Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Flat" Communications with Voicethread

       

Hello to the Austalians in St. Joseph's Primary School in Merewether, Australia!  We are thrilled to be involved in the Voicethread project with your school.  We will post our voicethreads on the project page and embed them on my class wiki.  Yesterday I mailed our "bulldog" mascot to your class and it should arrive within 10 days.  Because the mailing is expensive, please just keep our bulldog at the end of the project.  We will enjoy the voicethreads and enjoy seeing you and your students with the bulldog!  
We love the idea of sharing our cultures on field trips - we'll see your exciting and interesting places and you will see ours.  We also will enjoy the different accents.  American - southern and Australian. 
          School website: St. Joseph's Primary
          Rural Hall Elementary - Distance Learning
          Mrs. McDermon's Class Wiki - click on projects and voicethread

          





Saturday, October 2, 2010

Desktop Videoconferencing

If you don't have a school videoconference set-up (Polycom or Tandberg) using h.323, you can use a desktop set-up.  The only drawback is that when a lot of classes webstream, your quality can vary a lot, depending on your bandwidth.  This is also great for home to visit those family and friends who do not live close-by.

Carol Skyring found a free link to download Polycom PVX software for a PC (not mac).  You should read her post for more details.  You can use this with a usb camera to do high quality desktop videoconferencing for five minutes at a time.  I have used this software and it is great - quality and easy to use.  We used it one year to share our student school news with a school in New Jersey.  We saw their school news live and they saw ours live the next day.
Skype is also a great alternative and it's free.  Again, you need a usb camera and can google a search or look through the skype link for webcams.  With these desktop solutions, you can do classroom to classroom (with a data projector or white board (Promethean or SmartBoard).   Skype works with PC or Mac.  We have used skype, a usb webcam, and a laptop (or desktop) computer to easily visit other classrooms.  These projects are easy to set-up and blog or share on a wiki.

There are websites and listservs for locating a connection on specific topics.  Some of these are listed below:
Global Leap - http://www.global-leap.org/index.php
Skype in Schools - http://skypeinschools.pbworks.com/
TWICE - Two Way Interactive Connections in Education - Capspace
CILC - Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration

Currently these web cams do not work with museum visits or h.323.