This is the third panel session at the CILC Symposium 2007. Roxanne blogged the second one, so check that out. Also check out her summary of the ideas and resources brainstormed in my breakout.
This panel, moderated by Jan Zanetis, Tandberg, is comprised of the following panelists: Paul Hieronymus has coordinated the Avon Schools’ Distance Learning Project and also Lorain County Distance Learning Consortium (LCDLC). Paul is also involved in OhioDL.org. Bernice Stafford, consultant, was Vice President of School Strategies and Evaluation at PLATO Learning, Inc., and a Lightspan, Inc., co-founder. Linda serves on the Executive Committee for the Indiana Council for Economic Education. Dr. Howie DiBlasi is currently the C.I.O. (Chief Information Officer) for the Durango School District.
Main guiding question: What do you think things are going to be like 5 years from now? 10 years from now?
Paul: Videoconferencing is still an emerging technology. In 5 years all the technologies are blended and it’s a standard tool that can be used in the curriculum. The selection is based on the curriculum, instead of what technology you have access to.
Howie: We need to unlearn some common problems. Why can’t we do a VC at 8:14? Why do we have a clock in the classroom? Why can’t we do project learning all the time?
Howie: We as IT directors need to open things up so that the schools can use the tools. It’s amazing what writing is improving as mom & dad, aunts and uncles are reading. There is a global audience. “I tell educators to have their techs call me. They are so afraid of what will happen on the network.”
Paul shared several of the issues with teachers using VC. Their fear of the technology, concern for being on camera. Also it’s hard to get over bad experiences from when the connection didn’t work. Classroom management is an issue.
Someone asked, are your web 2.0 tools on an internal site or on the Internet? Howie answered that they use blogger and so only a select group of parents and relatives can view it. They also can’t comment on it because they control that.
Bernice shared this good quote: “The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed.” Anytime anyplace learning is growing.
Linda – there’s a future of national level professional development getting delivered via videoconferencing, online courses, podcasts, etc. The blended learning solution seems to be the future for professional development. Can we say Jazzing Up Your Curriculum with Videoconferencing? CILC has a relationship with My eCoach for offering and creating professional development spaces. The state standards are already loaded into this tool.
Roxanne – we can’t continue to think that telling is teaching. “We use whatever tool is available to meet the needs.” 123VC is a weeklong staff development: we have them experience it first as a learner, then as a teacher, then as a leader.
Paul shared details and tips for doing collaborative projects. There are technology challenges, firewalls, test calls etc. It’s so important to go through everything, planning, setting timelines. Nothing is worse than one teacher being completed invested in the connection and connected to a class that is using it as a break. Start with something small. Don’t try to replicate Megaconference on your own.
Tommy shared some issues – places that say, we want your project but we don’t have anything to give back to you. Say to the teachers up front – this is NOT TV quality. Tell the teachers – your kids are going to live in a video world. Where is this technology emerging to? My 16 year old is going to have a video cell phone. VC is like Windows 3.0. It’s just now starting to get user friendly. I don’t know where it’s going, but I do know we’re going to live in a video world.
Question from audience: what is being done to make accommodations for students of all learning needs and styles? Polycom offers Closed Caption. As educators we must be cognizant of the needs of students. From the content provider perspective, teachers can post their needs. The content providers can adapt their programs to what exactly the students need. The content providers mentioned who adapted their programs – the Columbus Zoo and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Becky from the Columbus Zoo, said “we really need the teachers to communicate what they need and the best way to work with their students. These are some of our favorite programs.” From another audience member, video is an incredible way to benefits students with special needs. From another audience member, at the university level you can get sued for offering distance learning without accessibility.
The last question was from someone wondering if kids get confused in what’s real or not in a videoconferencing. I can remember a kid saying, “is she a robot?” Ruth Blankenbaker answered and emphasized how the kids get a fuller experience. I remember one of our teachers saying how her 1st grade kids just see “arms and legs” on a field trip, and on the videoconference they can actually see something.
And the panel ended because time ran out.