Friday, August 23, 2013

The Launch of our Chromebook Newscast

A few years back, I was asked by my principal if we could start a morning newscast at my K-8 school.  At the time, we didn't have the technical equipment possible to make it an easy process.  It sat in the back of my mind for awhile not sure if it would ever become a reality.

This year, we launched TigerCast!  A weekly newscast produced by our 7th & 8th graders.  The show was made possible because this school year, we went 1:1 Chromebooks in our middle grades.  With the ever increasing functionality of live Hangouts through YouTube/Google+ and each student having a Chromebook, I decided this was the year we could pull off a simple morning newscast.

Our first episode was put together by 5 students.  We had 2 anchors, 2 reporters, and 1 director.  The director was supposed to run the Hangout and did so brilliantly in our test runs.  However, one of the other students didn't show up the morning we recorded, so our director became an anchor and I "directed" the first newscast.  With the exception of me pushing a few buttons out of necessity, the newscast was entirely student produced.

Since I am my school's GAFE administrator, I was able to set up 4 different accounts that aren't student accounts and open those accounts up to Google+.  The Hangout is run live from those 4 accounts so the students don't need to log in to their personal account.  Their school GAFE account doesn't have access to Google+.

We ran 4 different Chromebooks (3 for cameras and 1 for "master control") and broadcast the newscast live to YouTube using the Hangout Broadcast feature.  We used a Blue Snowball Mic on the main anchors and once I get a couple more mics, I will use those for the reporters as well.  I then go in and edit some of the settings on the video and send to our teachers to show to their classes.  Our principal emails it out to the parents as part of her weekly newsletter.

As we get better, we are going to make an intro animation, potentially play pre-recorded video packages using the video/screen share feature, and add an animated background as our technical skills improve.  Below, you can see the first episode.  I'm aware there are several mistakes, but as mentioned earlier, this was almost entirely student-produced and I like for them to learn "on the job."  Feel free to follow along and see the progress my students make on TigerCast!


  1. Great job, especially for episode one. What was up with the camera shake on Ben's chrome book? My guess is a not so stable table combined with reporter jitters. I teach university but would love to suggest this activity for our high school.

  2. Great job with your first episode. Student-run newscasts are a great experience for students. We have another simple approach for newscasts if you'd like to explore. Feel free to visit us at MyLiveDistrict on the web for info and sample newscasts from 4-8 grades. -John