Another insightful guest post from Matt Stockman, here he explains how to set up your very own ChickCam.
Having a ‘chick hatching’ project in schools is becoming more and more popular, especially as advances in technology and broadband speeds have made it easier to make sure students never miss a thing — even outside of school hours.
It is easy to live-stream the chick hatching; all you need is a PC, webcam, a YouTube account and some free encoding software. Students can then watch the chicks from home and share what they are learning in school with parents, helping to encourage links between home and school.
To setup the livestream, follow the Google instructions here: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2474026?hl=en-GB .
There is a section on setting up the live streaming encoder — a key part of the process. I went with Xsplit Broadcaster, which seemed one of the easiest to use. One extra step that may be needed is to ask your IT support to make the following change on your firewall in order to allow the livestream out of the school network without getting blocked or filtered: they may need to allow the RTMP protocol over both port 80 and 1935.
The beauty of running the livestream through YouTube — other than it being free — is that everything is recorded, so after the event you can go back and edit the hours of video footage into a neat highlights package — or ask students to do this if your school’s devices allow.
Working with film shot in their own school is powerful for students, most of whom are likely to be familiar with YouTube! Students could add commentary over the top of the footage to evidence what they have learnt throughout the project.
You could also link the footage with a Web 2.0 tool, like Thinglink — which allows links to be added to video or images — so that students can create a screen capture (print screen or the snipping tool is great to use with paused video) and then annotate it with links to other resources or their own writing through a Google doc. See this previous post on Thinglink to learn more.
Matt has worked in education for over 12 years, both as part of the Discovery Education technical support team and as a Network Manager in two London secondary schools. He has a great interest in technology and in particular how it can be used to support teachers and engage students, making learning as fun and exciting as possible. Matt hopes to be able to share some of his experience through these posts and explain why he thinks certain technologies work well in education. Another big passion of Matt’s is attempting to close the gap between “techies” and teachers , to make sure they speak the same language to achieve the same goals of improving students learning — so expect to see this discussed in other posts.