IT concerns about classroom Live Streaming

As we ramp up for the 20-21 school year, we’ve had a number of questions and concerns about live streaming from classrooms or recording full lessons.

This style of hybrid/remote learning is actually not ideal, especially here in Albion where internet connection and availability can often be extremely limited. There are a few reasons for this.

  • For an end-user (in our case, a student), internet connections often appear seamless, but that’s because your computer will download a chunk of data at a time and display it for you while it works to download the next chunk in the background. Live video streaming is a different style of data, requiring a constant stream to be downloaded. Through the multiple Google meets we’ve all been part of in the last 6 months, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that live video stream can be interrupted, leading to choppy audio, and choppy or blurry images.
  • Our district has a 1,000 Mbps connection - which is a great connection - but if all teachers were attempting to live stream to students, that would exceed the district’s entire upload capacity, meaning it wouldn’t even be possible.
  • On the receiving end, the quality of the video is tied to a user’s connection speed. Those with cable connections would easily be able to participate in one Google meet at a time, but would struggle to take part in more than that. Those with satellite connections would likely be able to access one Google meet, but the quality and connection would likely be spotty and unreliable. And those who are using the district-issued Jetpack Mi-Fi devices are on a limited bandwidth with a data cap and would be unlikely to be able to smoothly take part in any Google meets.

For these reasons, as well as potential costs to families if they exceed their allotted data on their personal plans, we are encouraging teachers to find other means to convey class lessons wherever possible.

Our goal and number one priority is to make sure we are reaching every student in the district with the information they need. There are times when the complexity of the content being taught will require extensive video recordings. When it is needed, we will find ways to make it work. But we are working to ensure that we have exhausted every other means at our disposal to get the idea across first.

Our resident tech expert, Mark Vanacore lays out a fuller explanation on why live streaming and video recordings are not an ideal form of hybrid or remote learning here.