Since my visit to another county last week, I’ve been reflecting anew on our videoconferencing program. Today I thought I would share a list of the videoconferencing services that I provide to our schools.
These services are included in their REMC membership.
- Firewall. Assistance with making videoconferencing work through the firewall: ports used in VC, testing, configuration of the unit.
- Upgrading endpoints.
- Bridging: We bridge almost all of our schools’ calls and monitor them to make sure the connection is ok. In many cases the school doesn’t have someone who can be with the teacher during the VC.
- Troubleshooting: We provide first line of support – help with all those things that can go wrong: cables plugged in wrong, TV on the wrong channel, hooking up the document camera, etc. Usually provided via phone and to the teacher or media aide who is trying to make it work on their own.
Some of these services they pay for; others are included in their REMC membership.
- Three online classes (which YOU can take too!). Planning Interactive Curriculum Connections (the intro class); 21st Century Communication Collaborations (hand-holding for your collaboration VC), and Supporting Teachers’ Use of Videoconferencing (for coordinators). ($100 or $150 per person depending on the length of the class).
- Fall VC Coordinator Training offered every fall. This is for new coordinators in my schools. If I know of a change in a school, I strongly urge the principal to send someone to training. ($25 per person)
- After school over VC workshops as needed. (FREE)
- Just in time training as needed. Usually the day before a VC, a school calls and needs assistance with connecting the document camera, changing presets, or showing a PowerPoint. (FREE)
These services are included in the schools’ REMC membership.
- ASK Programs. We offer our own ASK programs, and pay for our schools to participate in other ASK programs. We also purchase the books, (30 copies of chapter books; 2 copies of picture books), and make into kits that our schools can borrow to prepare for the program.
- Collaborations. We run collaborative projects for our schools; we also support teachers in finding partners for the collaborations they want to do.
- Other Events. We also offer programming such as Mrs. Claus interviews, Lest We Forget Veteran interviews, and other programs.
- Content Providers. We create resources to help teachers find content provider programs: Grade Level Guides to VC (which need to be updated!); correlating programs to the Michigan Curriculum Framework, Favorite VC lists, etc. We also offer mini-grants to help pay for content provider programs (see funding below).
These services are included in REMC membership.
- Grants for equipment. Finding and writing grants to acquire videoconferencing equipment.
- Grants for programming. Finding funding from various sources to pay for programming.
- Consulting. Helping schools take advantage of funding sources in their communities: foundations, PTA funds, etc.
These services are also included in REMC membership.
- Advertising. Almost weekly emails with different videoconference opportunities are emailed directly to teachers.
- Scheduling. With few exceptions, all of the schools’ videoconferences are scheduled through us. Teachers just need to say what they want, and give us a range of dates & times they can do; and we arrange the rest. This takes a huge burden off the school staff. For one, we know all the ins & outs & procedures of the different providers. Also scheduling takes a lot of time. This saves our schools time.
- VC Calendar and Reports. Our scheduling system also provides an online calendar that principals, tech coordinators, teachers, and VC coordinators can view to see the status of their videoconference requests. This system also provides annual reports on the use of VC in each district.
- Advice. We also provide assistance and advice on solving school issues around using VC: placement of equipment, staffing challenges, assisting teachers when they freak out about their VC, etc.
I think that’s mostly it. What do you provide? Is there anything critical that I missed? What do you think is essential?