Tag Archives: Collaborations

Videoconference Playground at ISTE

Yesterday was the 2nd annual Video conference Playground at the ISTE 2011 Conference.

For those of you who missed this amazing event, here are a few resources you should review!

Captain Roxanne Glaser led an amazing team of pirate deck hands and volunteers! Hope YOU participate next year!

Pirate Captain Roxanne Glaser and @Tparks, pirate volunteer

(Thanks @TParks for the photo!)

Check Flickr next week for more pictures from the playground.

Thanking my Pirate Helpers

I had over 100 participants in my ISTE Bring Your Own Laptop (BYOL) session on CAPspace today (Collaborations Around the Planet). Great attendance, but wow, what a lot of people!

I knew I couldn’t handle it myself, with all the account creation and questions. So, I recruited several of the SIG IVC pirates to assist me. You should know them and friend them on CAPspace!!

Sue Porter

Lori Colwill

Amy Spath

Audra May

Elaine Shuck

Anne-Marie Miller

They were all decked out in aweomse pirate gear! Audra has the pictures, and they should be posted in the SIG IVC Flickr site in the next day or two.

In addition, Roxanne Glaser, Whirlidurb‘s Content Director, and Pirate Captain helped me chunk the workshop to best take advantage of the pirate assistance.

Thank you pirates for making such a smooth BYOL session!

Hope you all can visit the Videoconference Playground at ISTE tomorrow!

Collaborations Around the Planet: Social Networking for Educational Videoconferencing

Links for today’s ISTE Bring Your Own Laptop workshop:

More about standards-based videoconferencing:

BYOL Workshop Evaluation

Additional resources



Designing Quality Videoconference Projects

ISTE workshop this morning! Here are links and resources Roxanne Glaser and I are using in the workshop:

Our Websites


Skype Resources

Sample Projects


Other Project Posting Sites

Additional Resources

Workshop Evaluation

Showing Off VC at a School Opening

Earlier this year we had one of the coolest VCs that we’ve done. It was very simple really, but it was who attended that made it cool!

Her Royal Highness, The Princess Anne, was attending a school opening at one of our collaborative partner schools in Wales.

The school officials wanted Princess Anne to see a videoconference IN SESSION while she was touring the school!

So our class worked with one of their classes to prepare a very simple VC:

  • Introductions on both sides
  • Info about our communities
  • Some question and answer time

We had to submit info about our school for security to check us out ahead of time.

Our students prepared a special greeting for Her Royal Highness.

Think about it!

  • How do you promote videoconferencing in your school?
  • Have your administrators seen a successful, powerful engaging videoconference?
  • Have you invited parents to watch a videoconference in your school?
  • Who else might be interested and therefore willing to support (financially and otherwise) the videoconference program in your school?

I was very impressed with our colleagues in Wales who found videoconferencing important enough to show off to an important visitor!

Exciting Changes in the VC Industry

Did you see these blog posts yesterday?

And, in other news:

All these changes raise several questions:

  • If schools want to connect to content providers and other classrooms globally, what should they buy?
  • If content providers want to upgrade their current systems or start providing programs for schools what should they buy? (Seems to me a LifeSize Passport might be an interesting choice for the ability to send high quality content to both H.323 advanced videoconference systems and to Skype. But does it have enough inputs for all the great visuals content providers share with us?)
  • Do all these changes make it so that teachers need less or more support figuring out how to connect to whoever they want to bring to their classroom? My gut is they need more. What do you think? Seems like full service support providers such as Whirlidurb can make this much more seamless for schools. The array of choices and options is getting dizzying!
  • If you were going to use videoconferencing for full length courses now, what kind of videoconferencing would you choose?

Your Turn

What questions and potential changes do you see from these developments? Please comment!

How to Expand a Collaboration: Poetry with England

Note: This is a real post; even though it’s April 1. :)

This week we’ve had 14 classes in England and Michigan connect together to share poetry! We’ve had performances, recitations with actions and motions, and even costumes! What a celebration of words! Thank you to Heather Hadfield for collaborating with us!

Note the technology is used to connect the students and to see and hear each other; but print materials are very important! Love the book and the map in this picture!

How to Run an Extended Collaboration

I thought it might be helpful for you to learn how we set this up so that you also can do more collaborations. I’ve used this strategy for many collaborations in the last few years. It’s one of the ways we provide programs to our schools.

Step 1: Preparation

  • Pick a partner: I started with someone I knew who also supports several schools using videoconferencing.
  • Pick a curriculum topic: We picked a topic that is in our curriculum and theirs: poetry.
  • Pick dates: This one was fun because our spring break is April 4-8; England is off for Easter from April 11-22; then they are off again for the royal wedding. We didn’t want to wait till May, so we picked this last week before our spring break. It was a little off because our schools do poetry in April, but we still had interest.

Step 2: Get Organized

I really prefer a wiki for this type of collaboration so that all the information is in a place where all the partners can access it. In 2009, I standardized all my project websites to make my work flow more efficient (anything to get more VCs!).

We worked together to set up a wiki with these essential components:

Step 3: Advertising and Registration

Next, Heather and I advertised to our teachers and schools.

  • Registration: When one of us found an interested teacher, we entered all the details on the scheduling page.
  • Pairing: If the teacher matched with one already listed, we matched up the pair.  If not, we made a new pair table on the page.
  • Confirmation letter: After a pair was complete, I used our confirmation letter template to send an email introducing the teachers to each other and giving additional directions.

Heather and I both subscribed to changes on the wiki, so we knew when new registrations came in that needed to be partnered.

Both of us reached out to particular schools and teachers to finish all the pairing.

It took us about two weeks to get every interested teacher matched.

Step 4: Test Calls

Sometimes when I do this type of collaboration, I’m collaborating with a region that we already know. Then we skip test calls entirely! This time though, we tested.

  • Set a date & time window: We picked a Friday morning my time; afternoon in England. Heather made sure the schools had their equipment on; I tested dialing out to them.
  • Skype: We talked on Skype. This removed the international phone calls from both sides; and made it easy to troubleshoot any issues that arose. We did have a few things to solve – mic cables, muting and unmuting, etc.

Step 5: Videoconference!

Finally, make the actual connections. We still stayed in touch this week.

  • Skype:We used Skype to solve any connection issues – and to communicate when the schools were up & running.
  • Feedback: We also shared with each other – mostly via Skype and email – any feedback or comments from the participating teachers.

Your Turn:

Have you done collaborations like this? What tips and tricks do you have to make it go smoothly? Please comment!

Career Interviewing Collaboration Idea

From the files and archives from our old website, I found this collaboration idea. It was written in our first year or so of doing VC in 2000-ish. Sharing here to archive it. Maybe you can build on this idea for your career classes?

Teacher Author of This Lesson Idea: Lisa Brady
School: Galien High School
Course: BST Core
Grade level: 9
Topic: Interviewing (a component of Career Planning)

Background: At Galien BST is team-taught by two teachers. We do very little with the interviewing portion of career planning. We sometimes will video tape the students interviewing with us. They are expected to dress as they would if they were on a real interview. They don’t take it very seriously—they know the two of us too well. We would like to have them interview with someone they don’t know and to see/critique others being interviewed.

Implementation: Students at participating schools would create a business and job opening to be advertised. They would need to create a background for their company, a job description, and then interview questions. Students at the other school would have to look at the job openings, fill out applications and submit resumes and letters of application, and then interview with ‘the boss’ from the other school. They would be expected to dress appropriately.

Additional comments: The research students do earlier could be used to develop their company. Applicant students would have to taylor their resume for the job they apply for.

Timeline/organization: Initial meeting to introduce companies/bosses-these should be prepared ahead of time with copies sent to the other school so students can look at them. After some intervening time, then we would have the interviews.

Issues to discuss/plan with participating schools:

  • Would we do this for every student?
  • Would each student develop a business/job opening and a job application/resume/interview (to be on both sides of the process)?
  • To do all students would require this to go on for several days. It might be better to somehow limit it to have it for 2 -3 days with maybe 3-4 interviews per day. Perhaps students could develop their business in small groups; although the interviewee would be alone but could be interviewed by a panel of interviewers.
  • Would we allow for a follow-up critique live or written; same day or later?

21st Century Communication with TWICE

Cross-posted with the MACUL conference blog.

Here are the resources and links featured in my session at MACUL, 21st Century Communication with TWICE.

We connected to Eagle Lake Elementary in Edwardsburg, for a feature of Where in Michigan; the ASK programs, and Read Around the Planet.

Next we connected to Mars Elementary, in Berrien Springs, for a feature of the Holiday Hoopla Snowman Swap.

Finally, we reviewed the TWICE Discounts with Content Providers / Field Trips, and the CAPspace website.

Read Around the Planet with Wales and Allendale

Cross-posted with the MACUL conference blog.

Karen Mosier is hosting the first session in the TWICE room this morning (W2-66!). The session is on Read Around the Planet, TWICE‘s signature global reading celebration.

A class from Allendale Michigan, is connecting with the Nant Celyn school, in Torfaen, Wales to show how a Read Around the Planet connection happens.

St. David's Day Parade Cardiff from Wikipedia

Both classes shared introductions about their communities.

Then the class in Wales described how they celebrate St. David’s Day. One of the students recited her winning poem from the poetry competition; and other students shared their poems as well. In one transition, we heard from the teacher:

Bear with us, we just had a bit of stage fright.

Of course educators and students can be encouraging for each other, even over videoconference!

The class in Wales sang their national anthem for us also!

The Allendale class shared math problems inspired by the book Math Curse.

They had prepared VoiceThread math problems; however, they discovered that the audio wasn’t clear enough, students talked too fast and too soft for the Wales students to understand. So they read the stories live instead.

During the connection they decided to email the math problems so the students in Wales could solve them. This is common during a Read Around the Planet connection – that the teachers end up negotiating further future collaborations based on their first connection.

Read Around the Planet celebrated the 10th anniversary this year. Hope YOU participate next year!

(And if you’re at MACUL and participated in Read Around the Planet, go to the Presenters’ booth and ask for the RAP star Read Around the Planet ribbon!)