Tag Archives: Research Questions

Negative Things About Using VC in the Classroom

Yesterday we began this little journey of examining results from a little survey I did last May. Review the previous post for more information on the survey.

Today, let’s look at the companion question:

Please identify three to five negative things about using videoconferencing in your classroom.

Negative Things About Using VC in the Classroom

What words jump out at you this time? TIME! What ways are time challenging for videoconferencing?

  • Time zones
  • Time to schedule a videoconference
  • Time to prepare the students (and yourself) for a videoconference
  • Time to get all the classes at the level/grade to participate
  • What else can you think of?

Scheduling and technical problems stand out in this list too. While these teachers tend to be in my schools with better bandwidth and infrastructure, they still have done enough VCs to run into glitches.

I’ll share a couple full answers with you. This one is from Lacy Payne, F.C.Reed Middle School, in Bridgman, Michigan, (RUS grant school) whose students have done ASK programs, MysteryQuest, The Cleveland Museum of Art (to name a few), and has also participated in the Jazz workshop.

I have a couple of experiences where I had to reschedule because of technology problems, scheduling problems sometimes occur, time availability, and cost. I have two sessions of classes I teach and in order to get them both in I have to have them at the same time which creates a large number of students upwards of 50-60 kids. If money wasn’t an issue it would be much easier to do one conference per class.

From Peggy Clore, Coloma Middle School, (RUS grant school) 6th/7th grade language arts teacher:

1) Preparation takes time out of other lessons I’ve planned, so I have to make sure I’m covering as many of the GLCE’s as I can. Editor’s note: GLCEs are Michigan’s Grade Level Content Expectations.
2) Snow days cancel programs:)
3) Hearing may be difficult due to the other classes’ facilities.

And of course, this one is my favorite answer from a teacher who preferred to be anonymous in the survey results.

I don’t consider any part to be a negative worth griping about. If forced to nit-pick, the time frame is sometimes out of classwork sequence.

Are these negative things a barrier for these teachers? Read yesterday’s post!

So, please comment – either with your own list of negative things about using VC in the classroom, or with your own interpretation of the data represented above, or your own ideas of how to address these challenges.

Positive Things Abut Using VC in the Classroom

Last May (2008), I asked twenty of my teachers who used VC most often to complete a little survey. This is the beginning of sharing the results. Each teacher had used videoconferencing at least 6 times in the school year, and the teacher using it the most had done 12 videoconferences in the 2007-2008 school year. All of these were “curriculum videoconferencing” or using VC to support curriculum instruction.

In this post, I’ll share the answers to one of the questions. I decided to use Wordle to represent the data visually. Interestingly, it’s quantitative data (counting the number of times the word is using) represented in a more qualitative way.

Please identify three to five positive things about using videoconferencing in your classroom.

Positive Things About Using VC in the Classroom

Isn’t it interesting that the word students is so huge?! Learning, experiences, and opportunity jump out at me. It’s all about the students, isn’t it! Click the graphic to see the words much larger. Think about each of those other descriptive words.

And, I selected one full answer to share with you. This answer is by Peggy Clore, 6th and 7th grade language arts teacher at the Coloma Middle School, Coloma, Michigan (one of our RUS grant schools). She took the Jazz workshop a couple years ago and has been hooked on VC since. One of her more memorable VCs was the Around the World project in April 2008. She has also participated in the ASK interview with Jim Stovall and Read Around the Planet.

1) Students have an authentic audience, causing them to take greater care with their work.
2) Students learn to create valid questions through the ASK kit.
3) Students reflect upon what they learn and sometimes change their thinking or make connections to what they know.
4) Some of our challenging students’ behavior is so much better because they’re interested in what we’re doing.
5) When we connect to another part of the country or a foreign country, we open our students’ world to ideas they may not learn through a text book. Most of our students do not have opportunity to travel or see areas outside of our rural community and county.

So, how would you answer this question? Please comment – either with your own list of positive things about using VC in the classroom, or with your own interpretation of the data represented above.

K12 VC Learning Theory

I like to see what search terms people type in that get to my blog. Often I learn about new resources and tools that way. For example, someone found my blog with the search “k12 videoconference learning theory” so I tried it to and found:

Strategies for Using Videoconferencing Technology in the K-12 Classroom:
A Teacher’s Digital Handbook

This site is a wealth of information laid out in a creative engaging manner. You should definitely take some time to explore it. For example, what is your model of videoconferencing? and this is the page that applies learning theory to videoconferencing. Check it out & consider how you are using videoconferencing. Do these frameworks apply to you?

VC Benefits Student Motivation and Discipline

Do you think that videoconferencing benefits student motivation and discipline? This would make a great research question. But here’s an anecdote from a teacher who participated in ASK: Night of the Twisters with Region 12’s weather guy, Rusty.

The kids really enjoyed it, and here I was so worried about my 30 students from last hour. They were on their best behavior.

We’ve had local teachers cancel programs because they were worried about student behavior. But I’ve also heard many stories like this one where the students behaved much better than the teacher expected. Do you have any stories to share either way?

LitReview: A Case Study of the Integration of a Video Learning Center at an Elementary School

Keefe, D. D. (2003). A Case Study of the Integration of a Video Learning Center at an Elementary School. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA.

Author: David D. Keefe.
Title of article: A Case Study of the Integration of a Video Learning Center at an Elementary School.
Publication year: May 2003.
Database source: Dissertation Abstracts.
Name of journal: n/a.
My Codes: VCContentProviders, VCProjects, VCExperts, VCK12Implementation.

Main point of the article: This dissertation investigates the integration of a video learning center into a K-6 elementary school.

Methods: This is a qualitative study, specifically an interpretive research study. It uses Fourth Generation Evaluation methodology.

The unit of analysis was a K-6 elementary school that has receive recognition for innovation in technology integration. The school has 900 students, including 2 deaf and hard-of-hearing students. 10% of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. p. 43 The school is technology rich p. 44, with three full time technology specialists (K3, 4-6 and video learning center).

Data collection included interviews with teachers, observation of students during videoconferences with content providers, and observed teacher and student preparations for an all day UN Videoconference on Human Rights. 24 hours of videoconference, video editing and classroom activity was videotaped and reviewed. Interviews were also conducted with the technology coordinator, principal, gifted education teacher, and video learning center coordinator.

p. 54 “While due to the qualitative design, this study is not generalizable, but it may serve as a model for development and evaluation of similar projects.”

Chapter 5(p. 93-) discusses the claims, concerns and issues with integrating a Video Learning Center into the curriculum in an elementary school.

  • Claim: Positive effects on teaching and learning (improved teacher objectivity, curriculum enrichment, growth opportunity for teachers, facilitates inclusion across curricula, reverse mentoring)
  • Claim: Extension of technology integration (the Internet as amplifier, video learning center worked with the One-to-One program) .
  • Concern: Constructivist learning experiences.
  • Concern: Engagement and student deportment.
  • Issue: Technology and teaching skills needed by VLC coordinator.
  • Issue: Faculty development in application of technology.

My Comments/Notes:
Think about the difference between technology that assists students and teachers in doing the same educational tasks, and technology that is a “transformative application” p. 5.

They still have a complicated videoconference room tied into a TV studio for sending programming to the whole school. Not a mobile cart. But still the same use of VC that I’m interested in.

A study by Honey, McMillan, Culp, & Carrig, 1999 is a 17 year student of technology integration in a New Jersy school district. It identified eight reform strategies integral to the school district’s success. p. 12. The eight strategies are (p. 127-129):

  • Instructional leadership at the building level
  • Effective school improvement teams
  • Extensive professional development
  • Emphasis on student creativity / Expression of ideas in multiple formats
  • Providing different points of entry for children working at different ability levels
  • A de-emphasis on remediation and an emphasis on learning for all
  • Establishment of classroom libraries and media-rich classroom environments
  • Multi-text approach to learning, including integration of technology into instruction

Lit Review Notes
His literature review focuses not just on videoconferencing but on “learning theory related to technology, knowledge management and story telling, web as a new learning environment, and TV and digital video learning.” p. 10.

Page 18 has a nice chart of teaching paradigms related to models of distance/distributed learning. (i.e. experiential simulations – think CET CLC’s e-Missions; and collaborative learning; think MysteryQuest.)

Need to look further into Dede’s research from 1996 and 2002 that shows the critical components for success, including “involvement of trained coordinators at every implementation site” which is a main focus of my intended research.

Hayden 1999 is another study to look into further. “K-12 teacher panelists who had prior experience using videoconferencing were found to have stronger agreement with constructivist elements.” Hayden has a list of characteristics of videoconference systems that support constructivist learning.

Literature review process comment. He mentions studies based on a dated technology (analog videotape editing) and says most of them have”limited direct relevance”; but then discusses one study that has enduring relevance.

Definitions are a big problem with videoconference research. Keefe uses the term “distributed learning environment”. “A distributed learning environment augments and amplifies the classroom- and textbook-based instruction that characterize much of the other instruction in the various curriculums in K-12 schools.” p. 16. Page 19 as another application of the term “distributed learning environment” to mean where distance learning is combined with face-to-face.

He does talk about satellite “videoconference” as well. I wonder now if my initial preferred focus of H323 videoconferencing is too narrow and if in actuality the lessons learned from CuSeeMe and similar tools apply to today’s videoconferencing as well.

p. 32. Another definition. Videoconferencing learning in an elementary school “as a tool for augmenting and amplifying classroom instruction.” Also interesting from p. 32, the stakeholders for this study feel the combination of video conferencing, video production and close circuit transmission through the school are essential for success.

Good Ideas
Here’s an interesting concept: “computer supported cooperative learning.” p.15. How about videoconference supported cooperative learning? We are so totally doing that with Jazz next week. MysteryQuest definitely does that too.

p. 57. The school uses the Boyer Model (The Basic School: A Community for Learning) which provides the school “with a way to measure whether the integration of technology is consistent with the overall beliefs and goals to which the school has subscribed.” See p. 58 & 59 as well. The vision for technology in the school blends with the Basic School vision. Imagine having a clear vision on how technology fits the school’s instructional vision in the schools you work with!

p. 62 Weekly team meetings “provide a forum for teachers to discuss appropriate uses for technology in different subject areas, and to give each other technical assistance with the use of specific pieces of equipment. Another excellent way to provide ongoing support for teachers.

Need to know more about p. 31. What the research shows and what the research does not show. “The extension of videoconference learning to the elementary grades is an evolving application that is just beginning to receive research attention.”

p. 51. The study results should be viewed “as limited to application in technology-rich learning environments.”

In the Results section (chapter 4), the author describes a “day in the life of the video learning center” with various activities compressed into one day. The VCs included hosting a holocaust survivor as he spoke to high school students in two other states; a student-to-student interaction on rockets with a class in Northern Ireland; a videoconference with an oceanographic institute;; and a videoconference with several schools and the United Nations.

The Results section describes several factors that are key to successful videoconferences:

  • students and teachers preparing for the videoconerence
  • the VC coordinator helping the teachers select programs
  • the VC coordinator giving an introduction to VC behavior before the conference starts
  • students are encouraged to use “their playground voice” to speak loud enough for the microphone

Things I’ve Noticed Too
p.53-54. Even this technology-rich school had teachers who didn’t want to change their curriculum for a VC that just showed up. “The most negative factor involves some teacher reluctance to take advantage of serendipitous opportunities that occur during the school year that would require altering the previously agreed to curriculum plan.” 🙂 Sound familiar???

p. 91. Kids cared so much about their international videoconference that they came in on a snow day to participate.

p. 116 “Integrating a facility like the VLC into curriculum requires more than just an investment in space, technology and communications infrastructure. The capabilities of the VLC Coordinator have a strong role in determining the success of the overall program.” Yes!!! I really believe this!

New Thoughts
p. 97 The VC coordinator, who has seen many videoconferencing, said, “I’ve worked over the years, especially in video-conferencing, helping at each grade level, and the teachers become familiar with it, realizing how it really compacts curriculum as opposed to adding on one more thing they have to do.” Do your teachers see it this way? What does it take to find the right opportunities that not only match, but compact curriculum?

p. 126 “The videoconference learning milieu also helps teachers observe and reflect upon their students’ interactions to a greater extent than in most other settings, and teachers in this study reported that they quite frequently saw behaviors in the VLC that they had not previously observed in the classroom.” This is really interesting. What does that mean for that student’s learning?

Your Comments
This is the first in a series of research article “notes” that I’ll be posting throughout the summer. I invite you to join the conversation. What ideas struck you? What do you agree with? What questions does this article raise in your mind? Your comments are very much welcomed!

Do VCs raise students' self-esteem?

Over lunch today I read an article on Overcoming Underachievement in Edutopia. In a nutshell, the study showed that a simple 15 minute writing exercise where minority students wrote about attributes “they value, such as relationships with friends or being good at art” (p.58). This little activity increased the students’ achievement, startling the researchers with the impact on their learning.

So I wonder, do videoconferences raise students’ self-esteem? I’ve seen some students get really excited when they are called on, get to talk, or are able to be on camera. If they share their work (poetry, writing, art, etc.) with another person, school, expert, author, other students… does that raise their self-esteem? And in doing so, does it make them more confident and motivated to do their other work?

Isn’t that a great research question? I’ve added a new category to my blog for research so I can record these “wonderments”. Maybe some graduate student looking for a research topic will take it on….