From the beginning of this class, this is the assignment that was I dreading. I am not a huge fan of seeing myself on camera for a short amount of time, let alone for ten plus minutes. Having a busy schedule, I went for the day that I not only had willing sous chefs, I also had a willing videographer! My husband Bill, although not on camera, can be heard reading posts and questions to me as they appeared live. Below I will address my experiences, from preparing for it to executing it. As an English teacher, I approached it in a manner that is second nature to me!
The topic was pretty easy to pick, I knew I wanted to do something that involved my kids (we live far away from most family and friends, so this was the carrot that brought viewer to my live broadcast). I also wanted to do something that could be applicable to my students. The ability to attach a link to the broadcast as well as the ability to continue to get comments after the broadcast was also a big attraction for me. I liked the idea that a recorded broadcast was still there for the people to see and access.
After looking at the live broadcast options, I decided to use Facebook Live. I have a few friends who have used it and it has appeared in my feed. It looked easy enough. I reached out to friends who have used it and they confirmed that it was relatively easy to use. The other reason that I chose Facebook Live was the ease of use for my students. The other platforms would require a learning curve, whereas, most of them are familiar with this specific platform. My thought was to have the students record a “virtual” fieldtrip, which they could then summarize in written form, addressing technology and language standards. Therefore, I planned to create my own “virtual field trip” as my family and I toured Santa’s workshop on Wednesday night. But apparently there is no internet on the North Pole and I was not able to go live! I may still have students document their experiences in a “virtual field trip” when my students go on their basketball tournament in January. I am concerned that my school will not allow this to happen, but I want to be able to show that this is a legitimate way of asking the students to multitask. We shall see.
Since the North Pole was not going to happen, I looked back into some of the tasks that I would be asking of my students in the upcoming weeks and a “how-to” is projected for next semester. Therefore, I wanted to combine the two, something that my kids could do and something that my students (and myself could benefit from) and this was it, combing the awesomeness of my kids and a lesson that I already teach! In the manner of all skilled teachers, I had to punt.
As I stated earlier, being the age that I am, I knew that I not only needed to go a route that was easy to use and familiar to the user. S this was my love broadcast; I would need to provide my own audience. Many of my friends are not bloggers, let alone “live bloggers”, so I needed to go to them instead of asking them to come to me. Before I committed Facebook Live, II tested the live feed from my classroom during my prep period last week. I took a 15 sec video to see how it worked, followed the easy steps to go live and gave it a shot. During that brief 15 sec video, in which I said nothing, I prefaced nothing, basically did nada and I had four viewers and three comments. It was at this moment that I was pretty sure that this was the avenue that I was going to take. Following the recommendation of my professor, I chose to advertise my live broadcast. I sent out a Facebook invite as well as some text messages to people I knew.
In the moments before I went live, I had my seven year old come and perform a song for me. I recorded it to make sure that my settings were working, audio and video. I sent out a last minute reminder to a few people who asked as well as checking that the Facebook reminder was also set. The only thing that I neglected to do was check the time on the Facebook Event invitation, I selected p.m. as the ending time, making my event 12 hours and 15 minutes instead of the 15 minutes I allotted. Once we were good to go, we started. The audible countdown was nice; it alerted me and the sous chefs.
The night before the broadcast, I cleaned up the parts of the house that would be visible live. We look so festive and ready for the holidays, no one needed to know that Halloween decorations were behind the videographer. I looked at a haunted house while my audience saw Christmas decorations!
I made sure that all of the materials that I needed were prepared and ready to go. I had to make the decision to let the dogs roam (I did) or listen to them bark. I set some ambiance- Christmas music in the background. I did not account for the recording to take place on a weird AZ day where it is cloudy, then uber sunny and then cloudy again. The lighting could have been better. I was only able to watch the playback in bits and pieces as I really do not like seeing myself on film. With some tweaks for the classroom, this technology has potential.
Here is a recorded copy of my Facebook Live broadcast. It runs a little longer than the required 10 minutes (16:47).
This task did not make me feel like an old dog learning new tricks, I felt like a fish out of water. I had so many plans, but my nerves got the better of me. In my practice and planning, I was fine. The reality of the live broadcast was different entirely. I was planning on signing my broadcast as Deaf friends showed up; I even practiced ways to make sure that I did that. I am a planner, ask the DJ at my wedding; he said that he had never been given a lesson plan before. Live broadcasts require you to be quick on your feet. I thought I was, I was wrong. While I anticipated some of my Deaf friends who needed sign interpretation to join, I never expected them to be the first to show up. Nor did I anticipate how AWFUL I am a simultaneous communication (speaking in one language and signing in another). Since this was for a hearing professor with mostly hearing participants, I decided to stop signing, but I reached out immediately after to apologize. Live broadcast are for sure something that needs to have an interpreter if more than one language is being used. Another part that I would change is my videographer. This was his first time on Facebook ever. He is terrified of technology. I thought that simply having him record and read posts would be simple, it was not. He was fascinated with the idea of the live broadcast, the immediate postings and really, the floating emojis. In the middle of the broadcast, he somehow paused it. He panicked! We were able to get back in seconds, but that is definitely something that I anticipated. I thought I had covered it all, oops! On the positive side, many people were thrilled to see me and my kids. I think in our short time live, we had over 22 participants and 47 comments. One thing that really drew me to Facebook Live was that several people said that they would not be able to make it, but they did. As this live broadcast posts to friends Facebook automatically, several people, who did not want to schedule me in, actually were able to attend.
Long after the live broadcast ended, I was getting “likes” and comments. I even got a private message from a high school friend who did not see the point of Facebook Live. She joined our broadcast, my husband notified me and I looked up and said, “Hi Lauren, how is Baltimore?” and she was hooked. She told me later in her message that it was pretty cool to know that she signed on and I responded immediately. I see the potential for giving my students access to things that they never had access to before. Not long after I finished my broadcast, a friend posted a live broadcast from Shailene Woodley, the actress protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The broadcast was interpreted. I was thrilled as many of my friends and students are unaware of much that is happening as it is not often in ASL. I re-posted. I immediately saw that the person filming (I assume Shailene, I could be wrong) was panning the stage and leaving the interpreter out of much of the shots. I posted and asked that the shots keep the interpreter in them to provide access. The camera immediately stopped moving and the interpreter was never out of view again. To me, that was the most powerful part of the day. While involved in it, I was in the middle and only could see what was around me. As an active participant, I saw the real possibilities, of collaboration and communication. I am already looking to see how I can incorporate this into my classroom. Although I was terrified and do not look forward to it again, unlike my 6 year old who wants to do a weekly show!) I see the power and potential in this type of broadcast.