High school assembly – Plumpton

Plumpton High School draws on the expertise of its staff and enthusiasm of its senior students to deliver engaging online assemblies. They are now planning to deliver a virtual graduation.

Context

Plumpton High School is a 7-12 high school located in Western Sydney with 1048 students representing over 65 different nationalities and including 106 Aboriginal students. The school’s vision is that excellence comes when students and staff commit to becoming the best they can be and contribute to the local and global community in a meaningful way. Plumpton has been achieving milestones in the areas of student voice, agency and citizenship, quality teaching and learning and supporting all students with the development of their wellbeing.

To ensure the school maintained contact with students, parents and the community, they moved their weekly assemblies online. The aim was to provide students with valuable information related to their health, wellbeing and academic needs. These assemblies promoted and celebrated student successes, cultural diversity and kept the community connected.

Plumpton High School – 4th live assembly.

Equipment used

The team at Plumpton High School have access to a podcasting kit that was donated to the school earlier this year by RODE. The VET Entertainment students and teachers have been using this kit in recording audio for their virtual assemblies. The kit includes:

  • RODEcaster Pro podcast production studio
  • 2 microphones
  • microphone stands, cables and headphones.

When live streaming, the team uses Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), which lets them switch between different sources including a holding slide and the webcam.

The team also bought:

  • a licence ($15/month) to Castr which allowed them to livestream to YouTube and Facebook simultaneously
  • a Roland video switcher that allowed them to switch between camera feeds.
Image: Sound equipment setup including RODE podcasting kit.

Process

According to Principal Tim Lloyd, Deputy Principal Melanie Groth and Head Teacher Claire Leihn, teachers worked with students from the schools VET Entertainment classes and the Year 12 Prefect Student Executive Council to write scripts, edit them and rehearse their talks before the assembly. The added benefit of this was that the HSC students have developed competency in the use of media equipment and software to capture video, sound and also have adequate lighting. The Student Executive Council has built their leadership capacity by hosting the assemblies.

From the experiences of the school with Facebook and YouTube they found that staff need to be aware of the constant changes in the YouTube and Facebook interfaces and make sure that they can turn off comments in a live stream.

Schools can refer to the Brightcove information page for OBS and Live Stream as it is simple, reliable and effective. Help is also available with the use of Facebook and YouTube for conducting school assemblies and live streaming them.

Image: Screenshot of student presenters at Plumpton High School

Some tips from the team:

  • Check to see that comments are turned off and ensure that there is a delay in the live stream so that comments can be deleted if required.
  • Use a teleprompter so that students who are presenting can look up at the camera.
  • Ensure that you have you have good quality microphone and a feed this into the camera directly to minimse surrounding noise being recorded.
  • Check your lighting and sound for any echo. Set up a dedicated space if you are going to do this on a regular basis.
  • Write a script and rehearse if you can. This can take time.
  • Make announcements that you are going to be conducting live streamed assemblies so that the information is out there.

Live streaming school assemblies was a team effort at Plumpton, with teachers and students working together to make it happen. The students took on more responsibility with maturity, and gained an understanding of the back-end work required for video production.

Checks

If the team have video editing skills, the video should be recorded and edited post assembly. The updated version can be one that is posted to YouTube, Facebook or the school website. Another thing they are conscious of is publishing rights. They always ensure that they edit out anyone who does not have the appropriate permissions from videos.

Schools can use the sample permission to publish form for more information. Due to the health advice to schools and not being able to have guest speakers physically present, Tim and his team are thinking about pre-recording a guest speaker and adding this to the final Year 12 graduation video.

Further information

For more information on their experience, check out the Plumpton High School Facebook page.

For more information on how to use Brightcove to keep your community connected take a look at the department's Brightcove guide.

We would like to thank the whole team at Plumpton High School for sharing their innovative approach to keeping their community informed and connected.

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