Monday, April 13, 2015

Transitioning Away from MediaCAST


A lot has changed in streaming media since 2008, the year that BVSD adopted a video streaming platform called MediaCAST to replace the VHS tapes and DVDs that circulated throughout the district. The amount and quality of streaming resources available on the internet prompted us to reevaluate our need for this type of service. After reviewing the content, quality, and use of the resource, and through extensive discussion and feedback from various stakeholder groups, we are ending our contract with MediaCAST at the end of the 2014-15 school year, contingent upon our bandwidth increasing this summer.

Three factors weighed heavily on this decision:


  1. Stakeholder feedback — Feedback from MediaCAST focus groups*, coupled with a district-wide survey on MediaCAST, showed that usage was low and that content was not available anytime/anywhere and on any device.

  1. Availability of other media — Free, educational streaming sites, which better meet the needs defined by our stakeholder groups, are now available online. Examples include Kahn Academy, Bill Nye, Discovery Education and many more.
  2. Cost — MediaCAST includes expensive onsite hardware and subscription fees.

*Focus groups included members from Instructional Services and Equity (ISE), teacher librarians, tech contacts, teachers, administration and other support staff.

What is replacing MediaCAST?


A combination of resources will replace MediaCAST, including free, educational streaming sites. There are an increasing number of these types of sites now than there were in 2008, and the number is growing to meet the demand for quality, online content.

Ed Tech has also started a shared spreadsheet of streaming resources that can replace MediaCAST videos. We encourage you to contribute your favorite videos to these lists so that others can benefit.


Example of a TED Ed video:


How can I get support in moving away from MediaCAST?


If you rely on specific videos within MediaCAST, please let us know what they are by filling out this form. BVSD Ed Tech is working with stakeholder groups, including the ISE directors, to make sure that this content is available elsewhere or replaced with online options.

For more information and FAQs, visit our MediaCAST webpage.

Please chime in below with your thoughts about the transition from MediaCAST to more modern media streaming tools at BVSD.

6 comments:

  1. Will the district purchase videos which were available on MediaCast but which are not available for streaming from any other legal source? The DVD set for this series is $499.

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    1. Thank you for this question! We are collecting titles from BVSD staff members of videos that they require for instruction through the form linked in the above blog. We will then pass this information on to the curriculum department to review and work with the teacher(s) and subject areas that require this material. Please make sure to fill out the form so that we can get this info passed on! Thanks!

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. We received a question regarding teacher's ability to select material for instruction. There is a process for full-length videos that teachers show in class that can be found under BVSD Board Policies: http://bvsd.org/policies/Pages/default.aspx

    Decisions regarding instructional tools and their educational benefit (ex: a video clip) are made via the discretion of the teacher in the classroom.

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  4. One of the challenges with showing content from YouTube in elementary classrooms is that once the movie ends, a plethora of additional choices appears. Sometimes this content is inappropriate and other times it's a huge distraction. Will there be a way to watch a Bill Nye video without this extra bonus? We typically show about a dozen of them throughout the year and they were not all available on the Bill Nye channel that's linked above. I will work on putting together a list this week.

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  5. This is a common concern and one that we are exploring with Google on how teachers can manage the added on content at the end of a video. In the meantime, here are a few ideas for moving forward. This information will be posted to our MediaCAST website soon!

    Question: I’m hesitant to show YouTube videos because of the related videos at the end, advertisements and other material beyond the viewers control. What can I do about advertisements and the side bar of related videos in YouTube?

    Showing a YouTube video can sometimes cause unwanted distractions with the additional content. A Chrome App Mashup can solve this problem! First, install the Turn Off the Lights Chrome Extension. Then, install AdBlock for YouTube. The combination of these two extensions allow for some control of how a video is displayed in YouTube. We will have illustrated versions of this example on our MediaCAST website soon (unfortunately, a comment on a blog does not allow me to embed images).

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