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E-Cast September 21, 2007

Posted by davidit in collaborative, Education, Education 2.0, ICT Integration, Inquiry Model, thinking skills, Web 2.0.
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I attended one of those promo events last night that masquerades as a training seminar.  Fortunately it was an event that was well worth attending and that was not just because the flat whites were free and there was brie and biscuits on hand too!  The seminar was held at RED (Renaissance Education) in Onehunga, Auckland. This post is really a heads up for New Zealand schools.  A product is about to hit the market that has huge potential for those of us dabbling with the inquiry process, fully immersed in it or even for those of us constantly on the search for fantastic resources.   Well this is one of them.  A company called e-cast has spent the last couple of years putting a service together and a considerable amount of time in dark rooms negotiating with lawyers to get this product to market.

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What they offer is this, 37 channels of TV from all over the world for you to download any of their broadcasted programmes to your school and then you can do with the content as you wish, so long as you do not then republish it beyond your school.  Not only that, you can create your own videos and submit them to their servers.  This means that if your students wanted to research the impact of bottom trawling on  Pacific fish stocks, they could search the library of recorded documentaries from all around the world, download the relevant programmes, edit the differing content and publish on your own networks.  If they then create their own original content they can then upload their videos, for the rest of us to access.  Not only that you can select and book upcoming transmissions that you might want to use, these will be recorded and you can then download them to your school after transmission.

For schools such as mine, where bandwidth is a major issue and a service like this would knock it over in about 2 seconds flat, they also have a service, yet to be tested, but coming, that utilises the spare bandwidth on a geo-stationary satellite  for schools to download their content. How cool is that?

I have been so impressed with the content and the service that I have signed our school up today for a free trial and have also put my hand up for consideration for the  satellite trial.  I know that when the demo is set up in school it will really impress the staff as it impressed me.  One of the channels is NASAtv.  As we were waiting last night we were watching the live stream from NASA.  They have over 40 years of archived footage for us to use, we may yet be able to put the did they go therory to bed!

I was very apprehensive that such a cool system would cost the earth.  They have two cost structures a pay as you go download system and a fee based on your EFTS.  The second option was so reasonable it really is the only option! The good news for Australian schools is that they are currently looking to move their service their too.  However, even though they claim that this is a first, services like Joost from Skype will also soon be on the horizon for all of us and as these services proliferate we will be spoilt for choice from the differing video archives from around the planet.

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