6 Tools for Effective Videoconferencing

Powerful Video Conferencing-Opening New Doors to Learning presented by Geoff Turrell.

I’m now in the Teaching strand watching the first presentation from Athena Education Action Zone in the United Kingdom. They are working with students with special needs, and are using videoconferencing as one of many interventions for meeting students learning needs.

Cool ideas include an interactive soap opera for VC, a ROCK IDOL with students performing to a panel of judges via VC, and a classical dance class.

Teachers have VC systems at their desks and they also do VCs with schools internationally.

They are addressing the “no significant difference phenomenon.” They aimed to answer the question: How can we make sure it is BETTER than direct teaching?

In answering this question, they have 6 tools for effective videoconferencing.

It’s cool to see that they are really trying to do more than just a talking head. They sent a 6 parcels from the UK to us here in Indy and he’s getting the audience to open the parcels. What a fun way to get the remote site interactive! This is the creativity I like to see!

The 1st tool was a teddy bear and represented was “interactivity.” Yes!! The best interactive videoconferences have hands-on materials and conversation back and forth. Cool way to explain it!

Interaction includes, according to these presenters: questioning pupils, setting tasks, exercising communication skills, and creating an awareness of audience.

The second package has an owl teddy bear. It represents the 2nd tool is teachers or pedagogical presence. The program needs to be coordinated by a real field teacher who has good classroom management skills, an understanding of good teaching practices, etc. The presenter also needs to understand the importance of telepresence skills.

The third package has a package of tea. It represents the 3rd tool or contextualization. This is about having students experience a “real life” context and incentive for learning. It adds an extra dimension to learning and brings the task to life. It puts the excitement back in learning.

The fourth package has a set of nappy pins, or otherwise known in the US as diaper pins. This represents the 4th tool or underpinning. This includes focused planning, use of worksheets and supplementary information sheets to support the lesson content, and accommodating learning styles.

The fifth package has swimming goggles. This represents the 5th tool or an immersive learning environment. The includes using core materials from the Internet, interactive white board content, supplementary materials, etc.

The final package had a jigsaw with a piece missing. This presents the 6th tool or collaboration because the missing piece was over in the UK. This tool allows for shared writing, design and composing, application sharing, and teacher & student collaboration across many miles, and distributed learning, which we just heard in the keynote.

A great session and a great model of interaction during the session!

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