Strategy for playing "Come, Follow me"

Discussions on how emerging technology can assist the distribution of media content through mobile, kiosks, Internet, social networks, etc.
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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:26 pm

Kolsen,

My only bit of feedback here with what you have posted, is that there are many people in the church who eschew all things connected, or at least are NOT EVER going to be capable of downloading something to a USB stick. We are setting up a haves/havenot's system here that is unfortunate.

Are the Ward Technology Specialist callings coming as well?
“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

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:15 pm

ksolsen wrote: - If you don't have a personal device, we recommend downloading videos to a USB flash drive, and then connecting the drive to a USB player, such as the Western Digital WD TV Live, which has HDMI and composite video connectors, allowing it to connect to almost any TV or projector currently in meetinghouses. The Roku 2 XS also has a USB port (the other current models do not), and it can play .mp4 files only, so it would also work as a USB player, although the Western Digital product is less expensive and supports more video file formats.
Two issues/problems regarding this and other points made.

First, why are we asking members to provide their own equipment to perform the duties of a calling? For some wards this is not really even an option when only a small number of ward members have such devices.

Second, there are a lot of meetinghouses without the necessary equipment to handle this sudden need for multimedia in the classroom. Our meetinghouse is new and yet it only has 3 monitors. One is large (42 inch?) and two are small (23 inch). None of them have built in capability for USB video. The two small monitors have built in DVD players that play only DVD-ROM. There is one DVD player used with the larger monitor that has only basic DVD playback capability and no USB video capability. The ward budget cannot support buying even one Western Digital WD TV live or Roku 2 XS let alone six plus one-fourth the cost of the additional monitors needed. Our meetinghouse supports four units that meet in overlapping three-block meeting times. The need for multimedia equipment is doubled because of the overlap. I don't envision the stake has the funds to support buying the additional monitors and multimedia equipment for fourteen units in six meetinghouse locations.

The result of this is that many classes will have to forgo the digital presentation option.
JD Lessley
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JamesAnderson
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Postby JamesAnderson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 3:48 pm

I've also found that some of the content is also available on DVD as well. I think a couple may be on older New Testament Presentations DVDs, and a couple may be on some older CES DVDs that were made available generally a few years back, for the 'media kits' that CES teachers used.

Still available from Deseret Book is a DVD of 20 or so Mormon Messages, it had the Church logo on the inside of the cover. They were sold this way so the DVD would go onto Amazon or other places where they could be found under a recognized publisher.

Given all that, this will mean that only a very small number of items may not be easily accessible outside of the either streaming or DVD.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:36 pm

Personally, I'd like to see everything made into a downloadable ISO file. That way it's a ready-to-burn, ready-to-use DVD and not the current scattering of content. It uses what we currently have in the meeting house and complies with the recommendation to download in advance.

Seems like it should only take someone a media specialist in CHQ a few hours to produce the ISO. I know from experience that trying to download the video and burn it to a DVD isn't for the raw beginner. And it's time consuming.

Content can still be changed and updated frequently.
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Postby lajackson » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:00 pm

For the time being, we have suggested that one of the units in each building assign/call someone who has more developed skills, furnish them with blank DVDs, and ask them to download videos for the meetinghouse library.

And we have asked the teachers to let the librarians know which videos they would like to show in advance.

The result will be a set of DVDs maintained by the library that can be shown using the current equipment. This does not solve the problem of having nine DVD players available at the same time, but there is a feeling that inspiration may influence the desire to show different videos at different times.

Back in the old days (a very relative term) we had two Gospel Doctrine classes that absolutely insisted they be able to show the same video the same day. The issue was resolved when one teacher showed it during the first part of the lesson and the other one showed it later in the lesson. Someone else quietly rolled the equipment from one classroom to the other at the right time by prior arrangement.

Granted, something like this requires close coordination, but as I recall from the training, that is supposed to be happening anyway with the new curriculum.

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johnshaw
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Postby johnshaw » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:55 pm

jdlessley wrote:Two issues/problems regarding this and other points made.

First, why are we asking members to provide their own equipment to perform the duties of a calling? For some wards this is not really even an option when only a small number of ward members have such devices.

Second, there are a lot of meetinghouses without the necessary equipment to handle this sudden need for multimedia in the classroom. Our meetinghouse is new and yet it only has 3 monitors. One is large (42 inch?) and two are small (23 inch). None of them have built in capability for USB video. The two small monitors have built in DVD players that play only DVD-ROM. There is one DVD player used with the larger monitor that has only basic DVD playback capability and no USB video capability. The ward budget cannot support buying even one Western Digital WD TV live or Roku 2 XS let alone six plus one-fourth the cost of the additional monitors needed. Our meetinghouse supports four units that meet in overlapping three-block meeting times. The need for multimedia equipment is doubled because of the overlap. I don't envision the stake has the funds to support buying the additional monitors and multimedia equipment for fourteen units in six meetinghouse locations.

The result of this is that many classes will have to forgo the digital presentation option.


This is right on the Mark.

Givens:
1. The Church has known that this curriculum change was coming for 2013 (or at least had a high probability it was coming).
2. The Church MUST also know of the very BAD AV equipment situation our meetinghouses have been in for years. (simple data gathering from FMAT could reveal actual replacements per stake or per building over a certain period of time, at least, they could analyze how many flat panels have been purchased, etc...)
3. The Church has known for some time the TV's they purchase are not capable of playing the mp4 format, but can play images and MP3.

Each of these situations could've been remedied by having FMG take a serious look at what was in place, or Make a fund available for meetinghouses on a tiered structure, for buildings built since the decision to move the Flatscreen = 0 dollars, buildings 3-5 years old, $1000 for AV equipment, 5-7, etc... a matrix could be established that has # of Units per building and $ to receive in 2012 to upgrade the equipment.

In our Stake we have done our best to implement something we predicted was coming for 2013. Even then, we have NO GUARANTEE that FMG will purchase the equipment we budgeted for. It is a mystery to me why a budget is not really a budget, but becomes a fund to allocate $$ from, regardless of what budget items were submitted to create the 'budget' number, but that is where we are.

I can't even imagine tackling this in a stake where the ward buildings are all several miles apart, how convenient it must be to think, well, a good portion of our STS will be able to figure it out without too much trouble. For those of us in stakes with multiple small branches, meetinghouses that are 2 hours away, this task is no small feat, to have had a couple months notice, with no funding, no real general direction. If each Stake spends $2000 in the US how much is that? Nearly 3 Million dollars that likely would've been a much better deal for many if the Church had ordered in BULK and got a CRAZY deal on these items. And that is 3 Million that shifts from a Facilities Plan to the LUBA... As Gary_Miller rightly points out... taking that much more $$ out of budgets and passing on costs to our members. If we're going to a member-supported budget again, I'll be happy to stand up and pay my fair share, but, the whole reason we aren't in that situation is that rich wards have everything cool, and poor wards have nothing..... we've come full circle again. If you happen to be well-off, and have an iPad, iPhone, laptop, or can just bring in your own projector and computer, then you're going to be the 'cool' teacher. But others not in that situation are unable to take advantage of the tools they are asked to use in lessons.
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russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:57 pm

What about the "other side"? Why should a teacher who has the ability, and who does have personal devices, teach from a curriculum that's aims at the lowest common denominator instead of having material that allows them to explore what can be done?

Does the new curriculum require all this new media, or does it just show them how to incorporate it?
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ksolsen
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Postby ksolsen » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:08 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Does the new curriculum require all this new media, or does it just show them how to incorporate it?


I've asked this same question internally, and the answer I get is that while incorporating videos can be an excellent addition to a lesson, it is certainly not a required component. The concept behind the new youth curriculum is that teachers prepare and deliver their lessons by the Spirit, and the video may or may not end up being part of that.

That being said, I definitely hear all of the issues being raised in this thread. Certainly, funding such a large purchase of equipment is no small matter. Having adequate display equipment for all of the simultaneous classes is a big challenge. I can't say that we have easy answers just yet, but we are actively working on the issue. We'll see where it all goes.

DVD's are not totally out of play. I have heard discussions about creating and posting an ISO image so that units can burn their own DVDs (no word on timing yet).

It's certainly true that not everyone will feel comfortable downloading to USB drives. What about this idea: if we created a centralized website with all youth curriculum videos (which we are actually doing), and made it easy to download the entire year's worth of videos for one group (YM, YW, or Sunday School) in one .zip file, could we have the STS create a pile of USB drives that can be made available in the materials center? The videos would be organized into folders, by month, and fairly easy to navigate on a USB player or USB-capable TV (no harder than a DVD menu, in my opinion). That would relieve individuals of the burden of doing the download themselves. It would create a project for the STS, true, but it would be a one-time project each year.

The proposal for a ward-level technology specialist is still in play. No firm results yet.
Kurt Olsen - Product Manager at Church HQ for Digital Presentation (Personal Video Conferencing, Meetinghouse Webcast, Conference Rooms, Video Conference Endpoints, Meetinghouse Digital Content)

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:25 am

ksolsen wrote:What about this idea: if we created a centralized website with all youth curriculum videos (which we are actually doing), and made it easy to download the entire year's worth of videos for one group (YM, YW, or Sunday School) in one .zip file, could we have the STS create a pile of USB drives that can be made available in the materials center? The videos would be organized into folders, by month, and fairly easy to navigate on a USB player or USB-capable TV (no harder than a DVD menu, in my opinion).


What would be the advantage of this approach? The stake would have to obtain the USB player (about $100/set) and USB devices. I'd be concerned the USB drive would disappear as they do have a value outside of church. (For that matter, I'd be concerned about the USB player as they are quite small with an attractive value to portability ratio.)

I'd want to see an advantage to make the effort worth it. Otherwise, I'd probably end up spending the time to convert them to DVD. (And probably not do as good a job as the media department could do.)

Oh, and whoever is doing the DVD ISO, would it be possible to make a menu that can be navigated without the remote? They sometimes get lost, or the librarian is reluctant to loan them out because they tend to get misplaced.
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Postby russellhltn » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:17 am

ksolsen wrote:What about this idea: if we created a centralized website with all youth curriculum videos (which we are actually doing), and made it easy to download the entire year's worth of videos for one group (YM, YW, or Sunday School) in one .zip file


Where this might come in handy is loading this on the teacher's smart phone. It looks like a HDMI to composite converter is only about $30 or so. It may not work for all teachers, but smart devices are becoming more and more common. Heck, even my now-ancient iPod G4 will play video. (But it doesn't look like the newer ones can.)

One advantage of using the teacher's equipment is that they can practice at home with it until their delivery is smooth.

I'm not saying all teachers should do this, but I think we should keep that option open for the ones that do.
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