Thanks to this month’s EDTECH Magazine, I learned a new term today. “Curriculum Videoconferencing.” I love the way it rolls off the tongue. “Curriculum Videoconferencing.” I love the fact that it encompasses the notion of setting up videoconferences that tie directly to classroom curriculum.
One of the projects highlighted within is Read Around the Planet. It’s too late to get in on the action for this year, as the project ended in March, but you can plan early for next year. I will! The only question I have is about the “setup requirements.” The article by Janine Lim references H.323 videoconferencing protocols. Does it really have to be so formal and complicated? Can’t we use Skype?
So I have a few reactions:
Skype: Yes, why not use Skype? First, RAP was created to provide more activities for H.320 sites originally, then H.323. Skype is pretty easy, but the quality of the audio for classroom connections still leaves much to be desired. Having a camera that can zoom and have presets is pretty helpful too for RAP type projects. Plus some schools are blocking Skype. I did a search of the NECC sessions and there are NO sessions that mention Skype. Why is that? Why isn’t there a community emerging to support Skype in schols? Or is there, and I don’t know about it?
Formal and complicated. These are great descriptors – and I think they hit the nail on the head on why VC isn’t mainstream yet. It’s too hard, it’s too expensive. Most everyone who has it got it with grant funding. Something’s wrong with that picture. We need someone simple enough that every classroom could have. We’re not there yet.
What do YOU think? If you’re using videoconferencing primarily to support classroom instruction (vs. a medium to get instruction to remote students), should everyone be doing this? One of our Korean War Veterans last month said every school needs this technology. Do you agree? If so, how can we get there??