Birth of Video on the Internet

Lap Nap

In 1994, 22 years ago, my son was born; that year also coincided with the stirrings of the World Wide Web.

In those dark days of the mid 90’s – I had only 1 day off for my son’s birth – the day of the birth.

It was a home delivery. I remember it well; I spent the morning duck taping plastic sheeting to the floor; it was needed as was the bucket for the placenta. I helped deliver him and cut the cord. The school had Ofsted that day and I had a wry smile knowing what I’d be missing.

In a couple of weeks my partner was back teaching, job sharing with another teacher who also had a newborn. She often used to rush back from school in the lunchtimes, use a pump to express, put it in the fridge and then quickly back to school in the afternoons. I had it easy in comparison.

Before my son was born I had been to all the ante-natal classes and I was well aware of the amount of time needed to care for a newborn – I worked out that the WWW was one way of being able to get out and socialise without having to physically travel anywhere. Online video would become a big part of this and a lifeline to the outside world.

I had been on the Internet for a few years and when the first Internet cafe, Cyberia, launched by the entrepreneur Eva Pascoe in Fitzrovia London, I became the first customer of Easynet – the Internet service provider operating from Fitzrovia.

Cyberia 1995  London's pioneering cyber cafe Cyberia, photographed in summer 1995 CC BY-SA 4.0 Roger Green

Cyberia 1995
London’s pioneering cyber cafe Cyberia, photographed in summer 1995
CC BY-SA 4.0 Roger Green

I ran one of the first online poetry magazines in the UK and remember arranging to meet Chris Meade, the then director of the Poetry Society in the cafe. I got him to listen to sound files of Seamus Heaney online for the very first time. You cannot imagine how innovative that was back then.

1995 was the year I brought the Internet into my classroom. I remember writing a load of resources for the British and Science Museums and we won the Science Museum’s first STEM award for online educational resources for a virtual tour, although back then hardly anyone could see them in the UK but we had hits of 250,000 upwards on the West Coast of the States!

I’ll always be grateful to the late Lisa Jardine for stumping up the money for a modem (her son was in my class) to get us all online. Not only did the class go online but I also got hold of a very early videocam. In the evenings I used to cradle my son in my arm and log onto CuCme video conferencing client via the then Global Schoolhouse to “chat” to students at Cornell University and other teachers across the world via the Global Schoolhouse network. It was text only in those days or giant cartoon balloons and felt tips – no colour but it was video and video connection across the world adjusting for timezones!

Now roll back to 1979 when I started teaching. There were numerous teaching centres in the ILEA which held CPD activities every week in the evenings. It was useful to go along and see what other people were doing and how they shared resources. After the abolition of ILEA in 1986, these gradually started to disappear. Most of them were gone by the turn of the century. I realised that the culture of sharing and organising at grass roots level was no longer there. So I bought a (what I thought then) ‘good’ video camera and started filming and subsequently streaming events live so people could come together online and also attend remote events trying to curb the growing diaspora.

Fast forward to the present and we are now able to stream audio and video in real time from our phones anywhere and soon, we will have the capability to do that in 360 degrees and/or in Virtual Reality.

I was struck by a comment from the @maternityCPD on Twitter about how valuable it was to see and hear the Research Ed conference via a live stream link;

being able to watch and hear the stream and not have to worry about all the hassle of taking very young children there. This is precisely why I do what I do!

I have been live streaming events for over 16 years and not being able to physically get to events was one of the main reasons I started to stream video.

It can seem a daunting prospect to live stream video and audio. It needn’t be. There are just a few simple rules you have to follow to get a perfect live stream every time. You will always be at the mercy of your phone’s connection but if you invest in a phone holder, a tripod and a good microphone + light and battery then it is a fairly simple process to get up and running.

To do live streaming you need 5 things:

Phone Holder

1) A holder for your phone – buy this one – it fits all models:

Shoulderpod S1 – All in One Smartphone Photography Grip and Stand

2) You put the holder on a tripod – this is the cheapest/ lightest good one on the market:
Hahnel Triad Compact C5 Super Travel Tripod with Integrated Monopod

You put the phone in the holder 1) and fix it to the tripod 2)

3) But now you will definitely need a microphone to pick up speakers clearly (do NOT skimp on this) so this is one I would recommend

Keep your tripod as close to the speaker as possible.

4) If you are filming in daylight – fine you do not need anything else but the apps to allow you to stream – one tip though, do NOT film your speaker against a bright window – you’ll only get a sillouhette. If you are doing this in the winter, and/or at night when light levels are low – just add a Luxpad 22 and a battery to light your subject well.

5) Lastly you will need a battery to be able to recharge your phone on the go. LiveStreaming eats up battery time so buy one of these and attach it to the tripod using Velcro:

An EasyAcc battery is the cheapest and will keep your phone charged for several hours

You can Livestream from your phone using FaceBook or Periscope.

The best thing with FaceBook is to create a separate group page for streaming for your school.

Make sure you have people’s permissions to film them.

Do a few tests to see if it works by setting the Live Stream to be visible to just you.

You can read more here:

Kit Page

and here:

My Slides for the Telegraph Festival of Education

and if you want me to come into your institution and give CPD on this in depth then just go along to

and get in touch.

Don’t let being on Maternity or Paternity leave bar you from socialising and continuing to be involved with your professional peers.

Good luck.

Posted on by leoncych in Uncategorized

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