With eleven different videoconference units within the school division, there is great opportunity to collaborate and connect virtually with other classrooms within and outside of PSD. How does a teacher get started, understand the possible uses, and what organizations are delivering sound educational distance learning opportunities?
1) If your school has a VC unit, find out how to use it and if it or the classroom needs to be booked out. If your school does not have a VC unit, feel free to connect with another school or book the Centre for Ed Board room.
2) Do a test run of the set up and call out to another site. This can be done with another school or via Darhyn (I.T.) or Leah (Director, Learning Services).
3) Knowing what kinds of organizations offer distance learning sessions is important. Take time to view the 27+ listed on the PSDtechPD – VCpage.
4) Possible uses: PD of staff, collaborating with another peer group, creating dialogue between foreign language students, holding a global ‘show, tell and critical thinking’ session, speaking with international experts, sharing experiences with peers from a different culture, discovering alternative views about current events, learn about remote environments on earth and out in space, etc.
5) Establish what kind of VC you are going to be a part of: point-to-point, multi-point, student project, basic collaboration and how does this fit into your curriculum?
6) Contact the organization(s) and set up your meeting time(s).
7) It’s also a good thing to send a HELPdesk ticket ahead of time with the dial-in information, date and time of the event so that Darhyn can ensure that you VC experience will be as smooth as possible.
8) Share your experiences – have students blog their thoughts, connect with their VC counterpart in real-time on a collaborative workspace, put it in the school newsletter or on the school website.
Once you participate in ONE videoconference session, you will certainly be looking for future opportunities for your students. To keep on top of opportunities sign up for the 2Learn VCRLN listserv as 2Learn provides a wide variety of VC events and activities throughout the school year for both students and teachers.