Aspen School District serves the mountain-surrounded community of Aspen, CO with an elementary, middle and high school that are all located on a central campus. The campus has a total enrollment of 1530 students and over 100 teachers and administrators.
When Kimberly (Kim) Zimmer joined Aspen High School (AHS) as a technology integration specialist she was faced with the challenge of creating a weekly school news show and finding a solution for teachers who wanted to create, collect and share videos in their classrooms. Fortunately, Kim majored in broadcast journalism before obtaining her Master’s in Education so she was up to the task.
Kim’s goals were to create a weekly news program produced by students to share school news and important communications with the school campus and the community. Kim decided to collaborate with the AHS Journalism teacher to jointly work the challenge. Within a few weeks of starting the project, they had acquired a green screen, camera, teleprompter, microphones and had found 5 students who were very interested in trying broadcast journalism. They quickly realized that creating the weekly show, while daunting, was the easy part. Sharing it in the classrooms, parents, and community on a timely basis was the challenge.
Enter SchoolTube – stage right. At a previous school Kim had had some experience with SchoolTube, but it was several years ago. Since 2007, SchoolTube has specialized in the video hosting needs of K12 schools and districts. She quickly found SchoolTube’s website and started investigating. What she found surprised her. SchoolTube had launched an entirely new system in Sept. 2019 that met all of her broadcast sharing needs AND addressed the growing need for a video hosting solution for Aspen’s teachers who wanted a safe, convenient way to create, curate and share video as part of their teaching process.
SchoolTube now offers unlimited video hosting, unlimited brand able channels, the ability to create video playlists, caption videos and edit the caption file for accuracy, directly record screen, audio and camera feeds from any device, and a unique program called SchoolTube Passport that allows public videos on YouTube® to be played safely through SchoolTube. “My challenge prior to SchoolTube, was the uncertainty of what would appear alongside our school videos on YouTube and that fact that YouTube prevents schools from posting any branded content,” said Kim. “SchoolTube only works with K12 schools and teachers, therefore all content is school related, so we didn’t need to worry about what else is on their system and while SchoolTube is supported by ads, their ads are school-safe and heavily controlled,” she added.
After establishing a free account with SchoolTube, Kim found that everything SchoolTube promised was delivered. SchoolTube is now the main publication arm of SkierTV, AHS’s flagship news program and a similar news program that is now starting at Aspen Middle School (AMS). The videos are produced in a “makeshift” studio, edited and uploaded to the SkierTV channel on SchoolTube. On a weekly basis at 8 a.m. students gather on Wednesday afternoons in mixed grade level groups for social, emotional and ethical (SEE) learning and the weekly broadcast is used to kick off those meetings. “It’s an elegant, simple, low-cost solution that checked all our boxes,” said Kim. “SchoolTube works great and our teachers love it!”
What’s next? Aspen School District decided to implement SchoolTube’s Ad-Free program, which greatly increases video play speed and removes all video and display ads. In the coming weeks, SchoolTube will be rolled out to all AHS and AMS teachers for their personal use. Teachers can create or collect lesson videos and upload them under their personal channels for sharing with their students. “Each SchoolTube account has the same capabilities of the account we use for SkierTV, so the teachers have all the tools they need to create and share amazing videos,” commented Kim. “Next year we will be expanding down to the student level where students can use SchoolTube for their personal video creation and sharing needs.”
Kim summed things up by saying, “We like that SchoolTube provides a multimedia platform dedicated solely to K12 education with all of the functionality that other multimedia platforms have, while also allowing cross posting from YouTube, creation of their own content and a cleaner viewing experience.”