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Table of Contents
Development of Ustream
Who founded Ustream?
Ustream was founded by Brad Hunstable and John Ham who were cadets at United States Military Academy at West Point. In the summer of 2006, the pair teamed up with Dr. Gyula Feher and created Ustream for members of the military to talk to their families via webcam while serving overseas. (11)
The founders launched Ustream in March 2007, and the service has since found worldwide adoption, becoming the leading live interactive broadcast platform. Ustream has offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Budapest. (10)
Ustream cofounders Brad Hunstable and John Ham as West Point cadets in 1998 (Credit: The U.S. Army) (2)
Ham and Hunstable last February (2007) (Credit: Ustream) (2)
What is going on with Ustream today?
Ustream is a website that consists of a network of diverse channels providing a platform for live casting and live video streaming of events, simultaneously, online (11). Today, the website has over 2 million registered users. These users create over 1.5 million hours of livestream feed every month!
Launched in March 2007, Ustream today is now available for free use by any member of the technological population that has a computer. For example, in the presidential elections of 2008, the website was used by nearly all the major candidates for to help their campaigns. Greater numbers of people were able to interact and ask political questions directly to the candidate.
Today, Ham serves as the CEO of Ustream. It is a privately held company with many investors, including DCM, Western Technology Investors, Band of Angels Fund, and Infinity Venture Partners Incubator Fund of Japan. Ustream also has a high-profile board of directors whose most recent addition is retired General Wesley Clark. (11)
Purpose of Ustream
What is Ustream?
Ustream is a growing internet broadcasting site that you can not only broadcast on but audience members can connect to the Broadcaster. Viewers can actually directly interact with the person they are watching on the screen through the utilization of the chat box. Ustream is also working toward mainstreaming broadcasting technology through it's easy to use interface encouraging a higher quality of online interactions than can be achieved through other technologies at this time. (11)
Ustream is a free application for everyone to use.
Who is the main audience for Ustream?
Really there is no main audience for Ustream. Anyone that can use a computer to browse the Internet can view videos. Also Ustream users can use a webcam in order to broadcast their own videos. It has videos and live feeds of a wide variety of subjects that can interest just about any web user. (11)
What can you do with Ustream?
There are several things you can do with Ustream ranging from sales pitches to having a guest speaker that was not able to be present in your classroom. The beautiful thing about Ustream is its ability to stream a live feed from a web cam and allow a viewer, say a student home sick from school, to ask questions in real time and allow the presenter to answer the question in real time. A user of Ustream could also use it to keep tabs on a pet if they want to place a web cam in the room where it is kept. Online classes could also be run by way of Ustream. Take a math class for instance. Instead of using presentation software and simply posting lessons online for students to go through on their own, the educator could bring the classroom to their students, making the learning experience more personal. (11)
How Does Ustream Work?
Ustream as a viewer
Most videos on Ustream can be viewed or accessed by a viewer by simply visiting the website and searching for a video with a topic that interests them. The viewer can then watch a live video or a pre-recorded video. Live videos are a true advantage of Ustream because they allow viewers to post comments live, as the video is playing. The video does not have to be live to comment however. Comments can often be made without having to log in; yet, individual broadcasters can choose to only allow comments from registered viewers. (10)
Ustream as a broadcaster
The second aspect of Ustream is being a broadcaster. To be a broadcaster one must sign up for Ustream and create an account. Once the account has been created the broadcaster can do multiple things to broadcast themselves to the world. The first way to broadcast is through live streaming. The broadcaster sits in front of either a camera, which is attached to the computer, or a webcam and records a broadcast. The broadcast can either be live, which means you can interact with the audience at that second. Or you can post your video so people can watch your broadcast at anytime they want to, all they have to do is search for your post.(10)
How to Start Using Ustream
How to set up an account on Ustream
To broadcast on Ustream, someone must first make a user account. Making an account is really easy. Like most online accounts, all you have to do is create your very own username and password. You will then be prompted to give some personal information, such as, gender, country, zip code and city. Then, there are options such as connecting your account to your Facebook account and/or your twitter page.
Once you have an account, you can broadcast your own videos so that others can watch. It is similar to Twitter in the aspect that you can follow certain people and vise versa. Once you have signed in, your username comes up in a window to the right of the video stream. Here you are able to interact with other followers about the video you are currently watching. (10)
How to start a live feed
Once you log into Ustream, a button will appear at the top that says "Broadcast Now". This button will lead you to a menu where you can start a broadcast. You then connect a webcam, camera, or other video playing/uploading device. Then you click on my shows, give your show a title, a description, and three words that can be used to find your show while users are searching, and then you can begin your broadcast. (10)
How to watch a video on Ustream
Watching a video on Ustream is very easy to do. All an Ustream user has to do to watch a video is log in, then search for a video of interest and select it to watch. (10)
How to post a video on Ustream
One can post a video on Ustream by uploading a video that a user has saved on their computer from a video camera or other type of video recording device, or the user could record a video by using their webcam and recording the show they want to post on Ustream. Once the show has been recorded either live or not, the show is then posted on Ustream for other subscribers to watch until the person who recorded the video removes the video from their profile. (10)
Can the language be changed for international users?
At this moment in time there is no way to change the language of Ustream. English is the only language that it can be run in seeing as it is a fairly new web 2.0 application. This is not saying that in the future there will not be a way to change the language of Ustream for international users. (10)
Relationship to Other Applications
Ustream with iPhone
There is an application that was released early this year that allows iPhone users to use their Ustream accounts. The application allows the user to view live and pre-recorded videos and allows the user to converse with other users in the chat rooms on the site. However, the buffering speed for live feeds can be a pain, so make sure when you are watching live feeds you are getting a strong connection. There is even a broadcasting capability for the iPhone that allows you to stream live from your iPhone. (13)
Ustream with iPod
As with the iPhone, the iPod touch is capable of using the Ustream application. It allows the user to do everything that the iPhone does; however, since the iPod lacks a camera you cannot stream videos from your iPod. (13)
Ustream with a Mac computer
Ustream is a very Mac-friendly application. Mac users can set Ustream to be a widget on their computer. This gives users the opportunity to use Ustream without opening up a web browser. The widget must be downloaded to the computer. Once the widget has been downloaded then it can be placed into the dashboard of the computer. The widget allows you to view live streaming shows. You cannot search for or broadcast videos. If while watching the live stream one can go to the website by simply clicking the website address, this will take the view straight to the Ustream website. (12)
Ustream with Android
Ustream has recently released an application that allows Android users to access their Ustream accounts from their cell phone. Users may broadcast and interact live from their phone, or record and upload them anytime later. Interacting via chat and social stream is also possible through Android phones (14). As with the iPhone, make sure you are receiving a strong connection to facilitate use of Ustream.com.
Ustream with Nokia
Ustream has also updated with Nokia phones. Nokia users are able to access Ustream accounts via cell phones and may broadcast and interact live. As with the iPhone and Android, a strong connection is recommended.
Unique Ways to Use Ustream
A unique aspect of Ustream is that this website allows you to stream live, which allows someone the ability to log on and post questions or comments while a video is still being recorded. This could allow a class to "tune in" to a streaming video and ask questions to the presenter and get answers in almost real time. Teachers are doing this in classrooms already. There was an instance of a teacher using Ustream to reinforce the differences in the growth-cycles of different insects to the students.
Students who are sick are now able watch classes online and have the opportunity to ask their teachers questions on the material being presented. This is a very beneficial tool in helping the students to not fall behind, thus avoiding troubles later when trying to catch up.
Another way teacher could use Ustream is to observe teaching strategies from other teachers that have a live stream of their own classroom. This could aid teachers with instructional and behavior management strategies. It could provide teachers with other ways to explain certain subjects that could help a struggling student to better understand. This aspect can also inspire teachers with incorporating new activities into their classrooms.
Use in the Classroom
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Post Secondary Use
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Use in the Business World
Ustream is a very useful tool when it comes to doing presentations in the business world. Just as a face-to-face presentation, it allows the audience to hear and see the presenter and all of his or her visual aids. It also allows for communication between the presenter and audience such as asking questions or clarifying ideas. There are also extra benefits to using Ustream for business presentations. It saves money on gas and hotels and cuts travel time. Multiple audiences can view the presentation at one time and the video can be saved for those who could not watch it live or who want to go back and view it again.
This application could allow a person to give a presentation to different rooms or other companies at the same time and ask/answer questions live. This saves on traveling time and lodging costs required when traveling to give a presentation or to watch a presentation. This works better than other sites because viewers are not only able to ask questions, but they also have a visual of the person and their visual aids. Other programs which only provide audio can tremendously cut out a large amount of the effect of a presentation to a viewer. More importantly, it's free.
Ustream could also be used for sales pitches. This could allow for multiple audiences and allow them to give the presenter feed back and ask questions in real time, allowing for a fast pick up of a product. The use of Ustream not only allows you to display and explain a project, it allows you to have the presentation effects of real time video stream and question and answer abilities. This allows you to reach a broad audience and let them know that you are actually there live and are not just a recording that they can only revisit to see the information again.
Educational Value of Ustream
Ustream has great potential to be of high educational value. It provides access to videos on every topic that could possibly exist. For example, many classrooms have used Ustream to post students' presentations so family and friends with busy schedules can watch the presentations online whenever they can. http://drapestakes.blogspot.com/2008/02/ustream-just-another-thing-to-worry.html is a link to a page that was written by a teacher who used Ustream to post his students' presentations so that anyone with the designated password (given to students to give to parents) could log on and watch their student and other students present their projects. If teachers are permitted to use Ustream in their classrooms, they could not only post videos but also watch videos posted by other groups of students or by other people to learn new material in a more visual, hands-on method.
Students in an elementary setting can use and experience Ustream while in class. They can view educational videos online or watch interesting things live. They can watch a live video from their teacher or they can watch a video that has been posted. Elementary students may not be of age to use such a technology, but any teacher is more than capable of using Ustream. A teacher may use Ustream to show his or her students a video of someone or something that they would not be able to see otherwise. For example, a guest speaker may not be able to come to the classroom so they can talk to the class via Ustream.
Another example of Ustream being used for educational purposes is a "language learning show" called TV Tutor. It was created by KET German tutors and the talk show is entirely in German. It covers interesting topics such as music, sports, and movies. This show is created such that "students at all levels of German study should be able to follow along." Since TV Tutor is run through Ustream, student viewers can "add their own voice to the mix through special features available through the Ustream.tv platform." (1)
Use of Ustream in the International World
How can Ustream be used as an international tool?
Ustream can be used in the international world by aiding schools, companies, and various other people. You can watch something live from almost anywhere in the world. You can also comment on what you are seeing and share your thoughts with people who are halfway around the world. For this international tool to become more effective countries outside of America, for intstance Australia, require better understanding of the tool. This could be established through advertising and training so that the whole world can take advantage of this communication tool.
Can Ustream be used to help international awareness?
Yes, Ustream can be used to help international awareness. International political meetings or rallies can be posted onto Ustream, which will give viewers a look at how other countries governments work. One can also interact with people of other nationalities and have a virtual pen-pal. With this pen-pal a person can learn about a different nationalities food, way of life, customs, traditions, religion, and beliefs. This can lead to a greater awareness of other societies and help the world increase diversity and tolerance.
What are the disadvantages of using Ustream internationally?
The only major disadvantage of using Ustream internationally is the only language options for viewing information is English and Chinese. This has been a recent change, since the option use to be only English. This is still a disadvantage for people who do not know how to speak Chinese or English fluently, seeing as they would not be able to understand the website. There is a great possibility that as this tool is discovered and utilized more throughout the world, more languages will be added as options for viewing information.