Reaching Beyond Classroom Walls: Incorporating Distance Learning into the Curriculum

ISTE Session: Elizabeth Percival, Timberlane Regional School District (NH) with Christina Hubley

Elizabeth and Christina are describing how they are using videoconferencing in the elementary classroom.You can get their PowerPoint from the ISTE site here.

News: Center for Puppetry Arts is trying to get funding so they can offer their programs via Elluminate for schools that don’t have H323 videoconferencing.

Tips for connecting to content providers:

  • Ask them to tailor the program to your standards and grade levels
  • Make sure the programs match your standards when you are searching for programs
  • Find out what visuals they are going to show (i.e. zoos have different ways of showing animals)

Tips for Collaborations

Ideas for One Time Connections

  • Read Across America
  • Canada
  • State/Geographic Regions
  • State Resources
  • 3rd to 4th grade transition
  • 5th grade move upmiddle school
  • Middle school / elementary Internet safety

Camera Tip:

Make sure teachers talking to each other over a videoconference collaboration is to face the camera so students see that they are talking to someone on the television.

Collaborations: Multiple Connections

  • They are doing literature groups: with a class in OH.
  • NH/TX kindergartens (There are so many TX people doing VC that there seem to be enough partners in TX for everyone “outside TX” 🙂
  • Pen Pals: They are sending care packages back and forth with some  of their long term partners.
  • Hawaii: (They connected with Hawaii really early in the morning their time; and afternoon Eastern / New Hampshire time.) This collaboration also included some grant funds that had some teacher/students swaps between Hawaii and New Hampshire. Sweet collaboration!!
  • NASA
  • CMI
  • High school / middle school language classes

They only do collaborations that actually tie into their curriculum.

Some collaborations evolve because other teachers have really cool units and teachers want to learn from each other.

They fund programs with special funds for distance learning and they connect with the community to help raise funds and raise awareness.

Community Connections

  • After school enrichment (some authors), Lee Richardson Zoo. They had so much interest they had to add additional sessions.
  • Interest groups
  • Girl scouts / Boy scouts
  • Historical societies – they want to VC with their own historical societies in their town
  • Senior housing connections – they have VC in their performing arts center – and they sent the band performing out to the senior housing so they didn’t have to travel over.
  • Community information sessions – connect 10-15 minutes so the community knows what the students are doing; parents said they would pay for their children to do videoconferencing. They did the Great Barrier Reef at 7 am at night and had parents asking if they could come without their kids because the kids had a conflict with a ball game or something. Cool!!
  • Family nights


For the videoconference they connected to the NASA Glenn Research Center and gave an overview of their programs. NASA has several centers across the country that all over videoconferencing programs. We learned some cool things about NASA, weightlessness, facts about John Glenn, etc.

  • Audio tip: Use your playground voice when you talk in videoconferencing.

NASA is also thinking about offering their programs via Elluminate, Adobe Connect, and other tools for those who don’t have videoconferencing. But they can NOT do Skype due to security issues.

Don’t forget also that the NASA DLN offers webcasts as well that anyone can participate in.

NASA correlates everything with the national standards because the state standards change so much.

NASA showed off some of the cool technology they use in their sessions and some of the neat videos – like from the vomit comet – and what water does during a free fall. It stays in a ball due to surface tension. We learned how to go to the bathroom in space, which of course kids love. Liquid waste is recycled to turn into drinking water and for washing.

(This session featured the clickers and that was pretty cool although Quizdom was late bringing them in.)

They are also working with the Great Lakes Science Center to be able to offer more programs with and for NASA as well.

NASA (and other providers) have some programs that are more than one VC; and students do projects in between the videoconference sessions.

NASA programs are free (well actually you pay

Presenters pic by Paul Hieronymus

for it every April 15.)

Other Notes

Tips for Choosing Providers

  • Know your audience
  • Find out about their pre activities
  • Verify the curriculum
  • Confirm the cost
  • Roll the dice and book a program – just try it!!!

They gave away two programs during their program. Sweet! Drawing was given to the people who had the oldest coins in their pocket/purse.

Note for planning: The sessions that are hosted by educators in the trenches and include what they are doing plus a connection somewhere are really well attended and very well received!

0 replies on “Reaching Beyond Classroom Walls: Incorporating Distance Learning into the Curriculum”

  1. You’re posting so much I can barely keep up! haha Thanks so much for providing such great coverage of this amazing event. I love your enthusiasm for VC and the classroom!!!

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