When Jason Murray, technology coordinator for the Cornwall-Lebanon School District in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, first started looking for a lecture capture solution, his main goal was to help faculty members better understand classroom technologies while decreasing the workload of the IT department.
With six schools located within the district, Murray’s department was responsible for helping teachers implement technologies at different locations. This meant that the IT staff would spend valuable time driving to different schools – time that could have been used to help teachers with technology problems.
The physical distance between schools also made it difficult to hold technology workshops for teachers, and scheduling conflicts forced IT workers to hold multiple training sessions at different locations. Recognizing the inefficiencies of this process, Murray began looking for a solution that would allow him to communicate with faculty members across the district.
After evaluating multiple solutions, Murray chose Panopto for its low total cost of ownership and rich media recordings that included video, audio, and screen-capture components. As a software solution that could use simple webcams for recording, Panopto could be deployed across the district without costly equipment.
Following a successful implementation, Murray and his colleagues began sending video podcasts to faculty members in weekly email blasts. Each recording would feature a different classroom technology and would provide a demonstration on how to use it. Recordings also were posted to an internal website so faculty members could access them at their convenience.
“Previously when a teacher needed help, we would drive to the school and go over the issue in person. Now with Panopto, if a teacher forgets something like how to connect a data projector, he or she can go to the website, click on the link for that training session, and get the information at any time. The addition of Panopto has cut down on so many work orders that it was like adding a staff member to the IT department,” says Murray.
As faculty members embraced Panopto recordings for professional development, their interest in using the software with their students grew. When a Cornwall-Lebanon student became ill and needed to miss weeks of school, his teacher approached Murray about using Panopto to record the classes the student was going to miss. Murray’s team quickly agreed to help, and, soon after, the first Cornwall-Lebanon teacher was ready to record content for her students.
Following the successful use of Panopto to help a sick student, word of the software’s easy-to-use recording technology spread across the district. Murray responded to this interest by training teachers across the district on how to use Panopto. Soon teachers from all six schools were using the lecture capture solution in ways Murray’s team never had imagined.
In the primary grades, Panopto’s one-click recording capabilities made it easy for young students to create recordings on their own without teacher supervision. This allowed students to record presentations of projects independently as they rotated through different activity stations, where one station would be set up with Panopto and other stations would include tasks designed to meet additional objectives. With this system, teachers could listen to student recordings and grade the presentations after class to help maximize students’ time in the classroom.
This process helped students build autonomy while carving out more time for teachers to help students master key objectives. It also added an element of fun to the day as students looked forward to watching themselves “on TV.”
Panopto also has been very popular among parents, who enjoy viewing recorded lessons and student presentations online. Panopto gives parents a window into the classroom and helps parents reinforce new skills. Parents can now watch classroom videos with their children to help them improve their performance and master new objectives.
The uses for Panopto have not stopped within the classroom. Faculty members unable to attend open house nights have used Panopto to broadcast virtual sessions to parents, and the school psychologist and nurse have created a series of health videos on timely subjects such as how to cough properly to limit the spread of viruses.
“Panopto is an excellent solution. I would definitely recommend it to any educational institution. There is nothing else like it out there.”Jason Murray, Technology Coordinator – Cornwall-Lebanon School District
With more than 55 teachers currently using Panopto, the technology originally procured to ease the IT workload has morphed into a valuable tool for faculty members, teachers, students, and parents to interact and learn within the Cornwall-Lebanon community.
Wanting to foster this growth, the district has developed plans to increase the reach of Panopto among high school and middle school students through a program called Virtual Academy. This program will bring the open-source course management system Moodle to the district so that secondary school teachers can record classroom material and post it online for students to access on-demand. The Academy also will provide students with a place to turn in recorded projects and assignments that use Panopto.
Since Panopto integrates directly with Moodle, teachers will be able to create and upload recordings to course websites instantly. This ease of use has led to dozens of teachers expressing interest in using Virtual Academy once it is launched. Adding to this interest is Panopto’s comprehensive suite of advanced features that include the ability to automatically recognize any recording device and remember saved recording settings.
With Virtual Academy set to increase Panopto’s reach among students and faculty, Panopto is quickly becoming one of the most popular new technologies within the Cornwall School District. It enhances learning, helps extend class time, and provides parents with valuable feedback on student performance.
“Panopto is an excellent solution,” says Murray. “I would definitely recommend it to any educational institution. There is nothing else like it out there.”