You are so frustrated. A big portion of your library media center budget is spent on audiovisual materials every year. You want to switch to DVDs, but most of your classrooms still contain VCRs. The videos in your collection are becoming outdated and worn out. Many no longer correlate with the curriculum, which was revised a few years ago. And you realize that when you have switched everything to DVD, a medium that will fit in the palm of your hand will be the norm.
A teacher came to you yesterday wanting to collaborate on a research project about African animals. She would like the students to see a movie about an African animal so they can compare and contrast a book and electronic media, but each student is studying a different animal. Another teacher is trying to differentiate her instruction for a small group of students who are struggling to learn to read. They need to have the story read to them, but she doesn't have enough minutes in the day to make this happen. She also has a group of gifted students who are bored and need to be challenged with a real-world project. As in all the classrooms in the school, she has students who learn in a variety of modalities and many who need strong audio and video instruction.
A Streamlined Solution
Your solution to all these problems may very well be video streaming—the process of viewing video over the Internet. A streamed file is downloaded and viewed at the same time, but leaves behind no files on the viewer's computer. The video player buffer stores the information while the user views the program. Video streaming normally means availability of the video on demand, but it can also refer to a video broadcast in real time such as a news event. This might also be called "Web-casting" or "multi-casting." Users (with permission) can also download videos or video clips, save them, and use them in a variety of ways. The clips could be placed in multimedia presentations or Web sites, used for classroom presentations, or made available to individual students or small groups of students.
The use of video streaming in education is exciting and multifaceted. Research has shown that the use of video content leads to more attentive, more knowledgeable, and higher-achieving students. In an experiment using video streaming within several classes in Virginia, students in a control group who were exposed to video streaming made higher academic gains than those who were not exposed to it. The use of video streaming also leads to better prepared and, consequently, more effective teachers. More important, video streaming changes the nature of the classroom in ways that facilitate learning, according to Ron Reed ("Streaming Technology: An Effective Tool for E-learning Experiences." National Association of Media and Technology Centers' Bulletin, 1-3, August, 2001).
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