Customer Q&A With Pathways to Education

Internet technology, and video in particular, are reshaping education.  While entertainment content is fun, we’re proud to have a number of customers who are doing the good work  of educating our fellow global citizens.

Here are some words from Pathways to Education Digital Media Manager Jason Shim on their use of online video and the technology behind their organization.

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Tell us about Pathways to Education.

Pathways to Education Canada is a charitable organization that helps youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education or training. Pathways to Education addresses systemic barriers to education by providing leadership, expertise and a community-based program proven to lower dropout rates. Founded in 2001, Pathways operates in 12 communities across Canada, with programs in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Manitoba.

How do the needs of your stakeholders affect how you use video?

We have program sites across the country and video are often sent in a variety of formats. Since everyone has their own way of recording video, we get our files in a variety of codecs or sometimes we have DVDs that we need to work with.

What challenges did you face, and how did Zencoder help?

Videos are a useful tool to share the work that we do with high school students across the country. We receive the videos in a variety of codecs and formats and converting the videos into useful formats for sharing with supporters and the media was challenging. It can take a while to hunt down the right program or plugin that supports the specific codec you’re working with. For longer videos, it could mean waiting for several hours for the encoding to finish. However, I discovered Zencoder and used the request builder to pull the videos from our servers and tasks that would have taken hours were now being completed in minutes. At first, I thought that the progress meter was broken, but when I checked the video afterwards, I was amazed that it was all there and how quickly everything was done.

How did you integrate with the service?

To be honest, we do it in a very low-tech way. Since we’re pretty low volume, we just use the request builder at app.zencoder.com and that does the job for all of our encoding.

What’s your favorite thing about Zencoder?

The speed. We used to have to wait hours for some encoding to complete and now it is done in a matter of minutes.

Please share a recent milestone from your organization.

We just launched our 12th Pathways to Education program site in Shawinigan, Quebec. We’re really excited to help support the youth who live there.

What excites you most about the future of online video?

What excites me most about online video is how quickly it is changing. It’s remarkable to think that YouTube has only been around for 7 years and has become an important part of our cultural landscape. I’m excited to see what happens with voice recognition and transcription technology and online video. If that element can be figured out, I think it will yield richer search results, especially for the billions of videos that are on YouTube.

Mobile internet access is getting faster and better and it is exciting that everyone essentially carries a video camera in their cell phone. I’m looking forward to seeing more tools being developed around sharing video easily, especially around the area of mobile live streaming.

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