Schools everywhere use some form of daily morning announcements to communicate with their students.
Live streaming enhances this process giving school administrators and staff the unique opportunity to share information beyond the classrooms and directly engage with parents, the community and other schools in a fun, interactive way. If tuning in live isn’t an option, messages and events can be accessed for playback any time on phones or computers. Live streaming is also a useful tool to get more parents involved in school activities and meetings.
In addition to attending meetings from afar, parents, family and friends can now enjoy seeing their student shine in a variety of places including the classroom, on the court, field, stage, at the science fair, or in their very own newsroom. School districts can live stream board meetings, award ceremonies, religious ceremonies, graduation and so much more. The applications are endless. Live streaming ensures that no matter where your audience is no one will miss another precious moment. Equally important, it allows students to feel the joy of being able to share their experiences and interact with anyone anywhere.
Connecting schools to their communities is the reason MyLiveDistrict came into existence three years ago and has grown steadily, servicing over 20 different school districts across the country. John Martinez, co-founder and partner knows firsthand just how disheartening it can be to travel for work without your family. John explains, “We knew there was a great need for live streaming because as a video producer/director, I’ve traveled a lot and often missed my children’s school activities. It really bummed me out knowing the technology was there but it wasn’t easily accessible to schools.” John decided to collaborate with an old friend and programmer who developed his own platform that could utilize the new encoder devices available.
Mark Surdyka from the Fontbonne Hall Academy in New York has been amazed by this new technology. “Thanks to MyLiveDistrict, we can now live stream all of the events that we hold on campus from volleyball and basketball games to liturgical services/masses to Open House to parent informational meetings.” Mark also shared this touching story about live streaming a basketball game. “We advertised all over social media that we were live streaming the game - we tagged the opposing school and let them know where they could see the live stream if anyone was interested. After the game was over, the head coach from the other team came over to me and thanked me personally because one of his players - her father was deployed in Germany and he actually got to watch her play. I was immediately touched - filled with emotions - and at that moment, I said to myself, ‘this was definitely the right choice. We have to continue doing this.’”
Martinez’s wife is an LAUSD teacher so he’s familiar with the demands of their time and ever-changing standards, and that’s why ease of use for this new technology was a top priority. To that end, he has succeeded in making live streaming efficient and effortless and can be used from the preschool level all the way up to post-graduate institutions. By simplifying broadcasting options and offering a variety of turnkey systems that require very little training, MyLiveDistrict has become a leader in live streaming for educators and school districts.
Steve Gray, a partner with MyLiveDistrict, talked about the importance of making this parent connection hassle-free. “Our very first demonstration was a PTA event at Dapplegray Elementary School where the middle school Principal was addressing elementary school parents. By live streaming the event parents who could not attend were still able to ask questions from remote locations in real time with texts. A volunteer monitored the incoming texts and asked the questions. The Principal was able to answer questions from those in the room and those who were following elsewhere on their own devices. Everyone was engaged in the conversation and I knew this was an important moment that could fill a great need for PTA meetings and more.”
Past PTA President, Holly Mavar, had this to say about her live streaming experience: “The set up was quick and easy, maybe 10 minutes total, the live streaming was flawless, it was completely secure, and the cost was very reasonable. We are looking into more ways that we can use MyLiveDistrict to open up school meetings and events to families that can't always make it to campus. I would highly recommend their service."
Their single-camera system works with a press of a single button, does not rely on a computer for live streaming, and utilizes the Teradek Vidiu as the encoder. Staff and students who may or may not be tech savvy can easily broadcast morning announcements, classroom activities, sporting events, theatrical performances, graduation and much more. For a more sophisticated broadcast, MyLiveDistrict offers multi-camera production set-ups with a rack designed specifically for the school’s purpose with a plug-and-play mindset. These modules can be added as stand-alone units or can be integrated into an existing video production environment at any school. All the client has to do is simply push a button to live stream to parents and the entire community. The intended audience will have instant access on any smart device with a secure direct link without having to register for an account, or to download 3rd party apps. Scheduling is also not necessary to use the site. Some of their existing clients already own TriCasters and prefer to live stream on MyLiveDistrict’s platform.
MyLiveDistrict also includes a copy of broadcasted events on your own VOD (video-on-demand) library making of all your live streams easily accessible for viewing at anytime. The live streams are automatically recorded and transferred to a high-speed playback server that makes them available minutes after the end of the broadcast. School administrators have complete control of the VOD library via the Stream Administration System – a separate html-based user interface. The “Admin Page” allows the VOD files to be enable/disabled, downloaded, deleted, and labeled.
There is a subscription charge of $149/month but no set-up fees for customization. MyLiveDistrict incorporates schools’ logos and images so that the user feels as if they are still in their school’s online environment with no external influences. This approach avoids the pitfalls of other live streaming companies. John recalls a phone conversation he had with a prospective client from the South who was horrified when, without warning, an ad for a liquor company popped up during a high school football game that he was live streaming via a fee-free site. MyLiveDistrict provides secure sites and does not allow any kind of outside advertising much to the delight of their satisfied customers.
You can visit MyLiveDistrict at www.mylivedistrict.com or just give them a call at 310-872-8993 if you would like more information.