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Regional Tour through Google Earth and Video Conferences

Mindy 

So, this is not a post...it's a plea. Our class is currently completing a tour around the United States regions using various web sites and Google Earth.  We'd love to chat with you, should your class choose to be our regional representative via a video conference.  Live outside of the Southeast? Have a Skype account? In grades 3-5? You pass the test. There is still a glitch with the comments that is being worked out. Email me if you are interested, and we'll set something up soon. bunyia@rcs.k12.tn.us

As an added bonus, I am including a quick "how to" for video conferencing. Pictured above was a video conference with a special education teacher in Mumbia, India.

Video Conferencing 101

Dsc00022 China_conference

Materials Needed:
~ A microphone or headset (ask your technology coordinator for one)
~ A webcam- Prices begin at 10.00 and can include a microphone

Optional:
~ Projector/Connection to the TV (photos show both versions)

Let the Conferencing Begin!

My Method- Skype

My first step was researching a free, easy, non-blocked program.  In my county, Skype fit the bill and was downloaded onto my school computer within minutes. It has been a popular tool on many shows, including Oprah when she interviews average folks in their home. You can download Skype in a few minutes for free here.  If you can operate a cell phone, find a name and answer a call, you can use Skype. It’s as easy as that! Once downloaded, Skype has a built in testing system to let you know that everything is set up correctly. Rather than write down the step by step directions, try youtube (outside of school) for some video tutorials that are step by step. Honestly, this program is super easy to use. I am confident you can set it up and use it, if you are interested in setting something up with our class.

Interested in Video Conferences Around the World?

Planning- Finding Other Classes

Well, I am offering myself...but if that isn't enough for you, and you are ready to go global, then I recommend ePals. I haven't used this service myself, but I know a teacher who has and completed a video conference with Turkey last week. It's worth looking into.

Global Planning- Consider Time Zones

You will need to consider time zones. For some conferences to work, it may require one side of the world to come into school early or stay after school.  Luckily, I was able to find an after school elementary technology group in Spain to start off my first video conference, and I had a few international friends to help me out for my other two. All of my conferences occurred during school hours, with one requiring lunch in the classroom (well received too). I wish I could tell you where I found the teacher from Spain, but I know it was through a message board online.   

Need Some Examples?
To watch our conferences, click here. We have conferenced with Spain, India, and China in the past year.

Comments

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Angela Bunyi

I plea the flu...I mean the third. No, really...I am emailing you in a second. I am such a bad advisor. :(

Let's talk shortly!

Angela

Lori

Angela,
I am wondering if video conferences will still be happening later this week or not. Earlier next week is good for our class too. Just let us know. Thanks!

Angela Bunyi

Lori,

Thank you...I have one more teacher to track down. It is looking like next Friday for conferences. I will get with you shortly via email. I am out of the loop with my two days out.

Angela

P.S. Thank you for the well wishes!

Lori

I emailed you earlier about video conferencing. I teach 4th grade in Oregon, Wisconsin. Let me know what timing looks like for you this week. I hope you are feeling better. My email is lbl@oregon.k12.wi.us if you need it.

Angela

I have misplaced two other emails from teachers saying they were interested in conferencing with us. I will do a search again later, but if you are interested, please let me know....I am thinking someone from up north and someone south (was it Alabama?).

Victoria from Florida- you are on schedule now.

Angela B.

Marcia,

Great! It sounds like you are ready to go. With my flu condition, it looks like we are going to try for conferences sometime next week (probably Friday). I will email you with some time options this weekend.

Angela

Angela B.

Good questions...

You use the headset or microphone just for talking. Audio comes out, for us, through the computer's speakers. We use a headset because it just seems to have less feedback and noise problems (hands-free). Students do pass that around to speak, although you can easily hear everything on both sides.

Regarding a web cam. I don't think you can avoid this one. You can purchase one in the 12-15 dollar range now, but the good news is they are simple to install. Plug the CD in and follow installment directions. I have used the Flip Video to record and project things before, but it can't work for video conferences.

Let me know if you can get Skype downloaded on your computer and would like to conference with us. We'd love to hear from you!

Angela B.

Lori,

Great! Let me know first if Skype can be downloaded on your computer. If so, contact me again and we will set something up.

Angela

Marcia H.

Hello, Angela!

I have been following your blog on scholastic since the first posting. We would love to be considered as a regional representative. I teach fifth grade at Blissfield Elementary School. We are a rural district in Lenawee County, MI. We are located north of Toledo, OH, and south of Ann Arbor, MI. We are less than an hour from the Irish Hills and Michigan International Speedway. I have a webcam and would like to Skype. I watched your video conference earlier in the year and it got me motivated to do some. I just need the time.

Marcia Hojnacki

Holly E.

Hi Angela!

I just love your website and your blogs on scholastic! I have been a faithful reader for almost a year.

I am very interested in video conferencing and am looking into seeing if I can set it up. I have a couple questions I wonder if you might have a moment to answer for me, regarding the conferencing:

-- When you use the headset during the conference, must you use it to be able to hear the speaker?
If so, how do the students hear what's being said? Do we have to pass it around?
-- Did I read somewhere on your website that you also use your Flip Camera for projecting things?
I can't remember... I have one and wonder if it can be used for video conferencing. I'm trying to avoid
buying a webcam if possible.


Thanks in advance! I appreciate your sharing this with us. BTW... I teach a 4th/5th multiage class in Los Angeles.
Best,
Holly Ellman
Westwood Charter School

Lori F.

I might be interested in video conferencing with you and your class. I teach 4th graders in Colorado.


Lori

Lori Fulka
4th Grade Teacher/Technology Coach
Ivy Stockwell Elementary School

Comments are closed. Please see Classroom Solutions, our new blog for the 2009-2010 school year. And stay tuned for Teaching Matters with Angela Bunyi and Beth Newingham.

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