In my younger days, having Oregon Trail at school meant that your school had the latest and greatest in computer technology. But since then, schools all over the world have gotten more and more advanced with their tech, incorporating innovative learning tools into their system like online notes, live streaming and even using tablets in class!
For the Isle of Wight County School District in Virginia, the county’s 7 schools were in dire need of a new announcement system. Having used an old, closed-circuit TV system for their announcements for so many years, upkeep of the technology was getting out of hand.
“Our closed-circuit TV system was getting way too old to maintain. Every time something went wrong, it would take hours to fix or cost too much to get replacement parts. What we wanted was just a cleaner, more up-to-date solution,” said Brian Robbins, Assistant Director of IT at the Isle of Wight School District.
With live streaming being a prominent part of many schools nowadays, they decided to try it out for themselves and live stream morning announcements, having teachers pull feeds from the Internet and stream it in their classrooms. For this new workflow, they went with a system consisting of several Cube 205s.
Every morning, a production team at each school sets up the broadcast. Student announcers stand in front of a chroma key green screen and read the announcements into a microphone connected to a Roland V-4EX switcher. An iPad Air camera is used to capture the footage, which is then sent to the switcher via lightning-to-HDMI output. After adding graphics and effects, the feed gets transferred to the Cube 205 over HDMI, which broadcasts to their Teradek Sputnik server, which hosts the stream and allows it to be downloaded from anywhere with Internet.
Once the feed hits Sputnik, teachers in every classroom can access their school’s morning live stream by opening a preset file in their laptop’s VLC Media Player. A projector in the classroom then plays the live video in front of the class. This same system is used at each school in the county.
“Prior to the broadcast being pumped out, they make an announcement to let all the teachers know. This gives them time to pull up VLC and get the stream ready,” said Robbins. “The kids do their pledge of allegiance, school motto, lunch menu, sporting events and sometimes get a message from the principal.”
The setup made it extremely easy for both the production team and the teachers to deliver their morning announcements, and thanks to the Cube, live feeds are streamed over IP as opposed to their obsolete closed-circuit TV system. It made for a robust and cost-effective solution for the faculty to deliver announcements in an easy way every morning.
“There’s no point in spending money on additional hardware when there’s such a simple solution like this. The Cubes, once set up and configured, are hands-off for the users in the production room. A great tool for a complex idea of a Production Room.”