The usual technical problems be-devilled the launch of Roedean TV, and delayed the first broadcast until the beginning of the second term. Students had filmed footage on their cell-phones, and had trouble converting to formats that MovieMaker would use. Some students had trouble with the audio channel of their raw footage. Others had clips which appeared to be corrupted in some way.
All of these issues had been anticipated, but were nevertheless annoying to all concerned. With such a plethora of cameras and cell-phones being used to do the filming, I think it all went rather well actually!
Students made clips of up to 3 minutes in length, on any topic. One group created a “Spirit” segment to show-case sports or achievements within the school. Another group created a comic segment, annoying things to do in an elevator (see the pic above). But the sure-fire hit of the first broadcast was a group which filmed a segment in which the Head of the English Department gave a mock poetry lesson on a Justin Bieber “poem”.
The broadcast was edited out of these selected clips made by the girls and uploaded onto the Moodle Home page. I decided to use Moodle as my platform partly because the school SharePoint site has limited video upload sizes, and I would have to crawl before my network administrator to get more space, whereas my Moodle uploads go up to a whopping 1GB! I also chose Moodle because the school Moodle can be accessed both on and off-campus, while our SharePoint cannot be accessed from home. This is an important consideration given the desire to have parents be able to access the broadcasts. The video file embeds very nicely in the Moodle page, although I struggled with the flowplayer, and had to use Quicktime instead.
I sent out the link to all teachers and staff. Since I could log who was viewing the page, from school and from home, I was able to gauge the extent of the broadcast’s reach. It had been viewed by 90 people within three days, or about 20% of the school. I was quite pleased with this, given the fact that there was no advertising around the launch – I had simply been too busy to do it properly. What was also pleasing was that a number of students were accessing the broadcast from home. I see this as important because I would like the school Moodle to be seen, not just as a drudgery for submitting assignments online at the last-minute, but also as a source for “flipped classroom” content and edutainment.
The next phase is to see how sustainable the project is. Can the students sustain the effort of creating a fortnightly 10 minute broadcast? In large measure, I suspect, this will depend on whether it takes off in the school as something which is cool, or if it gets seen as just another ICT assignment.