I support all of our school sites in utilizing videoconferencing equipment in its most effective state – the classroom, with experts, other classrooms around the world (and around the corner!). Over the years we have developed special partnerships with companies like Cisco and Compugen that have brought in some fantastic VC equipment. Yet, not all of our classrooms nor school sites can afford these items AND all students should have access to the opportunity to videoconference with someone/a class outside of their own classroom. There are also organizations that offer free VC programming, you just need to know where to look!
The Logitech BCC950 Conference Cam has a full HD camera, 78° field of view with autofocus, zoom, duplex speakerphone with echo and noise cancellation and an omnidirectional microphone. With 2 USB connections, teachers just plug in this device to their laptop, get on the VC application that they need (Cisco Webex, Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype, etc.), choose the proper settings and start any VC. When I show this to teachers who have not used this equipment before, they are so excited AND they are ready to go in five minutes.
Below are the various organizations that I go to in finding many substantial and relevant videoconference activities (free) for our sites. Yes, there are organizations who charge and do a great job or hosting VC events and if classrooms have the $$ to spend for them that is great too. These ones offer free VC programming and are worth it to check out!
- Connected Classrooms on G+
- Discovery Education – must have a license to access
- Exploring By the Seat of Your Pants
- Global Encounters – TIGweb
- Global Schoolnet
- Know My World – Global Education
- National Geo – Explorer Classroom
- Streamable Learning
- Twice CAPspace
- Twitter – ask your PLN, search for specific experts/classrooms/teachers
Enjoy your VC journey!