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Around the first of this year I debuted the “new” bps website.  This was a product of about 2 months worth of me banging my head against the keyboard.  As our staff becomes more familiar and comfortable with the site and wordpress we will see more and more blog posts regarding their specific area of focus.  We are also seeing our coaching staff use this platform to quickly and efficiently communicate information to their athletes, parents and community.  I’m hoping in the upcoming year we can expand that to all advisors of a group or extracurricular activity.  The big advantage that wordpress gave us over our previous site is that more people could now contribute content.  Several people putting a little bit of content on the site results in a lot of different things for the public see to help keep informed of all the happenings at bps.

We are also beginning to live stream events that the public might be interested in seeing.  What that means is we can broadcast events to the web for everyone who cannot make it in person to still see what’s going on.  Right now I am using the public meetings as a test bed to work through the streaming process.  An interested party could watch these videos via any device that has internet access (computer, phone, ipad..etc).  HighSchool Cube is the website/service we are using to do this.

Being able to broadcast events is really an exciting thing (for me anyway).  This opens up a lot of potential areas of interest for our students and staff.  Students can try their hand at videoing an event or maybe they want to edit things later or even produce a broadcast.  This also lets us give students a chance to try some sports broadcasting if they’d like.  It can be an avenue to let them experience some video journalism, interview people…etc.  Down the road, maybe students could use this technology to cut commercials for various businesses.  While our equipment right now isn’t quite to the T.V. studio level, it can be very close at a small fraction of the cost.

Not only does this facilitate student education, it also serves our community.  With an internet connection and an inexpensive device, someone who wouldn’t be able to make it to the event would now be able to watch things as they happen.  The site also retains videos for an amount of time.

What was the cost of all of this greatness?  The website update(s) only cost my time.  There was no need to buy additional equipment or services, there were no additional monthly fees.  The website we use to stream video also does not cost anything.  Their revenue comes off of taking a portion of what the school might charge to run an ad during a broadcast…which to me sounds quite reasonable once you think about how much it costs them to provide the service.  I did buy a new video camera to use for streaming.  The ones the school had were pretty dated.  They are good for various projects the students will do for classes, but for something like this I wanted dedicated equipment.  The camera I picked up was a Sony Handycam HDR-CX430.  There were other models I could have gone with, but I believe this one will last for several years and provided a good “bang for the buck”.  Also, I believe we can look for ways to use this to help bring money back in to upgrade equipment and keep things up to date.  Ideally, I would love to see this area be self-sufficient.

Please remember though, while being able to watch the video from the comfort of your home is a very handy thing…the kids can’t hear you clap and cheer.  There is no substitute for supporting our students in person.  Speaking as a parent and a coach it’s always better to be there live…then go back and watch the video later.