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Thursday, April 07, 2005

Videoconferencing in Education

In response some classmates' funding proposal abstract...

The primary objective of this project is to unite students and faculty from 2 US high schools from each coast via real-time live discussions on social, political, environmental and global issues that impact our world.


Mia and Militza,

I'm not sure if this is what you are talking about, but the first thing that came to mind when I read this portion of your abstract was video-conferencing, or video chat (via IM). I'm not sure if this is what you are talking about, but these can be powerful learning technologies. In my first few months at the Orange County Department of Education, I have been able to see both in action.

You can check out the Video Conferencing program in the OCDE Ed Tech department for some examples of how this technology is being used. The most exciting program might be the ACME Animation program which uses video-conferencing to connect high school students to professional animators.

The video conference equipment has also been used to enhance existing projects, such as one teacher's parent child book club, which connected families using a blog, and then connected them to the author using not only the blog, but also using video conferencing.

Though the equipment used for these projects may be prohibitively expensive for most schools, video chat equipment for various instant message (IM) protocols are becoming more powerful, and more affordable. An iSight for iChat on Mac OS X delivers full motion video and sound over the internet for only $129. Right now this allows 2 way video chatting, but in the coming revision of the OS, iChat AV will allow a four way chat. iSightEd.com is a rich resource for educators who have iSights in the classroom (or for those interested in how iSights might be used in the classroom).

I hope this might be helpful as you develop your funding proposal.. and that it might prove interesting for others as well.

-Mark

PS - Here is an additional resource, a recent article on videoconferncing in Education at TechLearning.com.

Howard-Kennedy, J. (2005). Videoconferencing in Education. Educator's Outlook. Available online at http://www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=55300827

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