Case study | Schools
About the project
The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted life throughout the whole country, including schools. Spaces where a large number of children of various ages gather daily present a high risk in regard to hygienic measures. The ban on physical gatherings of students and teachers on the school’s premises has given rise to a new challenge – the necessity to ensure distance learning. There is a whole score of technical platforms and ways to educate students in their homes. However, school directors and teachers often struggle with the complexity and financial cost of such solutions. Several basic schools were faced with the same task this spring in Říčany.“
“When the school closed, we began to search intensively for a way to provide our pupils with distance learning. For us, the main priority was simplicity. We needed a system that students and teachers could get used to in the shortest amount of time possible,” said Dalibor Dudek, director of the 3rd Basic School in Říčany. “In addition to interactive platforms that are sometimes difficult for our youngest students to use, we’ve found an interesting method of remote frontal instruction from the NetRex company, local reseller of CamStreamer apps.”
Technical solutionThe solution is based on a maximum level of simplicity for both students and teachers. Streaming of lessons is done via an AXIS M1135 Network Camera, which not only provides a professional-quality image, but also excellent audio thanks to its built-in microphone.
The video is turned on and off with the help of an external button with a signalizing LED that is attached to the camera. The teacher doesn’t need any training or advanced technical knowledge. All he/she needs to do is walk up to the camera, press the button to start the broadcast, and teaching can begin once the indicator diode lights up. The stream can then be switched off by pressing the same button after the lesson ends. All the student needs is a computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet. The teacher sends the student a link to the relevant video channel on YouTube, which students can access without having to log in. The lesson also remains in the archive, so students can come back to it at any time; teachers also have a practical backup of their presented material. The lessons are non-public and only those who have the relevant link can access them.
Organization of individual teaching blocks is also easy – simple video playlists, e.g. sorted by class, can be created in YouTube. “I’d like to emphasize the environment where videos can be adjusted by deleting or adding them to groups, and so on. I’ve been very satisfied with the system. After a brief explanation, everything was completely clear and intuitive to operate,” said Jan Šindelář, director of the Bezručova 2nd Basic School in Říčany, which also uses this solution.
“Distance teaching is becoming widespread in education, and it’s good to be prepared,” says Dalibor Dudek. This, however, doesn’t just concern the epidemic alone. Distance teaching can also be used for “regular” flu epidemics, and recorded material in electronic form can be used by students who can’t attend school for health or other reasons.
Schools that use the CamStreamer solution for distance teaching are satisfied with the results. “In the first weeks of distance teaching, we all had to get used to things and change the way in which we teach our students. No one had ever been in this situation before. Now I can say, however, that the CamStreamer system basically solved all of our problems,” says Jan Šindelář. Dalibor Dudek shared this sentiment: “Feedback from teachers has been highly positive, and the solution is intuitive and easy. We’re also using the interactive Microsoft Teams platform as well. But, when frontal instruction takes place, teachers appreciate the simplicity of the CamStreamer solution, and also the very practical opportunity to create an archive of recorded lessons.”
“We have received positive feedback not only from students, who are well-acquainted with lessons in the form of videos, as they watch other such content daily on various channels. Parents are also very grateful for the video lessons – as the teacher explains more complex material in the video, parents can spend time in other ways without having to go over the material with their kids. I think we’ll continue to use this system if distance teaching becomes necessary again,” Jan Šindelář concludes.