Videoconferencing in the 21st Century Classroom

Last week I compared using Skype in the classroom to using H323 videoconferencing carts in schools.

Are those our only choices? What if there was something in between?

  • Something affordable.
  • Something that any district could include when installing 21st Century Classrooms / Classrooms of Today / etc. (You know, classrooms with interactive whiteboards, short throw projectors, sound systems etc.).
  • Something that schools could get without a grant. How many VC units do YOU know of that were installed without a grant? Not many.

VC in Every Classroom

It’s been two years since one of our superintendents asked me how they could get videoconferencing in every classroom along with their interactive whiteboards. Since then I have not been able to stop thinking about this idea.

Why can’t we have videoconferencing in all these 21st century classrooms? If we don’t think of a solution soon; they will all switch over to Skype and miss out on all the great H323 content out there.

This year has been my year to investigate this seriously. Soon I’ll blog results of experimenting and thinking about:

  • Mirial
  • Vidyo
  • Polycom CMA
  • (I realize there are others; Tandberg Movi for example; but haven’t had an opportunity yet to learn about it/try it)

I Have a Dream

My dream is that all of the interactive classrooms in my service area will be videoconferencing-enabled!

  • A high quality web cam
  • Skype (for connections with people who don’t have H323; i.e. international ones)
  • H323 desktop software
  • Echo-cancellation that works with both Skype and H323

When this is possible and affordable; I think H323 videoconferencing will have a chance to become mainstream in schools – instead of just 30% penetration.

As I look back at my required components from two years ago; I think we’re getting really close to meeting those. Stay tuned for further discussion as I share the results of my experimentation this year.

What do YOU think? Is this an achievable goal? Is it a realistic goal? Do you see it as important or not? Why? Please comment!

0 replies on “Videoconferencing in the 21st Century Classroom”

  1. I was talking with Dwight Goodwin http://classroomnext.blogspot.com/ about this last night. He has been doing some cool stuff with Skype in Birdville ISD.

    I hope that eventually we can unify the videoconferencing world so that all of us who love videoconferencing and see the power of it can all connect with each other.

  2. Jason R says:

    Do you know of any content providers that are offering programming via Skype? I have not heard of any.

    Also, see this reality check from Will Richardson. Sigh.

    • Janine Lim says:

      Jason – yes I saw that from Will. But, I haven’t run into any schools in my area with that issue. I think it’s about educating parents too – if the schools do that well there isn’t as much of an issue.

      As far as content providers offering programming via Skype – I think Kigluait does; and I remember a rumbling that maybe Cleveland Museum of Art was willing to – I’m hoping to start collecting that data soon….

  3. Sarah says:

    As I think I’ve mentioned to you before, LifeSize Passport currently only works with Skype audio, BUT there is definitely a possibility of futher integration in the future. Stay tuned.

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