If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve watched or downloaded video from the internet before–at least, that’s what the results of a recent Associated Press-AOL poll on consumers’ video use would suggest. And, if you’ve ever watched any video online, chances are also pretty good that you’ve seen at least one video news clip.

According to the AP-AOL poll, more than half of all internet users have watched or downloaded video online. News clips are the most popular format, seen by 72 percent of online video viewers, followed by short movie and TV clips, music videos, sports highlights, and user-generated amateur videos.

The trend toward online video is having what experts believe will be a profound impact on how school sports will be viewed. Already, several smaller NCAA conferences are streaming football games and other athletic contests online, giving athletes at these smaller schools the chance to be seen on a national stage–and putting the schools on more of a level playing field when it comes to recruiting. Online video also is changing the nature of the news business–and eSchool Newsis no exception: To meet our readers’ desire for more video coverage, we’re excited to announce a brand-new monthly online news program beginning this month. Sponsored by streaming video provider New Dimension Media, eSN TechWatch is a 15-minute program that will bring the latest school technology news and information to your desktop in video format.

If you watched our coverage of last summer’s National Educational Computing Conference in San Diego, you might have seen the seven-minute news clip we produced about Nicholas Negroponte’s keynote speech and his One Laptop Per Child initiative. If so, I’m sure you’ll agree that seeing and hearing Negroponte speak delivered a much greater impact than simply reading his words in print or on a computer screen. Plus, watching video of conference attendees try out the prototype of Negroponte’s $100 laptop for themselves–flipping its antennae up like rabbit ears; rotating its display from laptop to tablet mode–provided a much better idea of how the machine works than seeing a static photo.

And that’s why we’re so excited to be expanding our video news coverage to a monthly online format. Our debut episode of eSN TechWatch features video coverage of our front-page story in this month’s print issue–the opening of Philadelphia’s School of the Future–with additional coverage you just can’t get in print, such as interviews with School District of Philadelphia CEO Paul Vallas and Mary Cullinane of Microsoft, one of the leading minds behind the school’s design. Take a look at what the students are doing with the state-of-the-art technology on the first day of school, and see how excited they are to be a part of this experiment, which has the potential to revolutionize school facilities planning in the years to come.

Our debut show also reports on the new study by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which raises another alarm about how well students in the U.S. and other industrialized nations are being prepared for the 21st century, compared with students from India and China. We report that story on page 24 of this print edition, too–but our video coverage also includes an exclusive interview with Gerald Bracey, an independent researcher and leading expert on international education, who sounds a note of caution about the OECD’s dire warnings.

Check it out when you have a chance. It’s available free of charge at this address: http://www.eschoolnews.com/techwatch The debut of our TechWatch program isn’t the only recent addition to eSchool NewsOnline.

In the past month, we’ve added information about a new tool from eRate consulting firm Funds for Learning (FFL) to help eRate applicants stay on top of the many regulations governing the $2.25 billion-a-year program, as well as an offer for a free eRate “check-up” from FFL. You can get the details on both of these initiatives at our comprehensive eRate Resource Center:

http://www.eschoolnews.com/resources/reports/ffl/index.cfm We’ve also added new Educators’ Resource Centers on the following topics: Formative Assessment and Instruction (sponsored by American Education Corp.)

http://www.eschoolnews.com/resources/reports/ formative_assessment/index.cfm Multimedia Instructional Tools (sponsored by ELMO USA) http://www.eschoolnews.com/resources/reports/ Multimedia_Instructional/index.cfm