MIke started by showing us where he lives using Google Earth. He does this often in his video links to help students understand the geography of the connection. Paul Hieronymous has been doing this too with Google Earth with his I Spy Geography program. It’s a really good model and important to help students gain geographical knowledge along with the content for the program.
Mike talked a lot about the teacher support necessary for successful and effective videoconferences. These are some of the needs he mentioned:
- Someone to connect to for the first time
- An automated test site
- Someone to practice your lesson with
- Someone to help find partners
- Someone to help take an idea through to a successful project
Mike had some great stories and examples to share too. Lots of great international videoconference examples, and ideas on how to work around time zone issues etc. My favorite example was of two 1st grade classes, I think it was one in the UK and one in Switzerland. They had Santa Claus come in at one site and show a monkey. And then Santa was leaving to go visit the other school. In a few minutes Santa appeared at the other site with the same monkey. (Well actually they’d mailed it ahead of time.) The Santa in Switzerland looked a bit different and the kids commented on it. But the teacher explained how Santa must appear in the costume of each culture. What a fun experience that would be!
And finally…. Mike emphasized that “VC is not the purpose, but the means to achieve our outcomes.” It’s nice to try out a few, but to really make an impact, how does VC support your outcomes/curriculum.
“Bringing the world into the classroom changes the world.” Videoconferencing gives us an “opportunity to change the world.” When kids talk to kids in other locations, they begin to understand and appreciate other cultures & points of view.
Thanks Mike for another great presentation!