Free videoconferencing? How do you do that?
In 2005 we won a Polycom PVX in a drawing for prizes among Megaconference Jr. participants. I played around with it and it seemed to be quite similar, although much better software, than a computer webcam. In 2006 we won a Polycom Communicator in a similar drawing for Megaconference Jr. This was set-up on my laptop to give me a Skype telephone since I didn't have a direct line in my classroom which is very helpful during videoconferencing.
Reading ED1VIDCONF listserv one day last fall I found a request for elementary TV news videoconferencing. What a great idea! Our big Polycom IVC equipment was installed on a large TV which is NOT movable, so I tried the Polycom PVX with the Polycom Communicator and it worked quite well. The school in New Jersey was very helpful and we exchanged broadcasts, with our school in-house news program going live to their school and the next day their broadcast was enjoyed by our school. We learned several new ideas for presenting our live program. What I found most interesting was the variety of set-ups possible to connect and use this equipment. As usual, I continue to learn so much from working with students.
We hope to do participate in this project again this year as we look for valuable learning experiences for our 21st century students.