Videoconferencing Out on a Lim

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

Friday, October 28, 2005

Empower Peace Nov. 10. Participate!

Ran across this in my email a few times. Looks like something you should do!!!! Perfect for Broadcast Clubs and World Issues Classes.

Project "Empower Peace" has been connecting high school youth in the United States with their contemporaries in the Arab and Muslim world for a few years now. This "connection" is made possible through video conferencing and the Internet. To date, nearly 10,000 students from
over twenty countries have participated in or viewed our "virtual" cultural exchanges.

Here's where we need YOU! Our most recent broadcast was the best to date, on September 29th, hundreds of students in Boston and New York interacted live with hundreds of students from Cairo, Egypt and Islamabad, Pakistan. Additionally, thousands watched the broadcast on
the Internet.

However, a few days later, disaster struck Pakistan in a form of an earthquake...tens of thousands dead, millions homeless...the Empower Peace students in Boston and New York wanted to do something to help their new friends in an effort to do so, we are

The TV/Internet Telethon will be broadcast live on Thursday, November 10th at 1-2PM (ET) in Boston on WB56-WLVI-TV and will also be streamed over the Internet ( Of additional significance, the broadcast will be transmitted by satellite back to Pakistan enabling viewers there to see the telethon.

We need a lot of schools from around the USA to pledge via e-mail..... would like them to pre-register on the empower peace web site we'd like to read their pledge out loud during the let them know they can compose a sentence or
2 to be read....

Also, if at all possible, we would like for your school to produce a high quality video message to youth in Pakistan we will review for airing...message should be no more than :30 in length....
Go to for more information.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Update Oct. 28

More updates to the BCISD-Polycom Videoconference Program Database.

High School Graphics Arts Programs

On Monday I talked to our Graphic Arts CTE (Career Technical Education) program teachers. We brainstormed some possibilities for their classes. Here's what we came up with.
  1. Animation: Not Just for Saturday Morning, from the Museum of TV & Radio.
  2. Programs from Author/Computer Illustrator Bill Dallas Lewis. I think this is a really good option because Bill is willing to tailor the programs to what the teacher is looking for. He can do Photoshop, Flash, and more. Visit his website for more details as well. BTW, he does web cam videoconferencing too. He can guide a project as well.
  3. Students could create computer generated art to share with another class for feedback and review.
  4. Finally I shared my notes from the Keystone Conference session: The Orange County Animation Project: Mentoring From The Real World.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Receptionist Via VC?

Quoted by Ian Jukes in his blog,
A Pakistani company, The Resource Group, seeking more call-center work from U.S. firms, set up an office this year in Washington, D.C., a block from the White House, and installed a receptionist, live from Karachi, via a flat-screen TV on the office wall. According to a May Washington Post report, Ms. Saadia Musa cheerily greets visitors, answers and routes phone calls to the Washington office, lets in deliverymen, and orders sandwiches from down the street. [Washington Post, 5-10-05]
Another intriguing business use of videoconferencing! Who would have thought of that? Now what are the implications for K12 VC in this little story?

Monday, October 24, 2005

One-on-One with Teachers

Today I met with our Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher advisory groups from around the county. They were participating in a professional development day and had an hour to work in groups. I floated from group to group to talk about what they could do with videoconferencing.

It was very interesting. Most of them are interested in using VC, but there aren't any "ready made" programs in their area: marketing, business, advertising, computer graphic arts, building trades, public safety, firefighting, EMT, etc. So we talked about guest speakers. I asked them if you could bring any expert in your field to your teachers, who would it be? We made lists of ideas to work on.

We also talked about project connections with other classes. One of the more intriguing ideas we came up with is for the building trades class. We're talking about our class locally sharing a video clip of a field trip to an local historical building, interesting for its construction. Then we'd share that with another building trades class in a different area who was also studying about a local interesting building. We hope to make this happen in May. It's a morning class, so we'd need a partner school in EST or CST time zone. If any of you reading this blog have an interested class, send me an email. We'll probably be working out the details in April.

This confirms what I've been thinking this year about my local teachers use of videoconferencing. They know what VC is and what it can do, but they really need someone to talk to them one-on-one or in small subject area groups to assist them in selecting or creating a videoconference opportunity for their curriculum.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Balancing the Federal Budget

This morning Coloma High School students are balancing the federal budget! Actually they are participating in Exercise in Hard Choices, a simulation that helps students understand the federal budget process. We're connected with the University of Akron, Ohio, who is facilitating the videoconference, and a class in Decatur and Midland, Michigan.

The program started with an overview of budgeting, at a student level, state level, and federal level. Additional graphs helped students compare U.S. federal spending with other countries.

Student groups start by setting a budget goal of when (and if) they want to balance the federal budget. Each group is diverse with different viewpoints so that students experience the process of negotiation that occurs at the federal level. Then students make choices on 8 main areas: National Security, Income Support, General Government, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance, Health Insurance Coverage, and Revenues. Students enter their choices into an electronic scorecard that shows the longterm consequences of their decisions.

After they have deliberated and made their choices, the facilitator asked the students to share where their hot topics were and what issues came up as they debated. Students shared stories from people they knew and how the budget decisions affected those stories/experiences. Students clearly were engaged in the discussion and considered the country's choices. Great experience!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Planning Global VCs

My most recent article in the MACUL Journal is now available online. If you want to start doing global videoconferencing, read Global Videoconferencing will Catch Their Attention [PDF]. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Nobody Likes Me: Bats

This morning we have a Kindergarten class from Hollywood Elementary connecting to the Cincinnati Zoo to learn about bats. Ken was kind enough to tailor his Nobody Likes Me session to just the bats part of the program.

It's so fun to see to the awe on the kids' faces when they hear a voice and just see a logo on a document camera. They get so quiet!

Ken, as always, does a great job of getting the kids talking and interacting from the very first of the videoconference.

Today the kindergarten kids saw bats in the Cincinnati Zoo, answered questions, practiced flying like bats, and learned all about bats! We ended with questions from the students. They have been studying bats, so they had good questions ready. Why do bats hang upside down? Do bats go to school to learn to fly? How high can a bat fly?

The students are building a bat house on Friday, so the teacher asked Ken for advice on where to put the bat house.

Ken was really sensitive to the attention span of kindergarteners and worked with the teachers even during the program to make sure the length and discussion covered what they wanted to learn.

Monday, October 17, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Update Oct. 17

More updates today to the BCISD-Polycom Videoconference Program Database.

Friday, October 14, 2005

BCISD VC Programs Update Oct. 14

New providers & programs added to the BCISD-Polycom Videoconference Program Database.
Also new! You can now access the database directly from or

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Two New VC Articles

Innovate, an online journal, recently published two new articles on videoconferencing. Just added them to the TWICE Bibliography of articles. One from Scott Merrick, who has published many articles on videoconferencing, and another on college/university classes using VC to bring experts to the classroom. Cool that universities are seeing possibilities for VC other than regular classes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Conversation Brings Compassion

What experiences help students learn to care about the news & what happens in the world?

If you've been reading my blog, you know we connected a world issues class and a 2nd grade class to Karachi, Pakistan the end of September.

Now both classes have emailed me wondering how they can send a care package or do something to help their peers in Pakistan affected by the earthquake.

It was just a simple conversation, really, those connections two weeks ago. Yet look at the concern now from these students. All of a sudden they know someone in Pakistan and what a difference it makes! If more students could participate in global videoconferences, maybe they too could learn to care about the world around them & want to make a difference!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Winding Down...

So the Keystone Conference is winding down. I'm spending the next session making
sure I'm all set for my presentation. It's been a great conference and I've especially
enjoyed the networking. Now I'll be offline for a few days as I take a complete
technology break and attend a cousin's wedding in Canada. I'm looking forward
to it.

Here's the links I'll be sharing as "solution resources" for the issues/problems
I'll be addressing in my session. You might find them useful.

Administrative Issues

Curriculum Issues

Teacher Issues

Animation Mentoring

The Orange County Animation Project: Mentoring From The Real World with Michael Guerena, Program Specialist, Orange County Department of Education (CA, UNITED STATES), Dave Master, Director, ACME Animation, and Don Isbell, Animation Teacher, Century High School.

Dave started by explaining the need for students well trained in animation. When professionals review students' portfolios, they only keep 1 in 1000 of the portfolios that come in.

He showed a video how how students get feedback from professionals on their work.

They have 3 levels of telecasts:
  1. Audition room for students who are just learning the basics. At this level they have a year's resources for teachers.
  2. The intern level is for students who are really serious. The students work is evaluated by professionals in the industry.
  3. The apprentice level is the same as in the industry. Students have to have 5 pieces of work that are at the level to get a job.
The pros in the studios just walk down the hall to their videoconference room to evaluate the students' work.

He showed another clip where the students at the intern level are given an assignment. The students work on it for two weeks, revise, review, and then the professionals critique the students work. Then the students do an informed revision on their work. The teachers in the classes around the US also interacted and learned with the pros through the program.

Their group is now considered a major source of talent by the studios!

They do have room for other schools to join (jr high, high school, & college). The telecasts are a round-robin. They make webcasts available for other classes as well.

How do you participate? Contact Debbie Brooks, 323-334-6191, dbrooks at who is the director of this program.

It's $1000 a year to participate online or $12,500 for all the telecasts which is about half the cost of what it really costs to do the program.

Here's the project website.

Next we're hearing from Michael Guerena, and he's explaining how they are implementing this project on a county wide basis. The project goals include developing opportunities to showcase student animation work through exhibitions, broadcasting, and the Internet, as well as preparing students for a wide range of animation careers.

They partner with local colleges and also work to develop highly-skilled animation instructors.

It's incredible really how students interact with professionals and get live feedback on their work. One student shared how good it makes him feel to realize that pros care about giving feedback to them and helping them work with their work.

On a side note, you can really tell that these guys are all into video. They have a great background and really good lighting that makes the presentation really easy to listen to & watch.

Now Don Isbell, Animation Teacher, Century High School, is explaining how the program works in his school. His school is in a high poverty and most of his students haven't been to a museum or traveled much. This program brings an incredible experience for the poorer students and expands their understanding of the types of jobs open to them and gives more of them the realization that they CAN go to college!

Don shared how his students learned collaboration skills, how to behave professionally interacting with the professionals, and how to mentor each other. In addition, the program raised the literacy levels of students as they had to use technical jargon in communicating about animation.

Neat program! My ideas of what can be done with VC have expanded again!

Strolling Around the Earth Garden with Mike Griffith

Another global session with Mike Griffith. He started off with an email quote with his colleague Atsuku in Japan (not sure I'm spelling her name correctly). She said something to this effect regarding Mike - The world earth is a garden to him. He's always strolling around the garden freely.

Mike has been doing the Global Leap project since 2000, and has been doing international projects for over 10 years.

He's talking about a connection with students speaking English and French and how they were really struggling to talk to each other. Mike suggests instead that we show something - for example if you're discussing soccer/football - bring the ball & show it! Then everyone knows what you're talking about. And remember that you could take a digital camera out and get footage to share with your class.

Communication. Communication. Communication. Mike has three Tips & Tricks:
  1. Have a signature on your email! (He asked us how many of us have received an email we didn't know who it was from!).
  2. If you're working internationally, give the date in full: October 3, not 10/3/05 because not all countries use the same shortcut format.
  3. List your time/my time. Think about where people are and what time of day it is. If you go wider than 6 hours time difference, then the teachers have to be flexible in connecting to each other. Two good sites are and TimeZoneConverter.
Mike suggested that using technology to communicate is 4th world (vs. old world, new world, 3rd world). We need to be sensitive to the types of connectivity in other parts of the world in our planning.

He mentioned connections with the Imperial War Museum, an iEARN project, and a conversation between students about genocide.

Mike asks us: Is this important? Is it important to get classes to connect to talk to each other and understand each other? We have the technology that can bring kids to talk to kids & teachers to talk to teachers to help create greater understanding between cultures.

Dr. Stanton, the expert they interviewed in the genocide program said, "if we were all videoconferencing, there'd be no genocide." Mike added, if we were talking to each other and understanding each other, there'd be no genocide.

Mike emphasized how in doing these connections, not everything needs to be done in the videoconference. Other tools and resources can be used to make the connection more engaging and rich.

Mike also reminded us to set the context. The classes need share pictures of their life with the communication so that we know what it's like to live in that area.

Kathy Lewis shared a cool project with a class in Taiwan where the Taiwan class posted a newsletter online and then the U.S. class edited the grammar... this way both classes could practice English grammar.

The first link is easy to do - just comparing cultures and saying hello. But what is sustainable and of value? How do we create projects that are more in-depth and have specific curriculum outcomes? I asked, what topics are good to discuss & create projects around that take advantage of the international connection. Mike suggested - addressing stereotypes, learning to respect etiquette in other countries, etc.

This session ended way too soon!!!

VC Standards

A reference everyone should know about is NYIT EEZ & CILC's Videoconferencing Standards document. This link is to the document on the Keystone Conference handout page. If you're involved in VC, you should definitely check out these standards & apply them to your program....

What Tree Am I?

Ok here's the coolest idea I've run across in a while....

Bill Johnson from OneNet in Oklahoma just sent this email to the Megaconference listserv:

My H.323 IP address is below, my system is always in "auto-answer" mode
and my remote camera control is enabled. Simply dial my IP with your
system, select remote camera control and pan hard left. You should be
able to see a lite-green tree out side my window. So far, no one has
been able to tell me what kind of tree it is. Can you tell? If so,
please email me. Only a few weeks left to figure this out as the "Fall"
season is upon us and the tree will be bare soon.

Bill Johnson
Director of Network Operations - OneNet
Director - Netrad Infrastructure for CASA
President - Oklahoma Distance Learning Association

What a cool idea! Imagine kids making a problem like this & sending it out to many schools to dial in & try to solve! Imagine putting several clues around your classroom & setting a time when other school could dial in and pan the camera remotely around the room....

What curriculum based ideas can you think of???

David Thornburg's Keynote

It's always fun to hear David Thornburg's keynote presentations.

One of the first technologies he showed was Skype & Festoon, which we had just discussed in the Global Collaboration Birds of a Feather, so that was pretty cool.

A questions to think about: We spend 13 years on reading & writing. How many years do we spend on media literacy?

He's talking about places you can find images online. Reminds me of a thought I had last year when listening to a session on visual literacy. The cool thing about connecting to an art museum such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, is you get the visual literacy interpretation and instruction along with the pictures. Whereas it takes more work to put together a lesson using online materials, figure out how to connect it to student learning & curriculum benchmarks and make it an interesting lesson all at once.

He showed several other interesting technologies too....

Including MIT's new hand crank $100 computer.... which will really change one-to-one computing....

We need that same one-to-one access to videoconferencing. Access in classrooms is certainly what we need to aim for because that's where the action is!

Collaboration Birds of a Feather

Paul Hieronymus, Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium, is facilitating this session on collaborative projects.

Resources mentioned in the sharing:
Projects people have:
  • Paul is doing "storytime" with teachers who haven't done a VC before. They read a story for 20 min. and then do some conversation. It's for k-2 classes. The teachers just have to mute and unmute the mic, and call on kids. Paul reads the story and asks them questions about the book. He uses it as a recruitment tool to get teachers hooked.
  • Susan Altgelt shared the Texas Connects project which can be replicated in other states.
  • Rowena shared information about iEARN.
  • I talked about Read Across America, MysteryQuest World, and MysteryQuest USA.
Rutgers Camden, the Indy Zoo, and COSI Toledo, are all interested in doing programs that include collaborations between schools in their programming. I think there's certainly room for content providers to facilitate projects.... the more ideas people have & share the more VCs we can all do!

The conversation also centered around doing cluster projects where classes connect to a content provider and then continue connecting to each other for similar projects in the future.

Paul shared how they are doing problem based learning projects - giving students a big problem - usually related to environmental problem - and then presenting solutions to the experts. CILC has a Community Partnerships program to do these types of projects too that includes grants and partnerships to make these types of events happen.

Not surprisingly, someone brought up the issue of increasing student test scores. iEARN has research on their PD page on how their projects improve student learning. Another person suggested focusing on communication skills that businesses are looking for. We also discussed how the events need to be meaningful and tied to higher level thinking skills.

Paul has a VC Classifieds page with good ideas to get the word out with his teachers.

Robyn Phillips shared information about a project they are planning for Veterans Day connecting with a marine in Iraq. They are working through the Freedom Calls Foundation.

What a fun session sharing connections. Now we

Global Collaborations Birds of a Feather

This morning I'm in the birds of a feather session led by Mike Griffiths from Global Leap.

We looked through the Global Leap website and how to register our schools and find other classes.

We talked quite a bit about the technology and how we could connect. Tools for connecting other than traditional H.323 and H.320 were discussed. We talked about using Skype and Festoon to do free connections with other countries.

We also talked about iEARN projects, and Rowena Gerber from Florida shared how she has done projects with classes that have to travel 10 miles to access one computer. iEARN has lots of standard yearly projects, projects you can stop by for a bit, and projects that are more long term. You don't have to be a member of iEARN to get on all these projects, but to access the forums there is a membership fee. Most of the projects are via email, but some are via videoconferences through iSight, MSN, through IP/H.323 videoconferencing...

Andrew Knox from the Center for Distance Learning Research shared projects that he's working on: a internation fitness oriented project, a charity project, measuring steps & progress in P.E. class, etc.

We also talked about the Global Nomads Group and the work they are doing. They have incredible experiences shared each year. Those of us who have done VCs with GNG shared what it was like for our students.

Russ Colbert, Polycom, shared with us some things happening in Australia, New Zealand, etc.

Then I shared my sessions with Pakistan on my blog: with the high school class and the 2nd grade class.

Now we're moving into a second session on collaboration.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Flying with Butterfly Puppets

Last session of the day! I'm back in the Teaching strand for a videoconference with the Center for Puppetry Arts. We are doing the Butterflies program. This is one of my most favorite videoconferences of all!

Patty is great at making the program interactive. She asks questions, getes us to comment, uses student names, and more.

But the really interactive part is how we learn a concept, glue part of the puppet, learn another concept, glue another part of the puppet, etc. Or as I like to say, Learn a little, glue a little, learn a little, glue a little. Perfect for young students with short attention spans! What a fun end to a very full day!

If you haven't gone to the Center for Puppetry Arts, plan to schedule a program this year! Excellent programming!

Creative PD for Teachers

Bringing Teachers on Board with Professional Development by Dave Miller and Paul Heironymus from The Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium.

Dave and Paul started their session with an IVDL Jeopardy game that they use with their teachers in training.

Dave and Paul have a very creative professional development program going with team teaching projects that occur locally within their consortium.

I really like how they categorize their types of videoconferences - it's fresh & new compared to what I've seen elsewhere:
  • content providers
  • team teaching
  • school initiated partnerships
  • specialized programming
  • course offerings
  • student operated classes
Dave & Paul had some video clip examples:
  • a team teaching session where students were working on writing samples
  • a virtual recital
  • a virtual college tour
In the session, we learned about the extensive PD model that they use instead of one-shot inservices. They work with a set of 75-80 teachers each year. Their consortium buildings have to send at least 2 teachers to the program each year.

The first day covers what is VC, who can I connect to, what's a content provider, how do I mute the mic, etc. They also have to select a partner to work with before they leave in the first day.

After that, they have to do 4 videoconferences: A meeting between the teachers, a planning session with your partner teacher, an introduction of students, and the fourth is a connection with a content provider with the two classes connected.

Two months after the first day, they come back and share all the things that they did. Then they build skill sets. They learn to team teach with their partner.

Then they do 4 more videoconferences with their partner class.

This pattern is repeated for four days during the school year and a total of 16 videoconferences together in their partnerships.

They have also a pool of existing trained teachers as they repeat this process year after year. Then, these existing teachers participate in continued training. They learn to develop programs and look for partners locally, within the state, nation, and internationally. They have to offer at least 3 projects during the school year.

Their term for local district contacts is "district advocates". I really like this term! Might borrow it!

They have an incredible reporting system as well to help districts see their use & set goals for using the equipment in the next year.

Each year at the end of the year they do an end of the year showcase and each teacher presents their favorite videoconference of the year and they make it into a DVD to share with the other schools and teachers to get ideas for new programs.

I think Paul and Dave's model is incredible. I've never seen anything as comprehensive, sustained, and effective for integrating VC in the curriculum. This program is fantastically successful and I think we have a lot to learn from it! They do about 1000 connections a year with their 16 member organizations and 38 videoconference units! I think I need to set my goals a bit higher!

As with the other sessions, you can get the handouts online at the Keystone Conference website and their distance learning website is

As I was listening, I was thinking about my new online class, Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections. I was worried that requiring 1 VC a month between the partner classes would be too much, but I don't think so! I hope that we get many people to participate in the class so we can do at least a mini-version of what Paul & Dave are doing in their county in Ohio. The class starts November 1. Registration details online here.

I hope that someday I can actually try this type of full year model with my districts as well.

Global Connections

Global Connections: Learning With, not About, People from Other Countries
By Atieno Adala (from Kenya) and Deb Hutton, (from Canada) from the Indiana University. Yet another Keystone Conference session.

This presentation covers programs done by the International Studies in Schools content provider. They connect US students to international locations, and also allow students to talk to international people who are studying or working at Indiana University.

They showed a nice collection of pictures of international connections they’ve had.

We also saw a 5 min. clip of a connection from last week where students in several locations around the world discussed the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals.

Undergraduate students at IU and other places shared their thoughts on how governments are addressing the problems in their countries and in the world.

As always with multipoint videoconferencing with tons of sites, there’s some mic rattling sounds coming from an unknown location. Fun fun! But we’re learning anyway!

I really like how Deb addressed the question on time zones. She said “it’s about mutual respect.” This means who is it that comes in at a inconvenient time to connect for the program? Sometimes the only way we can connect with an international school is if we connect in the evening our time.

Atieno shared a good set of tips for working with international presenters. This included focusing on contemporary information, using the presenters strengths, preparing students for a thick accent, and preparing students to ask good questions and to make respectful comments. As is true with good ASK programs (link), don’t ask questions or look for a presentation on something you can find in the textbook! Take advantage of learning from the experiences of the presenter.

Another good tip included: being respectful of their date, time, holidays, safety, context and needs. Share equally the connection time for their benefit as well as that of your students. I.e. plan the program so that both classes are learning what they need/want to from the program.

Tips on good instruction was included as well: short activities, involving learners, focus on 3-4 main points, etc.

Sample sessions they’ve done (requested by teachers not designed by Deb Hutton):

  • Affects of the African Rainforest Biome on the Local Culture
  • The Daily Culture of South Korea
  • Living Under Apartheid in South Africa
  • All About Paris
  • Germany: Memories of WWII
  • Travel in Spain
  • Mathematical Symmetry in Turkey
  • Raising Children in Kenya & Russia
  • Transitions: Communism to Capitalism
  • Series: The Daily Cultures of Bulgaria, India & Kenya
  • Series: What do you want to know about Afghanistan? Iraq? Islam?

I think that International Studies custom programs are hidden resource many of us haven’t considered or realized! This possibility of designing a custom program tailored to your curriculum is wonderful!

Deb’s handouts have a wonderful set of links for international programming – both VCs and email projects. Scroll down on the page to find her presentation handouts. Great set!

6 Tools for Effective Videoconferencing

Powerful Video Conferencing-Opening New Doors to Learning presented by Geoff Turrell.

I’m now in the Teaching strand watching the first presentation from Athena Education Action Zone in the United Kingdom. They are working with students with special needs, and are using videoconferencing as one of many interventions for meeting students learning needs.

Cool ideas include an interactive soap opera for VC, a ROCK IDOL with students performing to a panel of judges via VC, and a classical dance class.

Teachers have VC systems at their desks and they also do VCs with schools internationally.

They are addressing the “no significant difference phenomenon.” They aimed to answer the question: How can we make sure it is BETTER than direct teaching?

In answering this question, they have 6 tools for effective videoconferencing.

It’s cool to see that they are really trying to do more than just a talking head. They sent a 6 parcels from the UK to us here in Indy and he’s getting the audience to open the parcels. What a fun way to get the remote site interactive! This is the creativity I like to see!

The 1st tool was a teddy bear and represented was “interactivity.” Yes!! The best interactive videoconferences have hands-on materials and conversation back and forth. Cool way to explain it!

Interaction includes, according to these presenters: questioning pupils, setting tasks, exercising communication skills, and creating an awareness of audience.

The second package has an owl teddy bear. It represents the 2nd tool is teachers or pedagogical presence. The program needs to be coordinated by a real field teacher who has good classroom management skills, an understanding of good teaching practices, etc. The presenter also needs to understand the importance of telepresence skills.

The third package has a package of tea. It represents the 3rd tool or contextualization. This is about having students experience a “real life” context and incentive for learning. It adds an extra dimension to learning and brings the task to life. It puts the excitement back in learning.

The fourth package has a set of nappy pins, or otherwise known in the US as diaper pins. This represents the 4th tool or underpinning. This includes focused planning, use of worksheets and supplementary information sheets to support the lesson content, and accommodating learning styles.

The fifth package has swimming goggles. This represents the 5th tool or an immersive learning environment. The includes using core materials from the Internet, interactive white board content, supplementary materials, etc.

The final package had a jigsaw with a piece missing. This presents the 6th tool or collaboration because the missing piece was over in the UK. This tool allows for shared writing, design and composing, application sharing, and teacher & student collaboration across many miles, and distributed learning, which we just heard in the keynote.

A great session and a great model of interaction during the session!

Tuesday Keynote: Millennial Learning Styles

The Keynote presentation today is coming in live from the Harvard School of Education. Chris Dede, is talking about Emerging Digital Media and "NeoMillennial" Learning Styles.

Dede is describing Millenial & Neo Millennial Learning Styles - students using the web to compare multiple sources of information, individually incomplete and collectively inconsistent. Is it mindlessly accumulating or seeking, sieving or synthesizing? He's wondering about his daughter multitasking... can she really concentrate? He described his daughter and her virtual "think tank" of friends on IM doing their homework.

He's describing how Cisco is using multitasking for meetings and using PDAs for multitasking and instant messanging.

And here I am in this session multitasking! Showing IM to the person sitting next to me, IMing my office back home, blogging the session, and listening to it all at the same time!

Now Dede is suggesting we use distributed learning instead of distance learning. The term distributed infers how the learning is spread across time, space, and media.

This reminds me of reading The World is Flat this summer and how companies are collaborating across space and time using videoconferencing, instant messaging, and other real-time and asynchronous collaboration tools.

I still want to design some type of international project that uses this same type of multitasking learning environment that Dede is describing. How could we create a learning environment and videoconference project that requires students to collaborate across time & distance to solve or attempt to solve a difficult challenging real world problem?? That is the question I keep mulling over.

Another VC Blogger!

I just found another VC blogger... one of the great reasons to attend the Keystone Conference is the networking with other people. Paul Hieronymus from Avon, OH is blogging VC experiences there in the Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium. Looking forward to learning from great colleagues in Ohio!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Keystone & PICC

Today I'm off to the Keystone Conference in Indianapolis. It's not too late to sign up to view the conference streaming! And you can access the handouts online as well even if you can't come. Just scroll down to the sessions & you'll see uploaded handouts there. I am lucky enough to be one of the last presenters on Wednesday night. I'm sharing Issues in Integrating Videoconferencing in the Classroom, qualitative data from my online class, Planning Interactive Curriculum Connections. The issues are in three big categories: administrative, curriculum, and teachers. Looking forward to a great conversation with the participants!

I plan to blog the Keystone sessions too if I can get online. Hopefully!!

Also, today we begin another session of Planning Interactive Curriculum Connections. This session I have a participant from Saipan! We're a small crowd but I think we'll definitely have fun learning together! If you want to join us, you can still sign up. Call Jo at (269) 471-7725x149 by Wednesday at 12:00 EST and I can still get you started in the class.