What’s the craziest way you’ve used videoconferencing? How about cropping (scrapbooking, scrapping) with a friend in another state? Elaine Shuck and I connected with Festoon and Skype on Saturday night for a couple hours to scrapbook together and share ideas. Scott Merrick popped in for a few minutes to see what we were doing. This is a screen shot from Festoon. Elaine was showing her scrapbook while Scott and I admired it.
You can also do this with just Skype as they just added video calls, or with GoogleTalk and Festoon. I like GoogleTalk better for the audio. It’s clearer and the interface is simpler. Also, I read in Wired Magazine a while ago that Skype uses P2P technology and uses bandwidth when you’re not in a call. However, I can’t find the reference online. Should have kept a hard copy. The online technical FAQs for Skype don’t mention this either. So I’m not sure if it’s true or was true and isn’t anymore. If any of you have more information, please correct me by leaving a comment!
I’ve been using these tools for connections, especially for Christmas celebrations, with relatives in Taiwan and Canada. Pretty cool what you can do these days to connect with family and friends far away.
While these tools are great, they aren’t standards based like H.323. You have to have the same software as the person you’re connecting to. And you can’t use these tools to connect to all the content I’m usually writing about here. On the other hand, if you have an international contact without access to videoconferencing, this might be the best way to connect to them.
I’m not ready to recommend PC-based videoconferencing to my districts quite yet. We don’t have the bandwidth yet for multiple connections at will. Most of my districts have only a T-1 and in some it’s pushing the edges of quality to do one 384K videoconference. Some day maybe we’ll be ready for using these tools more often in our schools.