Educators use television in the classroom to reinforce and expand on material being taught, increase student interest in learning and better address a variety of learning styles. The SnapStream Server puts TV in every classroom without having to wire each room with cable or supply each classroom with DVRs, VCRs and TVs. SnapStream TV search technology gives teachers the ability to search within TV recordings and pinpoint content of interest; then clip that content and download it, stream it right to the classroom, quickly and easily. Most importantly, teachers do not have to wait and rely on other people to do it for them.
As an example, let’s say you’re doing a lesson plan on Obama. You can simply type in "Obama" and SnapStream will bring up a list of TV programs where his name was mentioned. You can even have an email alert sent to you notifying you of mentions of whatever it is you’re looking for. Read more about SnapStream email alerts.
With SnapStream, administrators can easily control who can access the server and what features they have access to. For example, administrators can manage permissions based on user groups – e.g., teachers might have permission to schedule and record, but not delete, programming - eliminating the possibility of accidentally deleting another teacher's programs. SnapStream makes it easy to bring TV into the classroom.
Recently, Forsyth County School district incorporated SnapStream into their classrooms. Director of Technology Services for Forsyth, Mark Klingler noted, “Its simple easy-to-use interface gives teachers the ability to record and search straight from their desks.” Read more about how Forsyth County K-12 schools are using SnapStream .
I was deep in marketing-land on Thursday (also known as "writing a case study"), when I heard about the US Airways plane that crash-landed in the Hudson. I grew up in Houston, but lived in NYC for 5 years and moved back last year. I still have lots of friends there...so when I hear news like that coming out of NY I still feel like it's My News and it feels personal. Within minutes, my boss showed me that rescue picture that Janis Krums took from the ferry and posted to Twitter. I was really amazed by how quickly that picture got out. I watched as the number of "views" went from the dozens to the thousands. It was posted and cross-posted on lots of different blogs as the page views overloaded the Twitter server. Twitter is an amazing thing. I posted it to my Facebook page; I had friends in NY who learned of the plane crash from my Facebook post. Incredible.
A few minutes later, I ran across an article on Silicon Alley Insider, "U.S. Airways Crash Rescue Picture: Citizen Journalism, Twitter At Work." I was astonished at how quickly that all happened. I know that sounds cliche...but not just the news of the plane crash - but also how quickly the photo some random guy took from his iPhone got thousands upon thousands of views within minutes; according to Dan Frommer, he was interviewed live on MSNBC just 34 minutes after he posted that photo to Twitter. Pretty cool. It got me thinking about how much technology has changed the way journalists cover the news.
Which got me wondering over the weekend, if I were a video blogger, how quickly could I get up a story about that plane crash? Here in the SnapStream office, we record most of the National news programs for our own interest and example purposes, and we've got alerts that are set up for "breaking news" (read more about that here). I went to my email alerts, did a quick search through Gmail for "Plane Crash" and got several results. I clicked right through to the program through the link in my alert:
In the end, though, I was just fascinated by how quickly that news spread, and how new technologies like Twitter and SnapStream can help journalists keep track of an unfolding event. Pretty cool.
Here's the clip of the TV broadcast my "breaking news" alert linked me to.
This coming week, some of us from SnapStream are headed to San Antonio, TX to attend and exhibit at one of the largest annual 'technology in education' events here in the U.S. -- the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC).
SnapStream will be on the exhibit floor in booth #3034 (here's a map), if you're looking for us.
But since this will be our first time at NECC and, really, our first time at any kind of large gathering of K-12 and university educators, I figure it's a good time to explain what we know about the value proposition of SnapStream to K-12 schools and universities.
When I was in grade school, there wasn't a lot of technology in the classroom. My Houston public elementary school had a shared area of "pods", each with headphones and cassette players where we'd do "SRA" and every so often, our teacher would haul in an 8mm projector on a cart and we'd all take a nap while the lights were out... but I digress. :-) And the private high school that I attended had a few computer labs, but that's about it. That was technology for me in grade school. Today, I'm amazed at the technology that I see used in the classroom -- and, as I've learned, television is one of the many educational tools found in today's classroom. For some background on how television gets used in education, check out Cable in the Classroom. So delivering television into the classroom is the first thing that SnapStream Enterprise does for K-12 schools and universities:
1. Distribution of television to the classroom (over the LAN)
With SnapStream Enterprise, schools can distribute television over their LANs to all their classrooms. And in most cases, they can do this using their existing TCP/IP infrastructure and their existing PCs and display projectors in the classroom. For new schools, using the LAN to distribute TV can eliminate the need to install expensive extra RF cable infrastructure. And through the easy-to-use SnapStream PC client software, teachers can not only watch live TV, they can also watch recorded TV, schedule new recordings and search TV recordings (more on this below). With the ability to schedule recordings and play them back anytime, teachers aren't tied to the broadcast schedule and can integrate TV shows into their curricula whenever they'd like.
Here's a journalism professor at Emerson College using the SnapStream Enterprise client software to bring TV into the classroom. This is a university but it's the same idea at the K-12 level...
2. SnapStream's TV search allows educators to harness TV in new ways
SnapStream's TV search technology allows teachers to easily search inside TV recordings. For anyone that hasn't seen our TV search technology in action, see this TV alerts screenshot or see this video demo of SnapStream Enterprise's TV search capabilities.
With our search technology and our built-in clipping functions, teachers can ferret out relevant and useful snippets of TV content for use in their classes. Any clip can be downloaded and easily integrated into a teacher's Powerpoint or other presentation.
For example, if a teacher wanted to talk about the California wildfires in his social studies class, he could:
1) do a search on "California wildfires",
2) get these TV search results:
3) watch each segment,
4) clip the segments he wants to use in his class and, finally,
5) download the clips for inclusion in his presentation.
And this would all be possible for the teacher to do from his classroom PC, without anyone else's help -- no need for anyone from A/V or the library to get involved. This is one example of how we think our TV search technology can make TV accessible and useful to educators in new ways.
3. Student projects and assignment
Because SnapStream Enterprise makes television accessible from any LAN accessible PC, it can be installed on library PCs, computer labs or other public-area computers. And then teachers can give homework and other assignments built around SnapStream Enterprise. For example, a teacher could give students an assignment to watch a presidential debate using SnapStream Enterprise or they could ask their students to do a comparison of how one TV network's coverage of a particular candidate differs from another TV networks coverage of the same candidate.
And SnapStream Enterprise has access control functions built-in so users can be given varying levels of permissions. For example, students can be given one set of permissions while administrators can have their own set of permissions.
4. Content analysis and research for journalism, media studies and political science
For people who do what's known as "content analysis" on broadcast television, this one doesn't require much explanation. Rather than having to manually watch potentially hundreds of TV news broadcasts and transcribe their contents (heretofore the exclusive job of poor, underpaid grad students!), SnapStream Enterprise automatically provides a full text transcript for any recorded TV program. A sample TV show transcript exported from a SnapStream Enterprise TV Server:
Those transcripts can then be exported from SnapStream Enterprise and pulled into 3rd party software for coding and textual analysis or SnapStream's TV search technology can be used to do things like word frequency. If don't know what content analysis is and you're still wondering, here's an example of the kind of findings that might come out of a content analysis.
So that's a quick run down of what I know about how SnapStream Enterprise useful to universities and K-12 schools. We already have a number of customers in the area of education (in particular, amongst journalism schools) but we're looking forward to talking to a lot more and learning more about the problems that exist amongst teachers and professors trying to leverage television in education. Are you an educator that uses television in your teaching curriculum? Is there something you'd like to see our product do? Leave a comment below!
George Washington University’s independent student newspaper, the GW Hatchet, reports on the use of our SnapStream Enterprise product in the School of Media and Public Affairs. The story highlights the impact that SnapStream's television search technology will have at GWU's public policy and journalism schools, making it so that faculty and students can search television broadcasts for educational research and analysis. A few choice quotes:
Sean Aday, an associate professor at GWU, says:
"It's a great tool for research. For example, with the recent news about the U.S. embassy in Serbia, we could collect and compare coverage from all the networks. Graduate students, especially in the research methods class, will be able to conduct their own content analysis.”
Paul Fucito, GWU's director of communications, says:
"It takes seconds and minutes now to do what took weeks or months. After recording, let's say a month of Andersen Cooper, you can then go back type in relevant keywords, find the clips that apply and watch those segments."