5 tips for using live video in the classroom

Let’s face it — we live in a very visually oriented society. Visual media is a great way to communicate, with a lot of positive applications in the classroom. Videos are attention-getters. One of the major benefits, in fact, is that everybody is familiar with video chat, thanks to smart phones and online media. It has fostered a new movement in education, led by organizations like The Global Classroom Project, to connect schools all around the globe.

New video technology is making the video chat option much more flexible and practical, too. A good mix of graphics, video chat, and interactions can deliver excellent educational values. This allows for far better discussion and communications opportunities.

Here are a few ways that you can use live video effectively in the classroom:…Read More

Polycom enables Skype for Business with any video platform

New release lets users connect using Skype for Business when they are on different platforms

Polycom,  has removed the complexity of connecting multiple video systems from different vendors the Polycom RealConnect solution for Skype for Business. Now, participants using any video vendor, from Skype for Business, to Polycom and Cisco, and on any device, from voice to immersive telepresence suites, can join a unified meeting with one simple click.

Customers simply want communication technologies to work together seamlessly and cost effectively. Until the Polycom RealConnect solution, Skype for Business video conferencing users could not meet or share content with participants using other video platforms. The result was a frustrating and difficult process for end users.

Polycom RealConnect technology eliminates this barrier by making everything work together and provides each end user with the familiar communication experience they’ve grown accustomed to. There are no requirements to learn complex dialing codes or new platform behaviors, resulting in more time spent on getting business done and less on learning a new service.…Read More

Mystery Skype Calls Connect Your Classroom to The World

Mystery Skype calls are a great way to connect with the world

skype-mystery[Ed. note: Katrina Keene will give a related session on Mystery Skype at ISTE 2015 on Monday June 29.]

For centuries, schools have sat in silos. Teachers and students were capable of communicating only with those inside their own buildings. It was at one time not only unattainable, but unthinkable to collaborate and communicate with outside classrooms. The technology for these types of interactions had not yet been introduced to education—and even if they were, cost and practicality were barriers to implementation.

I have been an active user of “video conferencing” since the early 90’s, when this type of technology was usually seen in large businesses or colleges that were fortunate to have the funds to provide the equipment to make use of such a progressive form of communication.…Read More

The 21st century classroom

Classrooms across the nation can connect via Skype.
Classrooms across the nation can connect via Skype.

The only thing that stays the same is the fact that everything changes.  Just as the hands of time manipulate the world around us, so has the student learning experience, climate, and anatomy of the classroom.  The evolution of technology and the academic experience in public education is in full throttle.

Take a moment to sit back and contemplate a classroom where the students are assessed both formatively and summatively with authentic, valid feedback without outside peer influence.  Imagine a classroom where the teacher can evaluate and analyze student performance in “real-time.”  Envision collaborative instruction on one side of a metropolitan area, using team teaching, with another teacher on the other side of the same city.

With 21st century resources available, teachers are cognizant and equipped to use every teaching strategy and technology tool mentioned in this illustration.  “Best practice” is not only apparent, (i.e. collaboration, assessment, classroom management, evaluation, self reflection, etc.) but more efficient.  In Bowling Green, Ky., two colleagues, serving in two separate elementary schools, are maximizing 21st century teaching strategies and tools.  These educators communicate via video conferencing in conjunction with other media to present to two diverse student bodies to meet all learning needs.…Read More

Will Skype eclipse fee-based videoconferencing?

Educators are forgoing professional video conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype.
Educators are forgoing professional video conferencing software for the free, easy-to-use Skype.

With school budgets continuing to shrink, many educators are turning to free or inexpensive software such as Skype, along with the web cameras that now come standard on most laptop computers, to connect with other classes or colleagues online—forgoing traditional (and more expensive) video conferencing solutions.

Numerous educators said they have used Skype in one form or another for lesson planning or instruction, with most citing its cost (or lack thereof) and ease of use as the main reason for going with the software program.

Skype offers a range of free services, including the ability to make voice or video calls and send instant messages to other Skype users. Users also can pay for services such as making calls from a PC to a landline or cell phone.…Read More