Live streaming our School's Nativity
Streaming an assembly or performance may give some parents the chance to join in with the school celebrations rather than miss them due to work commitments.
As Christmas approaches there are going to be numerous opportunities to broadcast some of our celebrations with our school community.
The first event that we are going to try and stream is the first Advent assembly we will have on Monday 3rd December. During December, our Junior department hold daily assemblies to remember the Christian tradition of Advent. We sing songs, read parts of the Advent story and light the candles on our wreath. I will be streaming our first Advent assembly to link with the Global Classroom Christmas around the World Project that I have been involved in co-ordinating.
If successful, I am hoping to then stream the EYFS and Key Stage 1 Nativity play for any parents or classes involved in the project that want to view it.
Over the last few days I have been looking at the best ways to stream in school.
There are different ways to stream, based on the device you have, these are the best options I have found so far:
From a PC: The best and easiest way to broadcast on a PC is using Google Hangout. This is a free service that basically lets up to 10 people join a video conference. At first I was worried as to whether the 10 can be extended as I would expect/hope more than 10 would watch. After tweeting other teachers it was @DeputyMitchell who made me aware of the Youtube add on. This allows you to broadcast your live hangout on YouTube providing a link for anyone outside the hangout to view! Once the hangout has finished YouTube automatically turns it into a YouTube clip. Sounds perfect and saves time! Problem??? The YouTube option is not available on tablets or phones.
iPad/iPhone - I was distraught to realise that the Google+ app, although it supports Google Hangout, does not have the YouTube public broadcast option! Ideally it would be the iPad I would stream from due my PC laptop only having a webcam attached to the top of the screen therefore making it very impractical to record a school assembly or show. The iPad is perfect as it is lighter more easily maneuverable.
I was getting frustrated and put out a tweet hoping to find an answer. Some teachers got back suggesting some apps that allow you to stream from your iPad such as Ustream and LiveStream. However the free options allow you to stream but will interrupt with adverts every so often, my worry is whether the adverts will be appropriate and may lead to a parent missing the crucial line of their child therefore rendering the whole process pointless!
Finally I have found probably the best options for using an iPad. The app webcamera turns the iPad into a webcam for your PC over the WiFi. You need to buy the app and then download the free PC software. But after testing it seems to work well meaning that the Google Hangout can be set up on the PC linking with YouTube but the webcam being the iPad.
I did initially download iWebcamera first!! (So annoying when you buy an app to find a better one!!) however this app does not have audio support, meaning the iPad will be the camera but if the laptop is out of reach no sound will be recorded.
I am still not sure which is the best option however I am looking to test both methods - Google Hangout on PC using Webcamera on iPad and the Ustream on iPad. I will report back on which I feel is the best and most efficient method however after two days of investigating I wanted to share the options if anyone is thinking about doing the same.