Another Example Of Videoconferencing

This is a bit pricier than $60 for a web cam (and remember computers often come with them built in nowadays), but the Washington Post did this story:

Video Setup Tears Down Class Walls
Interactive Lessons Available From Afar
By Michael Alison Chandler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2008

What I like about this is that students expand the walls of their classrooms and participate in classes and learning experiences that they wouldn’t have available otherwise.

“But then something curious happened. The two-dimensional figures on the screen began asking questions, and the students raised their hands and answered. When the musicians played, they smiled as the students nodded their heads and snapped their fingers in time. When the performers were finished, they acknowledged the applause, then took a few questions from the young audience.

Through videoconferencing, the Loudoun County students took a lesson from the Manhattan School of Music without leaving the comfort of their plastic chairs in Sterling.”

I’ve never really tried to tweak the sound on a Skype connection much, or used it to listen to music, but I’m curious now to see (or hear I guess) what that would be like. I’m guessing here, but for the price the picture and sound must be better:

“Two years ago, Potowmack Elementary was among the first in the county to use the video camera, microphone and speaker set, at a cost of about $1,500. The county owns about six of the units for schools to use.

At Potowmack, first-graders have gone “mushing” on a dog sled in Alaska, second-graders have traveled to an Arizona desert to see NASA scientists testing moon buggies and spacesuits, and fourth-graders have visited with marine biologists in Florida as they fed a tank full of sharks.”

I love this concept, I wonder if something similar could be set up informally through a wiki page? I’m still planning on sharing some activities this year via my Verizon Wireless card. Lisa Parisi and I are currently kicking around an idea to share a reading and writing activity using a wiki page and Skype. We’ll keep you posted.

Learning is Messy!

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One thought on “Another Example Of Videoconferencing

  1. Shoot, we listened to an oud performance from Gaza City using Skype and a conventional laptop setup, and it accomplished the same ends as the activity described above. I’m not sure that the $1500 camera/mic made this activity fly.

    – Richard