Morning announcements during our adolescent years involved listening to an intercom, or at best, getting to see a pre-recorded video on our classrooms’ CRT TVs every morning. But today’s students get to experience morning announcements in a truly live and high-quality setting. For the K-6 students at Maple Elementary in Smithville, MO, this comes in the form of live streaming.
Dr. Rena Hawkins is the principal at Maple Elementary and co-host of the #ShareMOEdu podcast. As principal, Hawkins wanted a better way to share her school’s morning announcements in a way that engaged both students and families, as well as promote a sense of community within the school each day. The challenge was finding a solution that was both cost-effective but also simple enough that K-6 students can use.
An Affordable Broadcast
“Previously, we were a K-2 school. But last year, our school had a $5.4 million renovation where we now serve the K-6 community. With all of the renovations and the new students, I figured it’d be a great opportunity to also revamp our old morning announcement system, which was through the intercom every morning. It would also provide additional leadership opportunities with students in the upper grades.” - Dr. Rena Hawkins, Principal at Maple Elementary.
“I knew of other schools doing live morning announcements, and when I would Skype with principals in these schools, they would show me these huge broadcast rooms with high school students producing their shows. That just wasn’t going to happen here; we didn’t have room in the budget for an entire broadcast studio!”
“A colleague of mine in the district told me about the Live:Air Action app, but that she hadn’t used it before. So I immediately started researching about it and watching videos on your website [teradek.com]. It seemed very easy to use, and it was free. My plan was to roll out the new morning announcement system on the first day of school.”
How We Use Live:Air Action
Live:Air Action is a free switcher app designed for iPads. It allows you to add built-in or custom graphics, overlays and transitions to your live stream that gives it more of a professional TV show look, and you can use the iPad’s rear camera as the video source. It also gives you the ability to send your stream straight to your favorite platform including Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, or any destination.
“Every morning, we have our student anchors presenting and students helping to operate the iPad’s Live:Air Action. This streams to our school’s YouTube channel that we created specifically for morning announcements, and teachers in every classroom go straight to the channel at 8:50AM every morning. The great thing about this is, since every live stream is automatically archived, anyone can go in and access the announcements at any time.”
More Than Just A Live Stream
“We started creating weekly activities in our announcements and finding additional ways to celebrate students. We have a whole intro graphic, Tell A Joke Tuesdays, Throwback Thursdays where staff members reveal photos of their younger selves. We also do the Principal Pride Awards where we take photos of students with their award certificates and display them on the stream. Since we’re not just going by our intercom announcements anymore, we can give students the visuals to make morning announcements super fun and engaging.”
“Doing morning announcements with Live:Air Action has so many benefits for us. It’s free to use so we don’t have to worry about spending from our budget. It gives students an opportunity to learn public speaking and video production. It helps students remember upcoming special activities. And it also builds a stronger sense of community in the school. Even though we’re spread out amongst different classes, grades and ages, it’s our one chance of the day to celebrate students and highlight our school spirit together.”Check out Dr. Rena Hawkins’ review of Live:Air Action on her blog at: