It is that time of year…graduation! Seniors across the country are celebrating or are about to celebrate their high school graduation. As they walk across the stage in cap and gown, it is inevitable, not all of their family members will be in attendance. Perhaps a parent is deployed, a family member is ill, relatives live too far away to travel…no matter the reason, we can be certain not all who want to be in the audience will be. Pocahontas Community School District’s Technology director,Phil Trimble, has made it possible for anyone who can access the Internet and click on a link to watch the graduation ceremony via Pocahontas Live Stream. Fascinated by their quest to use technology to bring people closer together, I recently visited with Phil about the school’s use of live streaming.
Q: When did the live streaming begin?
Phil: We started this Live stream of Graduation last year for the 1st time and since we have done 2 basketball games. We started with Google hangout and then moved to ustream– it’s a free product. The only thing I don’t like about the ustream are the commercials that happen about every 10 minutes of viewing. We chose ustream because of a hardware product called LiveShell which we heard about from Joe Wakeman from Nevada Schools. LiveShell allows us to stream live events to ustream wirelessly without a computer.
Q: What prompted this initiative?
Phil: Last year, a graduate’s mother had a medical issue and could not attend the event, so we put together a stream for her, and as we were going through the process thought this would be great to open up for everyone.
Q: Any other ways you would like to see this used?
Phil: Currently, I have the site on our new Athletics page but we could use this for all public events or even events housed like possibly a small coffee house event put on by the students in the arts program.
Q: What has been the community feedback regarding live streamed events? Student feedback?
Phil: We have had great support from extended family members that could not make it and even members of the community that watched from home, 110 people viewed graduation live from the stream last year!!!
If you are interested, watch Pocahontas Live Stream on Sunday at 2:00 for the 2014 graduation ceremony.