Friday, February 27, 2015

Hosting a Webinar

                Taking the idea of using the internet to help in education, I took the biggest step and created a live show of myself.  This was not done lightly, as I struggled with the legal and logistical issues of broadcasting myself.  I undertook this action for two reasons, the first being that with the proliferation of this technology it was fairly easy to accomplish and it could prove to be a real benefit to students who are absent or unable to attend class.  The second reason being the true driving force of this activity as students who miss a day are usually lost when they return.  However, by being able to go back and view the actual lesson/lecture that was delivered in class they would be able to catch up with no problems.
                With this in mind I used a website called LiveStream which makes the process of broadcasting yourself incredibly easy.  Now I have to admit that I did not actually broadcast myself live, I actually recorded the video and then uploaded the video to the website.  The reason being, that I wanted to have an authentic lesson that I was teaching and I also wanted to respect the privacy of my students, to achieve this I did a video recording of my PowerPoint with my voice over the top.  This is what the Khan academy does with their lessons, which I have found informative and interesting to watch.   By also focusing on just the PowerPoint and my voice I did not have to worry about accidentally including a student’s face.  I was also able to capture the dynamic of teaching in front of a class and the questions that are raised in the actual recording. 
                The biggest challenge that I faced in the creating of this was trying to get the volume correct on the recording.  My first few tries I was either so soft you could not hear what I was saying or the other extreme of so loud my words were distorted.  I also had the microphone battery die during the recording, which I did not notice until I went back afterwards and listened to the recording.  Basically, it all came down to just using the technology and being comfortable with what I was doing.  The actual process of uploading the video on the website was easy and did not require any new learning.  In fact everything about the website LiveStream is simple and easy to use.   From the ability to upload a video, which I did, to the ability to stream directly off of a connected device, everything is basically a simple click with the mouse to get you what you want.  This website also offers this all for free, you can pay to have more options, but for my purposes the free account worked just fine.
                Honestly, I do not think that I will live stream my classroom anytime soon.  The recording aspect that I did for this assignment is definitely something that I am considering on doing on a regular basis but not the actual live stream.  With the CIPA and COPA and all of the privacy issues that involve students I just do not feel comfortable having a camera recording the happenings of the classroom.  For me personally I just do not believe that I have enough to say that would warrant a live stream.  While I love the technology and the possibilities that it provides, I just do not see myself using this in the future.

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