To stream or not to stream?

Think of the following:

We have a group of students who listen to their teacher in the lecture hall and suddenly it gets completely dark, only the teacher’s voice is heard. Then shortly thereafter it becomes completely silent. The teacher has left the room, but the students are left there in the dark, waiting. After a while the light and the teacher come back, and the lesson continues. However, it is not long before the teacher’s powerpoint becomes completely pixelated and unreadable. The teacher continues to talk as if nothing has happened, and after a little while everything gets black and quiet again. Likewise, it continues throughout the lesson, and similar problems recur regularly throughout the course.

What I have just described for you is a metaphor for how it can look in a digital education where recorded lectures are streamed, and where the quality and accessibility is governed by the type of bandwidth and location the students happen to be at.

Our fictitious situation would of course never be accepted by either students or school management. However, it seems as if it is easier to get away with a less accessible digital education. Why is it like that?

I think it´s primarily about the lack of knowledge, people simply do not know enough about what is required to transform physical education into a digital education, with everything that it means. It´s nothing strange with that.

Do videos need streaming? The answer is no, and it may not even be recommended.

suza-jonas thoren
Workshop at State University of Zanzibar 2019

I recently attended a workshop held at State University of Zanzibar in Tanzania. There we can talk about streaming issues! According to this map for bandwidth in the world, Tanzania has an average speed of 1.7 mb / s. My recommendation to the E-learning team at the University was to use video economically and with care. Instead of squeezing all the information into a video, it is possible to import bits of video into an interactive PDF. Short videos that are interspersed with sound and voice for powerpoint slides, text, images, graphics, animations etc. The students download the interactive PDF once and then they are not dependent on bandwidth anymore to be able to access the digital learning material.

The video format is like made for education, but as allready mentioned, you need the right knowledge to be able to use it in a smart, creative and sustainable way. All the information you need is available online, so take the time you need and learn more before you start producing digital material.

Stream educational videos if you like, but make it possible for the students to download the same material as well, just in case…


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