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Educational Youtube-style projects are quickly becoming a popular way to incorporate creative technologies into curricular and extra-curricular activities, and it's easier than you may think to set up your own channel.
There are many companies offering schools the equipment, platforms and training required to create a multimedia broadcasting station that allows users to upload content for viewing and rating by students and teachers. Sites are completely customisable to each school, from the colours and branding to security levels so that only those with a valid username and password have access.
One school using this technology to great effect is Wildern School in Southampton. Katie Broadribb, a teacher at Wildern, spoke at BETT about how the school was looking for a way in which they could develop an innovative project they called 'EduTube' - a safe and secure website where the students could upload video, audio and photography to share with fellow students. Wildern were winners of the Becta Best Whole School (Secondary) award in 2007, and had received funding from DCSF's Innovation Unit to develop this idea as part of a project to bring web 2.0 technologies to schools.
Displaying students' creative talents
Wildern School enlisted the help of Trilby Multimedia's 'Trilby TV' platform and, in 2007, set up Wildern TV. The site acts as a platform for the students to display their creative talents and also helps to develop students' (and teachers') understanding of ICT, media skills, team work and real world issues encountered in the creative industries, such as copyright and funding.
Trilby TV is a fully managed system; the Trilby team take care of any hardware or software issues. When it comes to website content and moderation, the school has the freedom to decide on the best approach. Wildern School decided that Wildern TV was to be a site for the students by the students, and so set up an extra-curricular group called 'The Wildern Moderators' who decided what could or could not be uploaded. Training was given to the moderators by local production companies and regional TV & Radio stations. The students also formed a separate extra-curricular group called 'The Wildern Producers', who were all given training in production, lighting, editing and sound.
Since setting up Wildern TV, the school has reported high levels of student engagement and it is even capturing the imagination of disruptive students. It is a platform that anyone in the school can contribute to and its popularity amongst the students means that new content is constantly being submitted.
If you do decide to invest in equipment to set up your own channel, it is important not to leave your teachers in the dark about how to use it. Get everyone involved, from all faculties, and show them how your TV channel can benefit their department. At Wildern School, the students were given a (probably well deserved) inset day, whilst the teachers were split into their subject faculties and set the task of making a film about their own department. This not only taught the teachers how to use the technology, but also demonstrated how fun it can be to make a film; the teachers could now relate to the students' enthusiasm for multimedia-based projects.
Wildern TV has just reached the end of its first full year of broadcasting and, to celebrate, the school held their very own 'Wildern Oscars', a full-on glitzy award ceremony honouring the best films that had been submitted over the course of the year. This could be the start of a great annual tradition at the school and has been well received by the students. With the new incentive to work towards next year's awards, the standard of film making can only get better.
If you are interested in introducing a project like this to your school, all you need is a dedicated server to run the unique web platform software and store uploaded footage, a suite of powerful machines suitable for video and audio work, and students with a streak of creative flair. If you want to add that little bit extra, why not also look at displaying some plasma screens around your school so that your TV channel can be broadcast throughout the day for all to see? The Apple Macbook and iMac are ideal for producing high quality content in schools. They come pre-installed with Apple's acclaimed iLife suite, which makes the Mac a movie-making, audio-producing, photo-editing, website-creating, DVD-authoring machine straight out of the box.
To find about more about how to set up your own TV channel, give us a call on 03332 409 333 or email us at learning@Jigsaw24.com. For more news on technology in Education, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter and 'Like' Jigsaw Education's Facebook page.