Maintaining Student News Programs To Stay Connected In The Times Of Hybrid Learning, Remote Education And Social Distancing

Schools everywhere are finding themselves reevaluating and adjusting their morning news programs to meet social distancing and remote learning guidelines. Despite the challenges, School News programs are now more important than ever as districts attempt to spread accurate information across their school communities. Even the CDC guidelines for reopening schools recommend schools have some sort of announcements program to keep students, staff and parents informed. Here are a few ideas to help keep your morning news going despite new classroom formats.

HOW TO MAINTAIN MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS IF CLASSES ARE FULLY REMOTE 

  • If your school is fully remote but teachers are allowed on campus, one option is to have the teachers record the morning announcements. If you’re creative and record funny morning announcements, the students will get a good laugh and pay attention. Plus, through doing the announcements yourself, you might learn a thing or two in the process to make the program better for your students once they return to campus. Read about how this principal in Maine decided to produce the morning announcements herself to maintain a sense of normalcy, entertainment and school spirit. 
  • If you’re determined to get students involved, consider having students record segments at home on their cell phones. Many cable news channels are broadcasting from home with Padcasters, and your students can do the same! For $69, you can even purchase a smartphone mount and microphone to drastically increase the quality of the smartphone video. These devices can be easily sanitized and rotated between students’ homes, or they could stay with a single student. 
  • For some schools video morning news might be too much right now. If this is the case, temporarily transition to “print” journalism and have your student news team send written articles out via email or a website. This is also an opportunity to discuss the differences between television journalism and print journalism. 

HOW TO MODIFY SCHOOL MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS WHEN SCHOOL IS IN PERSON WITH SOCIAL DISTANCING

  • Only have one student at the anchor desk. If you want to incorporate multiple anchors, you can have them at separate desks and cut between the angles like they do on the real news. Instead of panning the camera, experiment with a multicam broadcast. If filming on iPads, Live:Air allows you to hook up multiple cameras wirelessly and cut between them. 
  • You may have noticed that a lot more interviews on TV are being filmed outdoors. Follow their lead and try recording outside! The Padcaster Studio includes a number of tools ideal for outdoor filmmaking, including the Padcaster Supershade for blocking sunlight and multiple microphones with wind screens. 

HOW TO ADAPT MORNING ANNOUNCEMENTS TO ACCOMMODATE A HYBRID LEARNING MODEL   

  • If students are on campus but not all at the same time, you might need to arrange multiple crews. A benefit to multiple crews is that with a smaller group the students learn to work together as a real broadcast team. They can even have distinct themes, feels, or topics. Have students name their respective shows, choose theme music, and/or have their own recurring segments. 
  • Remember that you can always mix live and pre-recorded content. As an alternative to the idea above, have one group put on the live broadcast and the other group provide pre-recorded segments to be included in that broadcast.
  • As mentioned in the remote learning section, consider adding “print” journalism as an option for students that may not be attending class in-person to keep them involved. You can even have video students team up with newspaper students to cover a story together, each creating a different product. 

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS 

  • Keep in mind that you can and should create your own mix of all these ideas and more. Each school and program is unique, and there is no one size fits all solution. If you need guidance getting morning news and announcements back up and running, feel free to schedule a complimentary Zoom meeting with the Padcaster team. 
  • Show students examples of how professional news organizations and filmmakers are struggling with the same challenges. They might be surprised to realize that professional news organizations are employing the same exact methods they are. 
  • Make sure that parents have access to these videos. Many parents are confused and overwhelmed right now, and the ability to watch a school news show will inform and entertain them.

Padcaster transforms your iPad or smartphone into an all-in-one mobile production studio so you can create professional-quality videos from your home or anywhere else. Whether it’s for distance learning, telecommuting, remote broadcasting or livestreaming -- Padcaster will help you produce high-quality content wherever you are. If you are adjusting to distance learning and have any questions, Padcaster wants to help you! Fill out the form below to get in touch or set up a free video consultation with a Padcaster representative here.

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