
A: Yes, a replay of the webcast will be available shortly after the live event.

Download a guide detailing everything listed above.

For customer service assistance call 855-web-event (855-932-3836)

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