Case Study : Royal Grammar School Worcester
"Our focus is on enhancing the teaching and learning function of the school, and I can genuinely see how we will use this product to achieve this aim."
Our digital media streaming and archiving solution received a royal welcome at RGS Worcester, a school with a rich academic heritage.
Planet eStream was installed to help the ICT department at the Royal Grammar School to create a central digital archive for the team of 250 staff based across three separate sites in the city.
Its first test was to stream a visit from the Princess Royal, allowing people who couldn't attend the visit to watch live over the internet.
Princess Anne's visit celebrated the 450th anniversary of the school receiving its Royal Charter in 1561 from Queen Elizabeth I. After arriving by helicopter, the princess received an extensive tour of the school, meeting pupils and some of the charities it supports, viewing sports demonstrations and work produced by pupils.
She then unveiled a plaque to commemorate the Royal Charter in front of hundreds of onlookers including staff, pupils, parents, friends of the school and the school's Combined Cadet Force.
Princess Anne at RGSW
Over 400 people tuned in to see the plaque unveiling streamed live over the internet, thanks to Planet eStream. The footage is among the first content to be stored on the school's new digital archive, alongside existing footage that the ICT team has been working hard to digitise in advance of the system's official launch to staff and pupils.
Head of ICT, Robert Berry, says the school was looking for a system that could record live TV, store it, enable teachers to easily find it, retrieve it and embed digital content into teaching materials, as well as allowing them to add their own content to create an extensive, ordered and readily accessible central archive. They also wanted to make that content available to both pupils and teachers remotely.
"Everything has to work 24/7," he says. "Lessons may stop at 3.45, but preparation continues, homework continues, learning continues away from the school site and outside the teaching day."
"Making information accessible to pupils outside school hours and enabling teachers to access information remotely makes a huge difference to learning and lesson preparation."
The system was installed by the Planet PC technical team with support from RGS Worcester technical staff over the summer holiday, and Robert says the first step has been to digitise existing material and store it in the archive. From there, the ICT team will roll the system out to staff initially, running demonstrations to show the benefits it can deliver and offering training and support to help them get the most out of it.
Pupils at RGSW
Robert says Planet eStream offers everything the school needs: "It is such a comprehensive system. We found a number of products that could support some of the capabilities we needed, but Planet eStream was the only one that pulled everything together in an easily accessible and complete package."
"It does everything we need it to do, and more. I am delighted to be able to offer and promote this product at school because it will enhance teaching and learning".
"It's very rare that teachers show an entire programme in class. The ability to embed digital clips into presentation materials and teaching resources on our virtual learning environment (VLE) and intranet site and add chapters to the archived footage makes it quick and easy for teachers to find and display the exact clip they need," he says.
"The ability to record live TV after the event is also incredibly useful. We were forever being asked if we had recorded yesterday's news, and this will allow Politics and Economics teachers to introduce up-to-the-minute news and information into lessons."
He says the ultimate goal is to enable pupils to generate, display and store their own content on the system, giving them scope to publish content in a secure and safe environment.
"We have a strong focus on developing our virtual learning environment on an ongoing basis so that it meets the needs of staff and pupils alike. We're also keen to make sure the VLE is effectively integrated with our physical learning environment. Planet eStream enables us to do this, and from the first time we saw the system in action we had no doubt that we were looking at the right solution."
Robert says Planet eStream forms an integral part of the school's internal and external digital and web strategy: "We wanted a system that would help deliver the school's digital strategy and evolve with our needs. Planet eStream is an impressive solution."