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Planet eStream and the Tudor Tribune

20th July 2016 - Planet eStream and the Tudor Tribune

We always like to hear how members of the Planet eStream community are using their system in inventive ways.

We were invited to visit Tudor Hall School to see how Planet eStream was being used as part of their end of year ‘Tudor Tribune’ activity.

The whole school was taken off timetable for two days and within their houses (Tudor, York, Lancaster and Stuart) were tasked to create a news website within their Firefly VLE with stories that unfolded across the school. This was no ordinary news however, and staff worked hard to put together news and events for the girls to discover including:

  • Banksy style artwork appearing on the tennis courts
  • A new Shakespeare play being discovered and performed
  • A new panel of the Bayeux tapestry being unveiled at the school
  • ‘Anonymous’ hacking the school IT system

News was being distributed by emails, press conferences, interviews and more and the girls had to put together a news page that included a wide range of media formats including text, images and video.

John Field, Director of Digital Learning, explains a little more about the event and Planet eStream’s role;

“When we bought Planet eStream last year, we saw it primarily as a back room product: teachers would use it to record TV which would only be accessible to students when embedded in our VLE.

However, we identified Planet eStream as fundamental to the success of a recent whole school educational initiative – Tudor Tribune - resulting in its use by our entire student body.

Tudor Tribune saw every student working on one of four rival news websites and challenged to report, minute-by-minute, on 2 days of simulated rolling news. This news was delivered using emails, press releases, press conferences, videos and interviews, and our students were tasked to create good quality print journalism, photography, video interviews and green screen studio work within this live environment. There were educational aims: working in and managing teams, working to deadlines, and finding stories and not simply reporting a series of facts. However, there were also some IT training aims: learning how to use the new VLE, and learning how to use some of the features offered by Planet eStream.

Initially, we wanted to make the system for uploading video as simple as possible, and had hoped that the students would be able to upload to the VLE directly from the camera rolls of their iPads. However, it soon became apparent that the best solution was for students to use the Planet eStream website to upload their video content. There were 2 advantages to this: the video was automatically converted to the more agnostic mp4 format, allowing it to be viewed on a range of platforms and, secondly, our student schema requires that video content created by students is approved by a member of staff, eStream facilitated this and using iPads, staff members could approve videos on the fly.

Planet eSign was also co-opted for the event. The signage screen in the dining hall displayed the school’s Twitter feed which reported on our simulated internal news. Our other signage screens were either near, or within, the areas the students were using to create their news websites and, on day one of the project, these were hacked by Anonymous, who used them to issue various demands and threats.”

It was great to meet the staff and students at the school, and see how Planet eStream was being used to enhance and support their end of year activity. It was evident from the feedback we received during the day and from seeing the finished news pages, that Planet eStream was playing a vital role in the event.

John summarised up the Tudor Tribune activity and Planet eStream’s role by saying “Measured by any yardstick the event was a success: our students created quality print, photographic and video content; they became proficient in the use of the VLE and Planet eStream; they worked as teams. Planet eStream and eSign, together with the VLE, offered the event some crucial infrastructure.”

Thank you to all at Tudor Hall School for your hospitality and kind welcome.