The State of Educational Video 2014

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In Wolf Creek’s schools, “We’re seeing lots of uptake right now,” says Esteves. “For example, I have a high school math teacher who is producing lots of flipped video content.” When students have mastered a given concept the teacher then captures demonstrations of real-world applications. “He’ll take his iPhone or iPad out to a work site and show how this applies” to actual construction.

Mobile Is a Required Course

With so many smartphones and tablets in all kinds of schools, mobile support is simply no longer optional. At the British Columbia Institute of Technology, streaming media project manager Jasmit Chilana says, “Year over year our mobile traffic has gone up over 85 percent, and right now close to 19 percent of all students are using mobile devices” for video viewing. “Nineteen percent is still kind of a small number,” he reflected, “but it is only going to increase this year.”

Burriel says OSU saw mobile viewing go from 1 percent of video views in December 2012 to 12 percent in December 2013.

According to Webber, at RIT “There is definitely a demand for mobile across all of our platforms.” Foley notes, “Some of the students are only coming to campus with mobile platforms, just an iPad.” So, “It’s no question the player has to be HTML5. It’s the only way it’s going to work on a mobile platform.”

In addition to mobile-equipped teachers,?Esteves says, “There are?a number of students?bringing in their own devices,” even at Wolf Creek’s K–4 school. He says that means all of the school’s video must be “device-agnostic.”

The ABCs of OVPs

For the schools that have them, online video platforms (OVPs) have become important drivers for adoption. Everyone whose school has an OVP emphasized how it helps them to address pressing challenges such as accessibility, security, and the landslide shift to mobile creation and consumption.

“More students will consume their media on mobile,” observes Burriel. “The good news is that if you’re using a provider like Kaltura (which OSU uses), most of them provide playback on all platforms.”

RIT uses Ensemble Video, and Foley says, “They’ve been accommodating with unique situations.” In particular, as a member of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf, the university has significant captioning needs. “Many deaf students are also visually impaired. Ensemble was flexible about creating a player where captions could be reformatted” to accommodate these students.

Esteves explains that the Wolf Creek district needed robust security and permissions, in part because “we have some pretty strict privacy legislation in our part of the country.” With MediaCore he says a teacher “can permission a video down to a single student, only to kids in her classroom, or only her school or division.” The district uses unique logins via Google Apps for Education, so “we’re moving to a single set of credentials for all solutions.”

Schools are taking advantage of open video player (OVP) features such as desktop and mobile authoring apps. “There’s also a demand for video drop boxes,” Webber says. At RIT, “Students are creating videos for their presentations, in programs like marketing, and uploading them for peer and teacher review.”

Burriel is also looking ahead, needing to support emerging standards such as H.265. “The benefit of going with a third-party [OVP] instead of doing something in-house is that we can trust our vendor to stay at the cutting edge of these technologies.”

Success Breeds New Challenges

You might be a victim of your own success if your job is providing video support and services at an institution where use and demand is growing. This may be what video-minded educators want, but it still poses challenges that often require human solutions.

“It snowballs,” says Burriel. “As some instructors do [video], others see it and want to do it as well.” Yet, some users “don’t have the skill to produce properly or upload properly.” That means “we’ve seen an uptick in support requests.”

Webber says that new modes of support can help. He says a big question is, “What can we do in self-training for production to make it flexible and improve the quality of what (faculty) produce on their desktops?”

According to Esteves, video requires “professional development, not just technical support.” To meet this need, Wolf Creek has “technology coaches embedded in each of our schools. We talk about the changes in the way education is happening.”

Privacy and security are their own issues, especially in K–12 schools. Serviss observes, “Seriously, some parents are fearful of the internet and videos.”

“I think that parents’ permission and understanding is a big (challenge),” Johnson says. Her district educates parents about its online security. The school also focuses on digital citizenship, which teaches students how to use technology responsibly and appropriately. “We’re confident that our kids are pretty savvy, and they’ve taught their parents a lot,” she says.


In the year ahead, schools of all types will need to adapt to faculty and students who are becoming active video producers, not just consumers. It’s abundantly clear that supporting online video is no longer a matter of staying ahead of the curve.

Students and teachers will have smartphones and tablets. They will use them to bring video into the classroom, whether or not there are policies and platforms in place to support them.

This article appears in the 2014 Streaming Media Sourcebook.

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