[Case Study] How Harvard-Westlake Uses Live Video for Education

Tune into any basketball game on the Harvard-Westlake School channel and you might think it was produced by a team of professionals, not high school students in Los Angeles. Harvard-Westlake has shown how to effectively use live video for education and equip students with practical production skills.

Harvard-Westlake started HWTV, its live video production program, over four years ago and has since seen its viewership increase from 25,000 viewers in the first year to 50,000 in the second year, and 70,000 in the third year. Today, the school livestreams on average 70 to 90 events a year.

Early Beginnings, Big Dreams

Jason Kelly, Athletic Director of Communications at the school, had the vision to use live video for education, but had to start small to prove that livestreaming was worth the investment.

“Every time we did a broadcast we’d highlight the exceptional viewership which demonstrated that stakeholders were greatly interested in sporting and non-sporting events at the school,” says Kelly.

Harvard-Westlake’s mission encourages “Excellence, Purpose, Integrity and Community,” he explains, and developing HWTV – alongside Max Tash, Communication Teacher and HWTV Director – has given the school a platform to not only use live video for education, but become one of the nation’s leading high schools in broadcasting while meeting the tenants of its mission statement.

“By providing a tool which highlights the excellence of our school and students, we can demonstrate how our school serves our community with great integrity,” explains Kelly.

In year one, about 16,000 viewers tuned in to its high-profile water polo game – four times the number of online viewers for the division one men’s NCAA finals the same year.

Using Live Video for Education

With concrete numbers to demonstrate the success of HWTV, the program’s director Tash is keen to further ramp up its livestreaming efforts. He has built a green screen studio and installed new lighting for the expanded broadcast journalism program that will be streamed live.

In the near future, the school expects to install several permanent cameras with remote stations for students to run the cameras, and eventually build a media center for the broadcast journalism program.

“Our dream is that Harvard-Westlake will have a much bigger media center that will house not just the student paper, but a robust broadcast journalism program,” says Tash. “People are excited about what we’re building. We’re hoping for a weekly Sportscenter-type of program by 2018.”

Read our case study to learn:

  • How to use live video for education in schools for sports and events.
  • How to use built-in social tools to increase engagement.
  • Best practices for developing an educational livestream program.