Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Joanie's Shareshare at Collaboration Collage

In response to a call for info from a fellow listserv member at the wonderful Collaboration Collage group, my pal Joan Roehre had some thoughts I thunk would be useful to share further here. Enjoy:

While our district uses full-motion video as well as IP units, we are
purchasing more and more iSight (Mac) cameras for many uses- including
classroom applications.

Primarily we use webcam technology for teacher-to-teacher use within the
district. We have found it immensely powerful for our initial educator
mentor program. New teachers have instant access to their mentor and can
observe classroom activity at any time.

We also use it for our two enrichment programs to strengthen curriculum
alignment at separate locations.

Classroom applications included a collaboration project between a school
here in Kenosha WI and a school in the Bahamas. One of our Library Media
Specialists taught in the Bahamas and communicated regularly back to her
home school and developed a series of cultural exchange connections. While
the Bahamian school only had the laptop, iSight and an external microphone-
our school projected the video on to a large screen and it really worked

I also know that during last year's Read Across America connections- I had
several requests for webcam connections which leads me to think webcam use
is indeed growing!

Now - the real issue with us was cross-platform webcam compatibility. While
our district is primarily Mac, I have found MANY browser based methods to
bridge that gap and I'd be THRILLED to share my findings with anyone that
needs it. (Maybe WE could then do a collaborative project??? I have 23K
students itching to use the technology!) My good friend and NECC
co-presenter Scott Merrick (University School- Nashville TN) and I have
tested quite a few. Mac and PC CAN play well together!

A request I received this morning from a teacher was "Can we show a video at
one school and show it to the connected school via iSight?" My response was-" let's get a copy of the video to the other school and just show it at the same time. "

Bottom line being- it isn't going to be the ideal situation all of the time-
BUT we have ways of making it work. Is it ALWAYS ideal to use webcams?
Probably not- HOWEVER- IF it's the only way we can make the connection- it
will work- and it will be awesome! Webcam technology gets better everyday as
well. There are great resources out there too for classroom-to- classroom
connections using webcams.

I welcome any requests, invites, questions and encourage you to contact me
if you're interested in any projects! AIM & iChat screename: kusdiva

Joan Roehre
Media Production and Distance Learning Facilitator


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