What is datacasting? Datacasting is a term derived from ‘data’ and ‘broadcasting’.
Datacasting converts a portion of the television broadcast signal to a one-way transmission of encrypted IP data. It offers the same coverage as terrestrial signals and utilizes existing network infrastructure.
Datacasting has been used for decades to support public safety and public emergency incidents. The idea of using it for education, however, is a new one. IPBS and its member stations, through grants awarded by the State of Indiana, are deploying datacasting to bridge the digital divide. By providing instructional content to students without internet access through datacasting, the divide is narrowing.
How it works:
What is the End-User Experience?
In order to receive files via datacasting, a student will need a Wi-Fi enabled device (i.e., cell phone, computer, tablet, etc.), as well as an inexpensive antenna and receiver. No internet access is required.
Any type of file (jpg, PDF, mp4, etc.) can be transmitted via datacasting. This means that the possibilities of creating and packaging content designed for instruction are limitless. Our goal is to create a personalized learning experience for students who would not otherwise have access to online resources.
Datacasting is currently one-way. Research and design are underway to develop an integrated return path that facilitates two-way interaction, allowing students to send completed work/assignments directly back to their teacher.
School districts will datacast a variety of instructional items, including recorded lectures, live lectures, problem sets, reading units, lesson plans, quizzes, tests, and a host of classroom assignments. Many of the items will be self-created by teachers, while the balance will be acquired from other parties such as PBS Learning Media.
Is datacasting expensive to undertake?
The cost to stand-up and maintain datacasting is relatively modest. It is cheaper than installing hotspots to deliver an internet signal. Households require a receiver and antenna to pick-up the signal and television stations must have a datacasting gateway to distribute it.
When will datacasting become available for educational use?
As a first step, IPBS is deploying datacasting through WTIU (Bloomington) and the Jennings County School Corporation. It will be available in early 2021. Once deployment in Jennings County is completed, it will expand to other areas of the state served by IPBS member stations. The ability to activate datacasting elsewhere will vary depending on several key readiness factors such as availability of educational content, technology, and funding. School districts that have been disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic will also be a key consideration.
How can my Local Educational Agency become involved in datacasting?
Interested Local Educational Agencies within Indiana should reach out to IPBS at info@IPBS.org. If your organization is located outside of Indiana, then contact our datacasting solutions provider, SpectraRep.
Where can I find additional information on educational datacasting?
You can direct additional questions regarding datacasting to info@IPBS.org.
Special thanks to SCETV for their overview information on datacasting.