Hello! I came across this page in search of information on Video Conferencing. My medically fragile daughter will be attending Kindergarten this coming fall and I would like to find out how we can Video Conference the classroom from home due to immune/respiratory concerns for me daughter. A simple cold can put her in the hospital, so I am trying to figure out the best way for her to get her education and still interact with other students. I am looking for info on set up for both home and the classroom and possible costs involved. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated. Thank You!

Tags: conferencing, homebound, homeschool, video

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You will need to check with your daughter's school technology team, but on your end you can download Polycom PVX and connect to others using H.323 technology. That means that you can use your home computer and webcam to connect to a video conferencing system at your daughter's school. The download cost $155 for a single user license. It does have a free download so you can make sure that it will work with your school before spending the money.
My daughter has a computer with an Eye Gaze system in it, meaning we calibrate it to her eyes and that is how she uses it; her eye are the mouse. Do you think this type of system would work? Do you think we would still need a webcam at home of some sort?

Thanks for your help!
As for the hardware, I'm not familiar with the Eye Gaze, but based on a quick look at the web page, I think that you will need a separate webcam. For software, my high school had a student overseas for part of this year and she participated in at least her chem class (I teach science) through Skype, which would be free. The teacher is a bit of a techie, so I don't know how difficult this is to set up, but my sense is that it was pretty easy to do. They had a laptop with a camera on a cart so they could bring it around the class, from taking notes, to the lab bench. Hope this helps.
This sounds very easy to do and very reasonable in cost. What is involved for the school to do this on their end? IT security, webcam, laptop to move from classroom to gym, art, music, etc? I know a couple of the classes already have a whiteboard.
As far as I know, the school did nothing. Skype was an already an allowed program. That may be the only thing you need from the school IT folks, if it isn't already allowed. After that, each teacher at our school has a macbook with the built in camera, the chem teacher set up skype on her computer, the student did the same and away they went. It looks like the software mentione din the first post offers other features. This setup, though free, only does video and audio transfer, so your daughter could see what was in front of the cam at school (the board, the class, where ever it is pointed), and same the other way, the teacher can see what is in front of your camera. There won't be an easy way to show each others desktop or interact on a document. I don't know what the student did for other classes. This was a set up just for chem, since the teacher needed her laptop and the school didn't have one to schlep around following the absent student's schedule. A smaller, younger school (we are a high school of 900 or 1000 kids) might be more feasible to have the computer and cam follow through your daughter's full day schedule.
Mary, I hope it goes great. One thing to do is get a higher quality webcam and be direct wired into the internet on both sides, as bandwidth usually greatly affects quality with video conferencing. Good luck.
You might consider emailing Brian Crosby about his experiences in his classroom with a homebound student. You can read about his experiences here http://learningismessy.com/blog/?p=598



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