Using technology to enhance engagement
Storytelling is everything for Michael Artsis – five-time Emmy Award winning video journalist, anchor, and reporter. Over the span of his career, Artsis has covered everything from plane crashes to major news events and now, as the CEO and founder of the online video network BeTerrific, he provides a plethora of live content to his audiences worldwide.
However, being able to tell a story through his lens hasn’t always been easy. Just five years ago, the technology was limiting and intricate, especially if you were a small organization or even working as a one-man band. For most up-and-coming video journalists, the equipment was too heavy, big, and old for it to be the most effective way of shaping and developing a story. Despite those struggles with gear in the past, advancements in the industry such as Teradek’s Live:Air app has given broadcasters like Artsis enough flexibility to create and stream content from anywhere.
Michael Artsis broadcasting live from International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) Using Teradek’s Live:Air in The Padcaster housing.
Live:Air is an application for the iPad that can be used as an affordable replacement for your traditional hardware switcher. He explained the importance of having such versatility, “Years ago, only the Today Show and Good Morning America could afford to move around. Now, we’re in a park with four cameras, under the Williamsburg Bridge, looking at the Empire State Building in Brooklyn, and the cost and crew is very minimal. The possibilities with a Live:Air setup are limitless.” Anyone with the app can perform all the basic functions of a switcher set-up without worrying about the expense and the bulky footprint. Since Live:Air supports a wireless set-up, Artsis didn’t have to worry about an excess of cables running through his productions, especially when in a public space.
With technology like Live:Air and more of a focus on storytelling, the trajectory of school programming is heading towards developing more fun and engaging content for the students. Artsis sees this development happening the most in morning news. Imagine back when students would spend the first fifteen minutes of their school day hearing the loud, inaudible speaker blare out mundane announcements about how the cafeteria special of the day is sloppy Joes. However, schools are now exploring the medium of video for their morning newscasts, allowing for more engagement and interaction with their students. Artsis recognizes the immense value behind this new system, “They make it fun and they make it appealing so that students want to watch. And they include social media through those announcements so they’re engaging them across multiple platforms, which I think is amazing.” At the same time, this creates a learning opportunity for the students producing this show. By telling stories, educators are improving audience involvement and changing that first impression of the school day to something more positive and unique.
With a rise in online content and streaming throughout the scholastic community, tools like Live:Air have never been more vital. According to Artsis, there are two important qualities in a tool that every school should look for: versatility and reliability. “Versatility is why schools like iOS devices so much and why Live:Air intrigues them because if there’s another app on the iPad or iPhone tomorrow, they can immediately start pushing that new technology. Whereas, if you buy a video camera, you’re married to that video camera and the cost is a lot more.” The adaptability of the Live:Air app frees the user to tell his or her story in places that seemed out of reach just a few years previous.
However, flexibility means nothing if those tools aren’t reliable. Schools count on the equipment that they invest in to last as long as possible, and Live:Air’s continuous firmware updates provide growing longevity. “Schools need reliability and I think that’s why they are starting to turn more to the iPad and away from other devices they’ve used previously,” suggested Artsis. “Especially in a world that’s changing so rapidly, teachers are looking for tools that can offer them a ton of versatility and accessories at very low price points, so reliability is key.”
The educational environment is ideal for engaging students in the fundamentals of storytelling. And with technology advancing as much as it is, telling the story as fast and as effectively as possible in places that you couldn’t go before plays an important role in cultivating a successful morning news department and maintaining the audience’s interest. With the development in morning news and production of online content, Live:Air is here to help pave your way.