Boxee in the Classroom

I cancelled cable a few weeks ago. Beyond the “there is so little on TV anymore” statement that had been rattling around my head for a while, the other deciding factor was an inability to “catch” any of the shows I could be bothered trying to watch at their given broadcast time.

Enter the internet: it would seem that most network television shows can now be viewed “on-demand” from the network websites. Our American friends have been spoiled by services like HULU, Netflix, and Vudu for some time now, and although Netflix has made a recent appearance in Canada, the catalogue pales in comparison to the American library (blame the CRTC I suppose, although I don’t have any proof behind that statement, this organization does seem to be the source of many of the barriers to free media consumption in the North).

Streaming from the internet is great, but there are obvious downsides, not the least of which being the task of getting your laptop connected to your television, and then getting up off the couch to search for each individual show (oh how lazy our remotes have made us). 

Enter Boxee. Boxee creates an interface on your computer that makes the “10 feet back” experience possible when watching shows from your laptop via your television. An idevice can even act as your remote, although if you have an apple computer, the small apple remote works perfectly with Boxee.

At this point you may be wondering what a post like this is doing on what I propose is an “edu” blog. Herein lies the connection.

Boxee, along with its ability to source television shows, has “apps” that help make video from a number of different sites available in a larger, easier-to-navigate form factor. Boxee, on an Interactive Whiteboard (IWB), becomes a very simple portal to video from sites like the Khan Academy, Open Courseware, TED, YouTube, etc. If your IWB is a student centre that is occasionally used to serve video, you need to check out Boxee. It’s a free download from You’ll need to create an account, because there are social networking aspects of Boxee I won’t get into here.

From the “cool tech tools that might be bent to yield results in edu” file.

Published by jarbenne

Jared Bennett is the Student Information System Consultant at Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

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