Video Conferences

In my website of the week this week I feature the website http://projects.twice.cc/ or Collaborations Around the Planet.  I have used this site to conference with author Jim Stovall, and my students loved it! A big hang-up a lot of my peers have with video conferencing is a general fear of the equipment itself. Often times our tech department will drop off the equipment or expect you to come pick it up, but generally they do not plan on hooking it up.  If you have never used a Polycom unit or something like it, they are great! I have attached a short video on how to set up a unit before a conference.  It is really not that much harder than hooking up a DVD player. Like http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/home, using a Polycom unit is just like making a phone call, but allows you to see the person on the other end. These units are great for whole-class conferences. This site http://www.d261.k12.id.us/VCing/ gives all kinds of pointers on how to successfully incorporate a conference into your classroom. I always tell my peers, if you do set it up wrong the worst thing that could happen is that you have to reschedule. In the future, I think a great professional development activity in our district would be to have teachers setup the equipment themselves and call another unit in our school for practice, just to help with comfort. Anyway, if you haven’t used a video conference, check them out!

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