One of the questions I hear all the time is, “How do you motivate teachers to use videoconferencing?”
Here’s an answer from one of my veteran RUS Grant videoconference coordinators. Linda Johnson is the librarian at Mars Elementary, a K-2 school with 361 students and 25 teachers. At this moment they have 43 student events scheduled for the 2007-2008 school year and I know that several more are in the works. So this school is quite successful.
That said, here is a comment from Linda in my class, Kid2Kid Videoconference Connections.
While trying to get my teachers interested in having VC Pals, I had to make a point to let them know I only wanted them to share things they already do. Many times when the students do their writings they share as a classroom but that’s it. By sharing during a vc, maybe the work will become more meaningful because they are sharing it with another group of students.
Linda is planning multiple pen pal connections with a school in Ontario, Canada, and so far they are going very well.
So, keep this in mind. Teachers are really busy! The curriculum is really jam packed! So whatever teachers do with videoconferencing, it has to meet curriculum goals and fit tightly into what they are doing.
How do you encourage teachers to use videoconferencing? and what strategies do you use to help them find and create VCs that fit their curriculum?
I couldn’t agree more with this thought Janine. That is the message I always try to share. We all have “crazy busy” lives where we feel like we can’t add one more thing. If we take a moment to realize that using a tool like videoconferencing can help us reach the same goals, just in a different way that in most cases makes it more meaningful for the learners, we will all be happier and in a way less stressed out. It is a whole lot more of a positive environment when the teachers and the learners are engaged in what they are doing and not forcing themselves into their roles.
Yesterday was a “crazy busy” day here and Shane and I were about to get cross-ways. We finally settled down to a task that was a last minute ASAP request form our boss, aka a “gotta do”.
There was a Read Around the Planet connection running in the background while we worked and suddenly, we heard the voice of a first grader reading from a book. I don’t know what the book was, but the student’s voice was clear and precise. You could hear the pride in it. After she finished reading, the other class clapped for her and her smile was HUGE!
For us, it was one more concrete example of why we do what we do…to take the regular activity of the classroom and to make it more meaningful for an authentic audience.