Ritsumeikan Primary School streams graduation ceremony live with Microsoft Teams

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To ensure safety and well being, Ritsumeikan Primary School embraces technology to share the students’ milestone moment with parents

The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted educational institutions across Japan – from widespread school closures to physical graduation ceremonies that limit the number of attendees or their outright cancellation. Against this backdrop, Kyoto’s Ritsumeikan Primary School hosted its graduation ceremony on March 14th – only accessible to its graduating students and teachers. Working closely with Microsoft Japan, the school successfully streamed the ceremony live to all parents and guardians using Microsoft Teams.

Ritsumeikan Primary School is one of the Microsoft Showcase Schools, a global community of schools engaged in innovative changes to improve teaching and learning using Microsoft’s K-12 Education Transformation Framework.

A regular user of advanced Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in education, Ritsumeikan Primary School worked closely with Microsoft to broadcast the ceremony to more than 220 parents and relatives. Using Microsoft Teams’ Live Event feature, Ritsumeikan Primary School was able to provide a dedicated URL link for all attendees to view the live stream remotely, on their computer or smartphone, without having to log in anywhere or have any existing accounts or licenses.

The entire process – from decision to deployment – took only six days to organize and implement. Two cameras – one at the back of the hall and another on stage – were set up to film the ceremony from different angles.

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The one-hour graduation ceremony was streamed live to parents with 108 students receiving their certificates, along with a congratulatory address by school principal Fumio Goto, and speeches from teachers and staff.

“With the temporary school closure, we had to make the difficult decision to host the graduation ceremony only with the graduates, teachers and the staff. We felt sorry for the parents and were trying to figure out what we could do, as a school, to let them witness this important milestone in their child’s life. We heard about the live streaming support program and started our discussions with Microsoft. Streaming the graduation ceremony live was completely new to us, but I think it has been revolutionary for all of us at the school”, said Mr. Goto, School Principal of Ritsumeikan Primary School.

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Ritsumeikan Primary School had long embraced the use of technology in classrooms, where every child has a device and everyone, including parents, are aware of the role technology can play in improving learning outcomes. The integration of technology in classrooms has helped the school management unlock potential opportunities and enhance student experience. This was pivotal in helping the school organize the virtual graduation ceremony within a short period of time.

The Microsoft Teams Live Event feature is available for use by educational institutions with A3 or A5 licenses for Office 365 Education. However, to support remote learning for educational institutions currently closed due to COVID-19, Microsoft is offering the A5 license free of charge for a six-month period. This means that any educational institution is currently able to create live events for free using Microsoft Teams. Schools are encouraged to make use of live streaming for their remote learning and school events.

Detailed information on the six-month free trial for Office 365 A5 licenses, and support provided for schools to move to remote learning, is provided in the following blog.

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