The Pickerington Local School District recently began providing access to school board meetings via live and archived videos available on the district website.
Aug. 28 marked the first time the Pickerington School Board recorded one of its meetings and broadcast it through the district's website.
It's something that will continue over at least the remainder of the school year, according to district officials, and the practice potentially could spread to a variety of other events, such as high school graduations or choir performances.
"Video captures more information than audio," said Jim Brink, Pickerington School Board president.
"The public can watch a board meeting live, or at their convenience, without being physically present.
"We're in favor of increasing opportunities for the public to learn what is going on with their schools," Brink said.
Live videos of each school board meeting, as well as archived videos of past meetings, can be accessed online at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/8452262.
The service is provided by livestream, a New York-city based company that delivers real-time videos to clients.
According to Brian Seymour, director of instructional technology in Pickerington's Department of Teaching and Learning, the district has a one-year contract with livestream that will cost $400 this year.
"For $400 we can stream and archive as many events and as many minutes of events as we want," Seymour said. "Our first stream was the last board meeting and everything worked smoothly."
Pickerington School Board meetings typically are held at 7 p.m. the first Monday of each month in the Heritage Elementary School auditorium, and 8 a.m. the fourth Monday of each month in the district offices.
Seymour said videos of the meetings will go live just prior to the start of each meeting and will be archived following their conclusion.
He noted the videos can be accessed by practically any computer or mobile device that can access the Internet, and there is an app for iPhone and iPad users.
"We did realize that people's lives are busy," Seymour said. "We want to make sure people in the district are well-informed.
"This just makes it a far more convenient way for people to follow and stay in touch with what's going on in the district."
Seymour said board members and district officials are expected to discuss what other district activities might be broadcast through livestream. In addition, a "comments" section for the online service might be offered.