Hello everyone. It has been forever and a day since I last posted on here. Not my intent, but it seems that every time I am able to post, something interrupts me.
I would like to start a discussion on how teachers are able to bring in outside resources into their classrooms. I'll give my example and we can expand on that or if someone has a different example, we can discuss that, too.
In my classroom this year, we are making use of Skype to hold video-conferences with experts from around the country. In October, we had a conference with Brandon Copeland from Project VoteSmart in Montana to discuss the upcoming election. We have another coming up in February in which we are discussing the Supreme Court with a law student.
These sessions have been extremely helpful because it brings an outside voice into the classroom. For the session with Project VoteSmart, we spent the class prior to the conference developing questions for our guest. I typed the questions and distributed them to the students. During the conference, I would then call on different students to ask a question.
The setup for this conference was pretty simple. I have a webcam on top of my smartboard. We project the video feed onto the whiteboard so the kids are looking at the guest and vice versa. I held a practice call the day before to check for any tech glitches on either end.
Has anyone else tried this? What has been your experience? OR Do you do something else to bring in outside experts into your class? What process do you go through?
Looking forward to your responses. Thanks in advance!!
Thanks for posting this, Kacy. The Museum gets lots of requests for Skype conversations with classes, and it would be great to know how educators are using these conversations and how you're preparing, how you've structured these programs, the expectations you have, etc. While we can't generally agree to these requests, we'd love to know more about how they're working in classrooms, in the event that we do have the staff for that in the future.
What we do currently offer are webcasts and virtual field trips--and I'd love to hear if anyone has used these resources, how you integrated them into your teaching, and the advantages and disadvantages you find in them.
And thanks for listing the organizations you've worked with the topics you've covered. It's helpful to know about these to direct teachers who request these conversations from us to good resources!
Great use of Skype. Thanks for posting the photo too, just to give us a glimpse of the setup.
I too would like to hear how other people are using Skype in the classroom. You might also be interested in a post in our Online Tools for Educators group:
Verizon Thinkfinity Community Manager
There is a great chapter in the Super Book of Web Tools for Educators about connecting your students globally via Skype. See pages 51-61 in this free ebook that you can view online, download, or print.
Virtual field trips are a great way to connect students with history. I just found a fantastic web site that provides 25 narrated panoramic tours of significant historical sites. HistoryBuff.com Panoramas of Historic Sites in America
See the discussion in the Community Hub Have any of you found any great virtual field trips or video conferencing resources for K-8 grades? for a complete listing of these tours.
Another good feature of History Buff is their online newspaper archive that is organized by year and event. The earliest newspapers in the archive were published in 1700 and can be viewed in great detail through the zoom tool accompanying each newspaper.
Thanks for all of these great suggestions, Lynne! I'd love to see if/how teachers use Google's Art Project for virtual field trips, too!
I just got an answer to my own question--The Teaching Palette, a 2010 EduBlog Award winner, includes a post with suggestions (some art focused, some more general) on using Google's Art Project. Though not a guided tour or interaction with an expert, but virtual access nonetheless. Take a look:
Has anyone used Face Flow, a free video conferencing system that can accommodate up to four participants at a time. Using Face Flow, you can text chat while video conferencing. This program might be useful for hosting an online conversation with students and/or parents. If you have students whose parents cannot meet in the same place, but can meet at the same time, Face Flow might be a way to get them together for a parent-teacher conference.
What do you think?
Thanks for sharing this resource--it sounds really interesting. The first thing I thought of here was the possibility for bringing in speakers with opposing viewpoints to lead or participate in a debate for/with students, or setting up students from different classrooms as "experts" and another as a moderator for a television news-style roundtable. The video sharing feature also seems like a useful one. I look forward to hearing how this is being used in classrooms!
Has anyone used ooVoo to connect your classroom with the outside world? OoVoo is a free web service for chatting and video conferencing. I was curious how it compares to Skype for classroom communication.