Sunday, October 24, 2010

Videoconference collaboration technology for the classroom

Remember seeing that CISCO commercial where American students say they are taking a field trip to China and end up interacting with Chinese students right in their classroom? (if not click here)… From the outside it seems pretty outrageous and challenging to encompass something like this. But really it is not! The biggest challenge, obviously, would be finding the money to purchase a video conferencing unit for the classroom; however, once that hurdle has been passed the opportunities are endless for collaboration.

In fact, there is a database called CAPSpace (Collaborations Around the Planet) which is developed and supported by Polycom and an organization called TWICE (Two Way Interactive Connections In Education) that connects educators with real-time collaborative videoconferencing projects. It is basically set up to be a social networking tool for educational videoconferencing. Teachers can login to find colleagues and schools interested in collaborative videoconference projects as well as create and advertise one of your own to share around the world! There are currently 7348 educators from 33 countries registered with CAPspace.

A collaborative videoconference project gives teachers and students an opportunity to learn with another school or classroom. This is very engaging! Here is what a Jeanette Candelaria, a Volunteer Videoconference Coordinator at the Valley Elementary School, said about using CAPspace and video conferencing:
"With videoconferencing, our Title I, dual language school, nestled in a pocket of a primarily English-speaking community, can access domestic and international classrooms that can interact in Spanish with our students. Collaborations Around the Planet (CAPspace) and videoconferencing have made these opportunities a reality for our students."
Another example of usage is explained in the below short video. A teacher describes how she uses videoconferencing in her classroom to participate in Read Around the Planet. (There was an error uploading the video, so clicking on it will download it!)

How do you think you could or how would you like to use videoconferencing in your classroom?
> > Please share some ideas!!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Brandon-

    Neat idea and something you could do with Skype (or other similar web conferencing systems). Video conferencing could be used to try and get scientists from around the world that are working on current or past events. By spending thirty minutes it gives students a new insight to a world they know little about. Sure, everyone knows what a scientist kind of does, but there are so many things we don't think of behind the scenes.

    I also like the idea of connecting to schools across the world. This could provide students with the opportunity for a new age pen pal idea (if done on individual computers) or just learning about different environments and culture as a whole.

    Thanks for sharing and asking us what we might do. Really made me think of how useful this could be as an educator in my class.