Regional Tour through Google Earth and Video Conferences
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
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
~ A microphone or headset (ask your technology coordinator for one)
~ A webcam- Prices begin at 10.00 and can include a microphone
~ 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.