It’s no secret that I’m fascinated by live video streaming. I’ve never been one to do much editing, I like my media authentic, unscripted and unfiltered. And that’s the way I’ve always podcasted, well back when I used to do it on a regular basis (more often than once year).
Well, in the last month I switched from the Samsung Blackjack to the Nokia N95 which has an unbelievable video camera built into it which is perfect for live streaming. Since Nokia’s happen to be compatible with just about everything, I’ve got my choice of sites to use including Qik, Flixwagon, Kyte, Seesmic and more. My favorite right now happens to be Qik, which is what I used at NECC several times over, including the incredibly fun pair of broadcasts on airplanes before they took off.
However, as with with any new technology, I think the best way to figure out where it fits into my professional life is to start off playing. Try things out, experiment a bit, throw things up against the wall and see what sticks. And that’s what I’ve been doing with Qik lately.
Last week, I did my first CarCast in quite a long time (download link). I used an old hair tie to strap my phone to my suction cup GPS mount. Then I hit broadcast and recording the commute home, talking head style. Since it as mounted, I was able to keep my eyes on the road, and just shoot glances at the camera on occasion, to make sure it was still broadcasting. Very fun. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve actually bought a mount specifically for the phone in the car.
A couple of days later I rode my bike to work. On the way home, I realized that if I stuck the phone in the little pocket one of the backpack straps has, it would probably hold the phone in place well enough to do a BikeCast (download link). And so I did. Threw on my helmet, hopped on the bike, and broadcast my ride home. Well, most of it anyway, I kinda ran out of battery before I got there. Regardless, it worked rather well for the first time! People were able to join me for the ride home in real time, and you can see the archive now. It’s a little slanty, so sit down if you get motion sickness easily.
So what does all this mean for education? To be honest, I’m not sure. Would I recommend everybody start broadcasting their commutes every day? Well, no… But this seems significant to me and worth more exploration. It feels powerful. It seems like it opens up new doors. Imagine being able to share accomplishments with parents in real time. To broadcast successes, make the classroom more transparent than ever before. What do we do with it? I don’t know, but maybe we can figure it out together.
However, we’re not the only ones trying to figure out what it all means. In fact, there’s a certain Representative from Texas that has been doing some rather interesting things with Qik. Last week, when the Republicans staged their protest before the House let out for a 5 week recess, the lights were shut off, the microphones were shut off, and the cameras were shut off. So was the general public blocked off? Not by a long shot. John Culberson, representative from Texas, continued the broadcast via his cell phone. He had interviews, covered a press conference, and provided the only glimpse into what was fascinating day in US politics. An integral part of the political system, it may not be. But there’s definitely some significance that bears more contemplation, exploration and innovation.