Reducing Your Transportation Budget Using Videoconferencing: Wikispaces Archive

On a continued journey to archive my Wikispaces content. The content from this wiki was created as a support site for a March 10, 2010 MACUL Preconference.

Note: I am not maintaining links in this post. They are here for reference and history only.

Preconference Workshop Description: With budgets tight, learn how to use videoconferencing to hold district/county meetings, professional development, collaborate with peers around the state/glove, and do classroom virtual field trips around the state and planet. Two types of videoconferencing will be discussed: interactive self- contained systems (Polycom) and laptop-based systems. Attendees will learn how to install/connect videoconferencing tools and connect with peers using a laptop’s built-in camera or a USB camera. Latest and greatest software applications will be utilized to provide attendees a set of tools to reduce their transportation costs for meetings and student field trips.


1:00 Intro, VC In Our Schools, VC in the Real World; Desktop vs. Carts
1:30 TWICE / CAPspace / Field Trips / ASK programs
2:00 21st century classroom with Mirial (Connect to Joe Rommel via HD unit)
2:15 BREAK
2:30: 10 min: Skype with Rod Rock
2:40: 20 min: experiment with Skype & DimDim
3:00: 10 min: Aaron Schippert re CMA
3:10: 20 min: experiment with Polycom PVX / CMA
3:30: 10 min:
3:40: 20 min: experiment with Mirial / Vidyo
4:00 Tips for Meetings etc. / Other resources / web resources / links / Q&A etc.
4:30 End


Participants will:

  • Gain an awareness of how VC is used in education and the world
  • Learn about TWICE resources for VC in education
  • Experience and evaluate at least three videoconferencing tools
  • Talk to three guests via different videoconference tools
  • Learn about best practice for meetings via videoconference
  • Explore other resources for videoconferencing

Contact Us
Janine Lim
Skype: outonalim

Danielle Letter
Skype: letterdm

VC In Our Schools

Bridgeport-Spauling School District

Watch a Video Conference: Guess Who with Bridgeport-Spaulding second graders
Saginet Video on Demand:
Guess Who information through Adobe Connect:

Berrien RESA

  • SouthwestNet Distance Learning
  • Videoconferencing Out on a Lim

Hats.jpg We_love_MI.jpg Rainforest.jpg

VC in the Real World

Desktop Videoconference vs. Cart Based Videoconferencing

Read more here: The Continuum of Videoconferencing

Note: We have included in this presentation several tools that do H323 standards based videoconferencing because of the huge amount of content available to K12 schools via H323 videoconferencing. If you plan to use VC in the curriculum, you need H323 as one of your VC options.

Desktop Pros Desktop Cons Cart Pros Cart Cons
Always available Based in one location Ease of visibility for larger groups Depending on cart design, may be difficult to move
Ease of use Echo cancellation problems Microphones designed for room videoconferencing
Inability to connect peripherals such as a document camera Potential for many peripherals: computer, document camera, extra inputs, DVD/VCR
May be easier (Skype) or harder (h323) to share the computer with the other site Microphones tend to be on a longer cord which makes it easier for classroom use
May have problems with too short of a microphone cable Can use the remote from anywhere in the classroom to control the VC system
May only be able to control the videoconference from the teacher’s laptop
Potential to overwhelm school bandwidth (with one cart you can only do one VC)

TWICE: Two Way Interactive Connections in Education

Michigan’s K12 videoconferencing organization

Want to see more information? Check out the flyers!

Join the TWICE Listserv:


Rod Rock Professional Development and Videoconferencing
Director of Instructional Services, Saginaw Intermediate School District

Aaron Schippert Polycom/PVX
Saginaw Intermediate School District

Joe Rommel 21st Century Classroom with Mirial
Educator at Upton Middle School
St. Joseph, MI

Kevin Galbraith
Wayne-Westand Community Schools
Executive Director of Technology

Jeff Trudell
Wyandotte Public Schools
Technology Director

Tentative Craig Moellerstuen
Vidyo Demo
GCI Alaska

Tips for VC Meetings

TWICE Videoconference Fieldtrip

Samples, Etiquette and Basics, and Testimonials: 

Berrien RESA Green Meeting Month Blogs

Tips for a great video conference:
Video conferencing is a highly technical, vastly complicated technology that has been structured from the ground up to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. Even though video conferencing has only really become a viable medium in the past few years, it’s taken off as an attractive option when communicating with friends, families, colleagues, and clients. Despite its simplicity, there are many things you can do to – or not do – to ensure a great virtual meeting.
Source: Ezine Articles for Authors

Links and Resources

Dim Dim
Collaborate and share voice, video, slides, whiteboard, even your desktop.


Server Required?
server not required, but could have it to have your own meetings
free, but additional levels of cost provide more features
Client Software Works on Mac and PC; uses Flash
H323? NO
Multipoint? NO; one video at a team (that we could find so far)

Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Free instant screen sharing.
Free accounts to test with staff
(up to 20 members per meeting)
Ability to share presentation, whiteboard or
Unable to share other types of resources
3/10 experimenting in the workshop: we thought the camera quality was better on this than on Adobe Connect Adobe Connect allows setting up ahead of time; this doesn’t.
DimDim allows you to share YouTube etc. Adobe Connect you can share handouts and links; not as much on DimDim


Desktop video conferencing

Polycom Desktop Software: PVX & CMA


Polycom PVX Polycom CMA
Server Required?
No server required.
Server with 200 licenses SE 4000 (the SE 5000 is 500 licenses) (a one time purchase of licenses plus maintenance)
Add a video border proxy; makes it so you can connect people outside your network
Client Software
operating systems it supports, other notes, etc.
PC only but works in virtualized windows environment on Mac
  • It costs nothing to add more licenses (200 registered devices); they have it set up to unregister from the gatekeeper after 10 days and that releases the license
  • Costs nothing for all the districts to have it installed on their network; they can download it on their network
  • It only works on 32 bit machines (so far).
  • PC only; but Mac is supposedly coming.
H323 YES on BOTH
Multipoint? Not by itself, but can connect to any MCU just fine Not by itself, but can connect to any MCU just fine
Other Skype and CMA fight with each other on Aaron Schippert’s computer; but on Danielle’s computer she has no problem at all.
Notes on Mics & Cameras recommended camera: Hercules Dualpix Webcam$20 ish; recommended microphone – REMC bid $3.57

Polycom PVX Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Ease of use Challenges getting it to work on the firewall

Polycom CMA Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Works with almost every kind of camera there is Currently doesn’t support Windows 98 or Mac; but Mac is supposed to be added soon
Can install on all the computers on your network without additional cost; the limitation is the number of concurrent users/licenses Requires VPN to work through firewall
OR the Polycom Video Border Proxy (Which is also a positive because the VBP – in theory- allows you to bring in any site anywhere – think authors, experts, etc.) (Janine’s comment: in theory because we haven’t yet seen that work)
Communicates with any H323 codec
Excellent quality (quoting Saginaw ISD)
Does H.239 / People Plus Content H.239 doesn’t work with every site out there (see Janine’s posts on the H.239 standard)
Requires registration with the gatekeeper which in theory makes dialing better


Free Download:
Already a member?

VideoConferencing Out on a Lim offers many resources for Skype:

Skype- Some Information to Consider. (Cons in using Skype):

Vidyo Review


Server Required?
$10,000 server
Also get the H323 gateway
Client Software
licenses for the logins/rooms/ports
licenses for the clients
it does make Mac/PC and H323 all together
H323? If you buy the gateway
Multipoint? Yes

More VC Options

There are many other videoconference options. Here are a few more we recommend investigating further:

  • Tandberg MOVI
  • Adobe Acrobat Connect(3/10 learned during the session: Did you know there’s an app for your phone for Adobe Connect?? It only works with prerecorded meetings so far….); You can do three of the people on videoconference. It works Mac and PC both. If you want to show video, it has to be flash. All this info from Sue Summerford from Lenawee ISD.
  • Elluminate / Elluminate VCS (VCS connects to H323)
  • ooVoo (can pay for multipoint)

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