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School district launches EDV-TV Web site

BRADENTON — Allie Smart’s relatives couldn’t make it over from England to watch her school ballet recital at Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t see it.

Thanks to a new service launched recently, viewers can now jump online from anywhere and watch on-demand videos of student performances through the Manatee County School District’s television station, EDV-TV.

Student recitals are just a few of the hundreds of videos now available on demand on the EDV-TV Web site.

“This is a service that allows anyone with Internet access to see any of our programs at any time they want to,” said Stefano Biancardi, the district instructional television and program manager.

In addition to student performances, viewers can watch school board meetings, district workshops or the latest happening at each of the district’s schools.

About 250 videos were online as of this week and the libraries will continue to grow throughout the year.

“We have individual school promotion videos, we have recorded field trips, you name it. Anything we film about the schools is gonna be on there,” Biancardi said.

At the click of a mouse, Grandma can now log on from California and watch her grandson perform in the Rowlett Boys Choir.

If the performance is playing on EDV-TV at the time, you can watch it live.

Otherwise, it is recorded, then placed online so they can watch it at their convenience.

“Our TV station only broadcasts locally and we know there are a lot of families, students and staff who have relatives outside our county. So this is a way of making sure these people can watch what we do as well,” he said.

Allie’s dance production was performed when she attended Lee Magnet Middle School last year.

“I really enjoyed filming at the Ringling and, thanks to the on-demand program, I had a whole new way to connect to my family,” said Allie, now 16.

The service also allowed her grandparents in California to watch her.

“It also gives them the opportunity to watch it as many time as they want,” said her mother, Anna Smart, of Bradenton. “You know how grandparents love to watch their grandkids over and over.”

Schools Superintendent Tim McGonegal said the service benefits both students and their relatives.

For parents new to the area, there is a link on the site that explains how to register children at their respective schools.

For students, the service can brighten a child’s day.

“We want parental involvement and family involvement in our students’ education,” said McGonegal.

“Nothing means more to a child than a grandparent or relative telling them they watched their performance.”