Videoconferencing Out on a Lim

Experiences, curriculum thoughts, new resources, and technology comments related to K12 videoconferencing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Best Kindergarten VC Programs

So you're a Kindergarten teacher and you want to do a videoconference this year? What are the best interactive programs for kindergarten level?
  1. One of my absolute favorite programs is Let's Go to the Show from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Highly interactive. Students sing and dance during the program. It's excellent! You have to be able to clear the floor in your distance learning room to do this one, so hopefully you don't have fancy furniture bolted down.
  2. See the K2K Connection 2005 post on Joan Roehre's blog. A year long partnership between two classes. I quote: Kindergarten (YES- Kindergarten!) teachers Lynette Powers (Southport) and Kim Frost (Somers) are once again connecting their students throughout the year using videoconference technology. Starting in September with "All ABout Me" students will present and share interests to their buddy at the partner school. Projects following are "Monster", "Nursery Rhyme", "What Should You Do?", "Catch a Leprechaun", "Activity Riddles" and lastly, a face-to-face picnic in May!
    Sounds like a great year long project. I'm sure the kids love it!
  3. Read Across America! Getting matched up with another K-2 class for an exchange is a great way to start off with videoconferencing. Techs should register in November, teachers in December.
  4. The Center for Puppetry Arts has great hands-on programs. Check out the K-2 programs. Learn a little, glue a little, learn a little more! End up with a finished puppet! Perfect for short attention spans!
  5. The Cleveland Museum of Art is another great provider. They have two K-1 programs. I haven't seen them yet, but they look excellent! We love the CMA programs, especially their green screen technology!
  6. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum (new provider) has a program for winter on Critters in the Cold.
  7. Space Center Houston has two K-2 programs. They are new this year too - just got a flyer in the mail a couple weeks ago. Worth checking out it seems.
  8. Camden Children's Garden has several K-2 programs. Haven't seen these either but they sound really good.
  9. The Cleveland Zoo has K-2 programs, but they schedule them and you have to sign up quickly because they are free & fill up fast! Their schedule for this fall isn't out yet.
  10. If you search our database for PreK, you get several programs that are good for young students.
  11. Michigan teachers, be sure to also check out our Grade Level Content Expectations & Videoconferences project.
Not a comprehensive list, but a list of favorites!

To my local teachers, email me or visit to schedule any of these videoconferences.

BCISD VC Programs Update Aug. 31

More updates!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Register for the Keystone Conference!

If you're participating in the Keystone Conference this year, register quick before the early bird registration ends on September 1! You can participate onsite in Indianapolis, via videoconference from your school, or via web streaming!

Don't miss it!
Looks like a great lineup of sessions again this year. This is THE premier videoconference conference in the world!

Friday, August 26, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Update Aug. 26

BCISD VC Program Database updates for today....

Good news. I think the crashing problems we've had in the last three weeks have been solved. I apologize for how the down time affected everyone's trainings! We should be up and stable now. Here's what's new this week:

Exciting New Class!

I'm just today filling out the paperwork for an exciting new class we'll be offering starting November 1. Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections or K2K VC. 2 graduate credits. 5 months (November to March) with one week of readings/discussion and one K2K videoconference with a partner class each month. Stay tuned for more details. Registration will open sometime after Labor Day.

Here's the description to tantalize you....

Videoconference (VC) connections between classes open up a whole new world of collaborative learning for students! Immerse yourself in videoconference connections with partner classes. Do one kid-to-kid (K2K) videoconference each month during this class. Learn about structures/templates for projects with other classes and implement them with your students and a partner classroom. During the class you’ll reflect on exemplary student-to-student projects, receive support during your own project connections, and apply your learning in your classroom. This class is best for teachers with easy access to videoconference technology. Interested distance learning coordinators or media specialists are strongly encouraged to sign up with a local teacher.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Videoconference or Video conference?

I was just exploring Alberta's website, and ran across a nice collection of Frequently Asked Questions. They are more creative and useful than the usual run of the mill FAQs out there, including the one on my site!

I quote Question #3:

Question: Do I spell it: videoconferencing or video conferencing or video-conferencing?

Answer: All three are commonly used and the use tends to follow what a localized community has decided is the right way. Videoconference as one word is the most common usage in Alberta and in fact the proper spelling. The oxford dictionary, among many other dictionaries, refers to videoconferencing as one word: Oxford Dictionary

Now you know!

Friday, August 19, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Update Aug. 19

Ok, lots more updates today! Big news too! We hit over 1500 programs yesterday! I've been saying we'd hit that number by the end of August and here we are already!

  • Did you know? All the Camden Children's Garden programs can be presented in Spanish! The foreign language choices just increased exponentially!
  • COSI Columbus sent out their first email update (which you can sign up for) and there are a few more experts added to what I already had posted.
  • CILC is offering their Historically Black Colleges and Universities event again in September.
  • Cleveland Museum of Art has a nice set of new programs, including one available to be presented in Italian!
  • Unfortunately, Aquatic Research Interactive, Inc., isn't offering programs due to financial changes in their organization.
  • Global Education Motivators has new prices and a new program: Preys of War: The Liberian Conflict and Child Soldiers.
  • New! The Cincinnati Museum Center is now offering programs. Jason Dennison, previously at the Milwaukee Public Museum is heading up their programs, so I expect good things!
  • Mote Marine Laboratory has new programs, new prices, and a deal if you order before August 31, you get $10 off the regulary cost.
  • New! The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is now offering programs. These were piloted in Michigan this last year and I heard GREAT things about the programs. I look forward to seeing them with our students!

Constructing Support & Analyzing Errors

I've been in a workshop yesterday and today with Diane Paynter, learning about Classroom Instruction That Works. Today we delved deeper into the Cues, Questions, and Advance Organizers strategy to look at complex reasoning strategies such as Constructing Support and Analyzing Errors. See Dimensions of Learning p. 162-179 or so.

As always, I'm thinking about videoconference applications to what I'm learning. It seems that these ideas could be used to refine the "debate" videoconference template. One class could present something using the specific Constructing Support complex reasoning process and the viewing class could be Analyzing Errors. (It's analyzing errors in thinking, that is, not the steps in the skill.) Then the classes could swap and the other class presents. This template could be used on many issues, especially in social studies and science.

There's also the Analyzing Perspectives method of complex reasoning. In the class we took the issue of cloning, and brainstormed all the people who would have a perspective on the issue. We came up with 10-12 different groups of people and then wrote what they group of people might think for a "yes" position or a "no" position. It'd be interesting to have two classes present four perspectives each on an issue that is as convoluted and controversial as cloning, and then discuss it further after the presentations.

Friday, August 12, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Update Aug. 12

Well, we had a bit of a rough week with the database. It crashed at least once a day! I apologize to everyone who was trying to use it! I believe we have the problem resolved now.

Here's the new updates from this weeks' work:
  • COSI Columbus has their Expert program list published, so those programs have been added.
  • Received a brochure in the mail today for the Space Center Houston, a new content provider. They have a very interesting list of programs and seem to be reasonably priced. I look forward to seeing them!
  • The Buffalo Zoo has a new program, Who's at the Zoo for K-3.
  • Camden Children's Garden's prices went up slightly, but they still are a good deal at under $100. New descriptions for some of the programs, and a few new topics, including one on Chocolate and Vanilla! Sounds fun!
  • The Adventure Science Center has a new program, What's the Matter?
  • The Albany Institute of Art has new descriptions and a new program, The Rise of Modern America.
  • The Baseball Hall of Fame has been hard at work this summer with a redesigned website and new preparation materials online for all of their programs! Looks great and makes me want to see all the programs! Plus a new one on Labor History.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Best VC Demo Ever!

I've been at the Macomb Summer Technology Academy for the last three days presenting The World is Your Classroom with my good VC friend Arnie Comer. We've done the usual demo with a content provider to show teachers how videoconferencing works.

We're also talking about collaborative connections, and another great VC colleague, Ken Conn from Lamar Consolidated ISD, has been giving clues about his location to help teachers see how collaborative projects such as MysteryQuest can happen. Well today we are lucky enough that the students are back in school. So today the clues came from students at Navarro Middle School. The teachers here loved it! It was also amazing and impressive to see how the students were able to remember VCs they did last year and tell our teachers about them. Nothing like hearing about videoconferences from the students' perspective!

So the next time you do a VC demo, try to include kids if you can!! It's a wonderful experience for the teachers to see!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Database Update Aug. 5

Another week of work on the BCISD VC Programs Database...

This week we redesigned the site with a new look to match the new BCISD website (which isn't live quite yet)

Also, before there were two entrances to the database done by the BCISD: one from our distance learning page, and one from TWICE. This was due to scheduling procedures locally here in Berrien County, and a desire to share the site with a wider audience. Now we have just one look for both sites. This should make it easier to manage!

There's a few new cool features too. I added a "Find All Records" feature. As of this moment there are 1461 programs and 192 providers listed. I fully expect to hit 1500 programs this fall as we continue updating. There's also a new "pick a random program" feature that's pretty fun to just get a feel for what is in the database.

Updates to programming listed:
  • More work on NASA's programming. Due to needing to keep the contact information connected to the right provider, the programs are listed separately for NASA Glenn, NASA JSC and NASA Langley/LIVE. I'm sure we'll continue to tweak this to accurately represent the extensive programming provided by NASA. One thing I noticed when going through the NASA programming is the specific grade level target for their programs. So while the program may say "k12", they really have different online curriculum packets and activities for the various grade levels. This is wonderfully useful and helpful!
  • Added the programs from Global Leap.
  • Added The Ben Martinez Project. This provider doesn't currently have specific descriptions for programs, but they sound very flexible in tailoring their jazz music education programming.
  • Virent Broadcasting has a couple new presenters. No new descriptions for the people they represent quite yet. I'll post them when I get them.

Monday, August 01, 2005

BCISD Content Database Update Aug. 1

Ok, now starts the big work of updating the BCISD Field Trip Database. I'm blogging it for those of you distance learning coordinators who want to know what's new! And also to keep track of which ones I want to advertise to my schools.