Sarah Kessler explains how teachers are making students more worldly thanks to video chat. How are you using video chat to help your students connect with users from every corner of the world?

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Hi,

Well I haven't used videoconferencing in a couple of years but it was very useful when I did use it.  My students collaborated with others schools in different states.  The project involved students from four different schools, in four different states, who had to give and dress clues of a historical figure.  The other schools needed to figure out who the person was.

I eventually want to use Video Chat for my Spanish I class that I teach.  I think it would be useful for the students to have a practical application of what they're learning when they are forced to communicate in the target language.

Until next time,

Ibby

Ibby,

Is there a website you go to to find schools to video chat with?

Hi Sarah.  I haven't used it in my classroom, however I am currently working on my masters in Educational Technology and we are using it instead of meeting for some classes.  I don't have a webcam but most of my classmates do.  I connect with a headset.  We use the website Fuzemeeting.  Some of my classmates had trouble connecting and were still able to by phone.  On Fuzemeeting we were able to use a whiteboard and post ideas, there is also a section to send messages when you are not discussing.  My professor could share his screen to show a presentation.  It's a good resource when you can't meet in a specific location.

I have not used it in my classroom, however, I do see many areas where it could be useful. 

I am a science teacher.  If I have access, then I could have my students get first hand accounts of major events such as the earthquake and tsunami that occurred in Japan last year or the earthquake in Haiti prior to that. This would allow them to get an idea of how major geologic events affect people and could affect them.  It also would help them to make the events more realistic.  When they see photos on the news or the internet, it doesn't really hit home since most have no connections to the places where these events occur. If they could chat with people in the region, it would allow them to see how real these events are as well as determining how they might be able to help those involved.

Also as a science teacher, experiments could be conducted under different conditions and with more people to make the results more reliable. They could also conference with actual scientists to see what research is being done. 

The possibilities for this are great.  Unfortunately, the resources available are not!

I am a technology coordinator and I have some teachers who would love to try skype in their classroom.  We are having difficulty finding others to skype with.  I saw an example of a mystery skype that I would love to try with students to get them thinking about geography and thinking about the similarities and differences between people from around the world.

Skype is not in the mix at my school - they have so many filters, I cannot even access the Yellowstone National Park education page.   If you find people who will do this, let me know and maybe I can make it an extra credit assignment for my kids that they can do for homework.....

Elizabeth- i sympathize, you need to talk with the IT fellows. You need to have your skype.

I agree with Elizabeth. Our county blocks so many websites.

I haven't used videoconferencing in my classroom to the extent of collaborating with other classroom either from our county or other regions of the US however, I have been a participant with videoconferencing with other teacher who were watching and interacting with me during my reading block.  The teachers were in one location and I was in my classroom teaching away.  The interaction were less during my teaching, the post-conference with them is very enlightening.  The tech people were able to record my teaching and we replay parts for discussion.  My grad class utilizes fuzemeeting when we have to meet on line.

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