Is VC an Expensive Luxury?

This morning I had the privilege of presenting some of my research to the Schools Videoconference User Group in the UK. Here are a few interesting tidbits & comments.

Safety and Videoconferencing
I didn’t get to hear this presentation due to its early morning time, however, I checked out Heather’s slides. You should too. See what you think of her perspectives on the safety of students in a videoconference. Do you agree? Does your school follow these policies?

France Videoconferencing Site
There was a brief presentation on this site for collaborative videoconferences between French and UK schools. I asked if US schools were welcome too, and the answer is yes! I’ll be sharing this with my French teachers.

Night and Day Around the World
Also hear a brief report of this Night and Day Around the World videoconference hosted by JVCS. Among other things, they connected students to a scientist with a telescope in Australia – to see how it is night in Australia while day in the UK!

UK National Parks
All 14 UK National Parks now have videoconferencing! (They beat us to it! There’s a movement in the US to get all the national parks to offer distance learning as well. I guess we have a few more parks though.)

Is VC an Expensive Luxury, or Now More Important Than Ever?
After my presentation, Tim Boundy led a discussion of this big question. What would you say? Please comment!!

Here are some of the interesting comments I noted during the discussion:

Head Teacher (aka Principal) Vision
There was quite a bit of discussion about leadership and the need for leadership to support videoconferencing. In one very successful school, the videoconference coordinator shared that her head teacher has a vision: that they take the learning to the students – vs. taking the students to the learning. This vision drove their use of ICT, including videoconferencing.

What vision does your head teacher / principal have for technology, distance learning, and videoconferencing? How did they get that vision? Can we influence their vision? What if they don’t have the vision? How can we help them get the vision?

Two Views of Funding
Tim shared the dichotomy of views he is hearing on funding. Which one do you hear?

  • We have to cut our videoconferencing program. We don’t have enough funding!
  • We have to use videoconferencing now more than ever so we can save money.

Are you hearing these two views? Which one do you hear the most?

In my area at least, funding is super tight, and videoconferencing use is up!

Busy Content Provider: National Archives
It was neat to hear from the National Archives and what their perspective is on videoconferencing. They are booked a year in advance for onsite field trips from schools. The only way they can expand their outreach to schools is via technologies such as videoconferencing. They see it as a must to reach their goals of outreach to schools. In addition, they find it easier to meet the needs of secondary level classes by offering the programs on demand, vs. on Wednesday at 1:00 pm.

Using VC to Teach Science Teachers
I didn’t quite catch who shared this story – but I thought it was so intriguing. The speaker shared that science teachers don’t want to learn more about how to teach, they want to learn cool science things they can share with their students. So they offered a videoconference on how to do a squid dissection in your classroom – and the teachers loved it. It wasn’t about the VC – it was about the science. The technology just enabled it.

What do you think? Is VC an expensive luxury? What do you think of the comments & questions shared? It was a very interesting discussion, and I was glad to be invited. Please share your own thoughts on these issues!

2 replies on “Is VC an Expensive Luxury?”

  1. Videoconferencing is being taken up at greater rates than ever in Australian schools. There are two main reasons for this:

    1. The technology is becoming cheaper and the connection rates are much less – in some cases $0.

    2. Schools have to do more with less & VC allows them to spread expertise across greater distances eg provide teachers/subjects to smaller, more isolated schools via VC.

    Add to this that schools are getting greater bandwidth and that there are so many great content providers out there and you can see why it’s a burgeoning technology.

    I covered some ideas on how VC is being used in schools here:

    • Carol – that’s great to hear that it is expanding in Australia. I think it’s still growing fast in the U.S. also! Thanks so much for your comments and link!

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