As Sydneysiders shift to a new working and learning from home reality we all need to wrap our heads around the concept of streaming. To help make this transition easier City Hub spoke with veteran streamer Cat Benstead about her top tips, tricks and the essentials of entering the streaming space.
The biggest thing Benstead wanted to stress was that while streaming may seem complex and daunting it is actually far from it. “I really want people to understand that you can do it yourself. You don’t need to run out an buy expensive equipment, if your laptop allows Skype people then you already have everything you need to stream!”
The first challenge many people will face is choosing an appropriate streaming platform. But again Benstead stressed that you do not need to spend money, “Discord and Google Hangouts are incredibly handy free services which are easily accessible.”
Upon the COVID-19 outbreak Discord in particular took steps to make their platform more useful for a teaching environment. Prior to the outbreak each conference call was limited to 10 people, but that has now been increased to 50. With Discord teachers, whether they be dance, music, art, math, science or language etc are able to share their screen so that their students can see slides or notes etc.
The next challenge Benstead highlighted was “internet capacity.” For families with data caps this can quickly impinge on their ability to participate in online learning. However, some mobile phone providers offer a “donated data bank” where their customers can donate any unused data from their plans to be used by students.
As with all internet activity Benstead explained that it is important that parents monitor their children to ensure they are using the internet safely and appropriately.
For business with streaming being so accessible this shutdown may prove to be an opportunity find a new income stream. If this is the case that is when Benstead would recommend investing in streaming equipment.
“If you’re planning to make a career out of streaming that is when you can look at higher quality webcams, cameras and microphone. But otherwise just use what you already have.”
For further advice Benstead is happy to help on Twitter: www.twitter.com/catstead_