According to Marshall Kirkpatrick, UStream.tv is about to report 10 million unique visitors last month. That’s a pretty huge number for a site that’s only about a year old, and it says something about the appeal of both producing and interacting with live television. I know that the story I tell in my presentations of Arthus holding court live to the world on the night of the New Hampshire primary is one of my favorites when it comes to a signpost of just how far these technologies have come. Pretty amazing when you think about it, that kids even younger than Arthus can create their own live television shows for global audiences.
Not that this doesn’t come with a certain feeling of trepidation. I will guarantee that it won’t be long before YouTube‘s “worst practices” will be seen as minor compared to what we’ll get through the built in iSight or web cams or even the web streaming phones that are becoming more common (all of which, of course, will later be archived to YouTube no doubt.) But as many of us have already experienced, there are also lots of potentially great uses for live streaming that make it worth thinking about in an educational context.
Ironically, the main problem I have with UStream is that it’s almost too easy to do, and therefore we’re bound to see a lot of pretty bad content coming across our screens. How do we get ourselves and our kids invested in a process that moves us all towards more “quality” in a traditional sense? Or should we even be worrying about that? Will the best content, the best uses bubble up? Should the traditional measures and standards apply, and, if so, to what extent?
Dave Jakes and I (and perhaps some other “special” guests”) are going to be doing a spotlight at NECC next month on this very topic. If you have any thoughts or ideas that you think might fit with the presentation, please let us know.