FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Discussions about using TVs, projectors, laptops, tablets, smartphones, DVD Players and other media players in meetinghouses including standards, management, how to connect to them, proper use, and support.
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johnshaw
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FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby johnshaw » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:34 am

Forwarded from FMG this week... A Very Consistent Theme to me. If you have all new stuff, good for you, congratulations - if you have old stuff... well make do.... STS can determine local needs, but there is NO funding of anything. To me this message indicates that while the FMG has had their budgets slashed in an effort to make up for an unknown issue due to the change in Missionary ages, now LUBA is being offered up to FIX the FMG problem that has existed for years. Gary, does the below seem to indicate that LUBA be used to supplement the difference? You make the call!

Nothing about the future. If Local units go out and spend their own money will it be compatibile with what the Church does in the near future? Not only are we now using Local Funds to make up for FMG, but our decisions may actually end up costing us more in the long run.


--------------------------Forwarded Message Begins--------------------------
(Proposed full-length article to be added to clerksupport.lds.org and linked to in the newsletter – still requires technical editing.)

Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media FAQs

On January 1, 2013, leaders and teachers involved in teaching Young Women and Young Men will be using a new online curriculum called Come, Follow Me (learn more here). An integral part of this new curriculum is the use of digital media, such as videos, as a resource for teachers during lessons.

Technology specialists are likely to get questions about supporting digital media during youth lessons, such as how to acquire videos, whether or not to use the Internet in the meetinghouse to stream videos, and what equipment is necessary and available.

What is the most important recommendation on how to play videos in the meetinghouse?

We strongly recommend that teachers download videos prior to using them in a lesson, either on a personal portable device (such as a laptop or tablet), or onto a USB flash drive for playback on a USB player or a TV with USB video playback capabilities (more to follow on these topics).

Should teachers use the Internet in meetinghouses to stream videos live from the youth curriculum website?

While this is a tempting option, we do not recommend that teachers rely on Meetinghouse Internet to play videos live while in a lesson. Many buildings do not have adequate bandwidth to support live video playback; in addition, with the potential of multiple teachers attempting to stream videos at the same time during youth lessons, it is highly likely that live video streaming will not be successful but will result in pausing and freezing, which will detract from the spirit of the lesson.

What about videos that are not downloadable due to copyright restrictions?

If a video is not downloadable (a small number are not, because of copyright restrictions), it may be streamed wirelessly, but this is highly susceptible to problems. Available bandwidth varies drastically based on location, time of day, and how many people are connected.

Two things that can improve chances of streaming success:
1. Use a wired network connection instead of wireless whenever possible.
2. Ensure sufficient IP addresses are available for all devices that may be attempting to connect at a particular building. Critical devices such as a clerk computer or even a teacher’s personal device can be given a static IP address, if needed.

Two additional things we are working on that we believe will help:
1. Improving filtering: We have been asked to improve controls over what can be accessed. Focus is being placed on providing access only to sites that help fulfill the mission of the Church. As people have access to less sites, less bandwidth will be taken up on things that are not Church-related.
2. Allowing local units to control who has access during important Internet-based events and when bandwidth is scarce.

Care should be taken to test media before it is actually attempted in a class in exactly the same way it will be used. It is recommended that streaming tests be conducted in meetinghouses during peak usage times.

Please keep in mind that YouTube is blocked by the standard Church firewall used in meetinghouses, so teachers should not rely on streaming YouTube videos live in the meetinghouse.

What is the expectation of the technology specialist’s role in supporting video playback within the new youth curriculum?

• Determine what audio/visual equipment currently exists in meetinghouses for use by teachers
• Ensure equipment is in working order
• Help determine wants and expectations of youth curriculum teachers – strategize on feasibility of meeting those expectations, or reset expectations to what is practical
• Train people on how to use equipment

Ecclesiastical leaders may assign others to assist you in this effort. Even the youth themselves may be able to assist instructors with using digital media.

Is the use of videos within the youth curriculum considered a requirement or a nice addition?

Though official Church media can be an excellent addition to any Church class, including those based on the new youth curriculum, please keep in mind that it is not a requirement for a successful, Spirit-filled lesson. When technology does not work in the way it is intended, it can distract from a lesson more than it helps. It is true, however, that the general direction of Church curriculum is trending toward the use of more multimedia content.

How can teachers make use of their own personal portable devices (such as laptops and tablets) to present videos?

One of the simplest solutions for showing video content in class is to download the media to a personal device such as a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For small classes (1-4 students), the video can be played directly from a laptop or tablet (smartphones are too small to be practical for group playback). For larger classes, these devices can be connected to TVs or projectors. Audio should also be provided (more to follow on these topics). In most cases teachers would be expected to provide the audio and video cables to connect their personal device to the available display and sound equipment.

If a teacher does not own a personal portable device, what other options are available?

Our strongest recommendation is to download youth curriculum videos to a USB flash drive. These drives are inexpensive – for example, a Sony 16GB USB flash drive is available from amazon.com (click here) for $12.62 USD, and that size can likely hold the entire years’ worth of youth curriculum videos. Once the videos are downloaded onto the USB flash drive, two options are available for playback:

1. Plug the USB flash drive into a USB player, such as the Western Digital WD TV Live media player (click here). Connect the Western Digital device to a display device (TV or projector), using either the composite or HDMI output.
2. Plug the USB flash drive into a flat-panel TV with a USB port that is capable of video playback. The likely new meetinghouse standard for flat-panel TV’s is the LG series of LED screens that allow for direct video playback from a USB flash drive plugged into the back.

Is there a website from which to download all of the youth curriculum videos at once?

This website is currently being constructed and should be available soon. This will be a great resource for teachers, allowing for all videos to be downloaded at once and stored either on a personal device or a USB flash drive.

Is there a way to utilize existing older audio/visual equipment, or do Church units need to purchase all new equipment?

Many meetinghouses still have older CRT (tube) TVs, which only offer either coax or composite inputs. While it is possible to purchase scan converter devices that could convert a VGA signal from a laptop to allow connection to the CRT TV, the easiest solution may be the Western Digital Live TV USB player (click here for more details), which provides a composite output (as well as HDMI). Most projectors in meetinghouses should offer a VGA input.

At this time, there is no formal initiative in place to upgrade existing meetinghouse audio/visual equipment on a Church-wide basis. Local units, however, may consider their own needs and determine the appropriate course of action.

What are the recommended audio solutions?

Special attention should be paid to providing adequate audio output when playing back videos. If students are unable to properly hear the audio portion of the playback, the effectiveness of the video will be greatly reduced. Recommended solutions include:

• Speakers on a personal device (laptop or tablet) – only for small classes with 1-4 students
• Speakers on TVs (CRTs or flat panels)
• Personal computer speakers connected to the headset jack of the personal device
• EJ-8 or EJ-10 (commonly called the “crab box”) connected to the room sound systems often available to the Relief Society, Primary, Priesthood, cultural hall, and chapel

A new audio device will soon become available for meetinghouses that will basically be a simplified crab box the size of a standard wall plate that will offer a 3.5mm headset input jack, which will be installed directly on the wall in rooms with built-in audio systems, such as the Relief Society room. This will make it very simple for teachers to connect from the audio output of their personal device into the wall plate using a common 3.5mm audio cable for immediate and simple audio output.

What newer audio/visual equipment is recommended?

A new list of recommended standard meetinghouse audio and visual equipment is currently being finalized, along with purchasing guidelines and methods.

How many display devices (TVs or projectors) will be needed per meetinghouse?

Technology specialists are encouraged to work with local leaders to determine a reasonable number, based on the expected simultaneous use of video playback in youth and other classes, tempered by what is reasonable and practical.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

dannykos
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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby dannykos » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:45 am

One thing to note with the LG series of TVs is that some of the models out-of-the-box won't play videos from a USB stick.

We have the 32LK455C and the 32LD450 - and the LD450 didn't support video, until I applied a remote hack using a universal remote to unlock a service menu to enable video support.

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johnshaw
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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby johnshaw » Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:27 am

dannykos,

I just reviewed some youtube hacks and will try this on our TV's... that was my biggest complaint that even our new LCD tv's weren't going to support these files. In my stake I have an LG 32DL450 I suspect we purchase that one in my FMG because of cost.
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”

― Thomas Paine, Common Sense

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby dannykos » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:01 am

It's pretty easy to be honest - just need to get the correct codes & password. If you get stuck let me know, and I'll send you the instructions I found.

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby Gary_Miller » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:51 am

JohnShaw wrote:Gary, does the below seem to indicate that LUBA be used to supplement the difference? You make the call!


It does seem to be that way. Especially under this question.

JohnShaw wrote:Is there a way to utilize existing older audio/visual equipment, or do Church units need to purchase all new equipment?

Many meetinghouses still have older CRT (tube) TVs, which only offer either coax or composite inputs. While it is possible to purchase scan converter devices that could convert a VGA signal from a laptop to allow connection to the CRT TV, the easiest solution may be the Western Digital Live TV USB player (click here for more details), which provides a composite output (as well as HDMI). Most projectors in meetinghouses should offer a VGA input.

At this time, there is no formal initiative in place to upgrade existing meetinghouse audio/visual equipment on a Church-wide basis. Local units, however, may consider their own needs and determine the appropriate course of action.


However, this seems to indicate that there is additional guidance coming forward. Hopefully it will address the funding issue as well.

JohnShaw wrote:What newer audio/visual equipment is recommended?

A new list of recommended standard meetinghouse audio and visual equipment is currently being finalized, along with purchasing guidelines and methods.


JohnShaw wrote:Nothing about the future. If Local units go out and spend their own money will it be compatible with what the Church does in the near future? Not only are we now using Local Funds to make up for FMG, but our decisions may actually end up costing us more in the long run.


I think the guidelines alluded to in the above question will solve the issue of comparability as long as units stay with the recommended standard equipment.

JohnShaw wrote:How many display devices (TVs or projectors) will be needed per meetinghouse?

Technology specialists are encouraged to work with local leaders to determine a reasonable number, based on the expected simultaneous use of video playback in youth and other classes, tempered by what is reasonable and practical.


This will be the key making sure we meet needs without going over board.

It very well may end up that activities in wards and stakes will end up being reduced in order to purchase AV equipment for the new curriculum. The worst thing about using LUBF will be where the portion of the LUBA the funds come from. The only place to take it from is the YM, YWs and primary allowance as that's where the bulk of the allowance goes and is also the areas where leaders have some flexibility, funding long term camps.

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby aebrown » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:54 am

Gary_Miller wrote:The worst thing about using LUBF will be where the portion of the LUBA the funds come from. The only place to take it from is the YM, YWs and primary allowance as that's where the bulk of the allowance goes and is also the areas where leaders have some flexibility, funding long term camps.


I don't see how taking funds from youth is the only possibility. You can tighten the budget in any area -- reduce the ward Christmas party, the RS birthday dinner, the printed ward directories, etc. There are certainly some areas that are difficult to cut, but by no means are the youth budgets the only areas that could be cut.

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:35 am

dannykos wrote:We have the 32LK455C and the 32LD450 - and the LD450 didn't support video, until I applied a remote hack using a universal remote to unlock a service menu to enable video support.


The question becomes why was it locked? I suspect it was so the manufacturer didn't have to pay for a codec needed to play the videos. If so, one has to question how honest this would be. The unit would not be properly licensed for what we're using it for.
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby dannykos » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:47 am

But the codec must be there in order to play the files as I did? Anyhow, unless someone can show that this is prohibited we'll carry on using it this way.

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby russellhltn » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:32 pm

dannykos wrote:But the codec must be there in order to play the files as I did? Anyhow, unless someone can show that this is prohibited we'll carry on using it this way.


Yes, the codec must be there. But why it was disabled is the question - was it licensing or was the manufacturer trying to control the features of a lesser model?
Have you searched the Wiki?

Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

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Re: FAQ for Supporting New Youth Curriculum Digital Media

Postby Gary_Miller » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:19 pm

aebrown wrote:I don't see how taking funds from youth is the only possibility. You can tighten the budget in any area -- reduce the ward Christmas party, the RS birthday dinner, the printed ward directories, etc. There are certainly some areas that are difficult to cut, but by no means are the youth budgets the only areas that could be cut.


I don't disagree the could be other areas to take from as well. I used the term "only youth" do to the fact the youth programs are the largest percent of the budget and have the flexibility of doing other things to raise funds for camps which could free up LUBA funds for other things. I can think of many other areas where I would cut first, starting at the stake level, I just don't think the response would be very favorable.


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