Facebook Live (FBL) appeared as a response to Periscope from Twitter. Both are live streaming technologies enabling users to broadcast from their smartphones to their followership and beyond. In a short time, FBL has gained platform pre-eminence and has been used as the livestreaming platform of choice by many international media outlets. The Cisco Networking Team (CNT) at the Open University have explored the use of Periscope (Smith 2016a) and FBL (Smith 2016b) in distributed distance teaching.
Linked to stimulation funding from a large technology corporation. In Feb 2017, the CNT recruited 1000+ teachers from UK, Portugal and other nations to develop their teaching of network engineering principles. In keeping with the ‘open’ nature of the initiative, the CNT required scalable solutions on a platform that offered reach to all participants on all technologies as well as overcoming local restrictions.
FBL offered a zero cost and highly available solution. As well as considering the additional beneficial FBL affordance, allowing all live broadcasts under 90 mins to be permanently stored on a given social media page. By these means, the CNT used FBL to teach 1000 teachers networking via an open platform – available to all who wished to participate (with or without Facebook accounts).
Unlike other current social media streaming tools, FBL can be be connected to a computer desktop by anyone equipped with the free Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) application. Setting in place, the foundation for the CNT to offer centralised weekly broadcast sessions to this distributed community of teachers. Each session based around a set subject within the study programme.
The teaching experience which commenced Feb 2017 and ceased mid-July the same year. The CNT adapted the mLearning paradigm (Crompton 2013) by adopting social media as a learner engagement and delivery platform. It has gained considerable traction with a typical participation of 600+ from the community and data showing strong live as well as recorded video interaction.
This technical discussion will :
- Introduce FBL as a live streaming medium
- Describe experiences, good, bad and indifferent from using a social media platform for live broadcast based distance learning delivery.
- Exploring the analytics (data) acquired and linking this to benchmarked impact and achievement data within the teach the teachers course.
- Demonstrate ‘how quick’ and ‘how easy’ it is to connect OBS to FBL
- Encourage everyone to become teachers via FBL.
Crompton, H. (2013). A historical overview of mobile learning: Toward learner-centered education. In Z. L. Berge & L. Y. Muilenburg (Eds.), Handbook of mobile learning (pp. 3–14). Florence, KY: Routledge.
Smith, Andrew (2016a). Using Periscope to teach wannabe Network Engineers. In: ALT Annual Conference 2016: Connect, Collaborate, Create, 6 – 8 September 2016, Warwick University.Scalable
Smith, Andrew (2016b). Periscope vs Facebook Live – it isn’t a grudge match. In: 2016 Social Media for Learning in Higher Education Conference (SocMedHE16), 16th December 2016, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, England.