Thursday, March 24, 2005

Video Conferencing - hailing in the year 2005

This may be my first post on video conferencing in education, but it certainly won't be my last.

I grew-up in a seriously geeky family - shocking I know - that sat around and watched Star Trek- The Next Generation at the dinner table. We are officially receiving a hail and putting it on the big screen.

Video conferencing is currently my little pet project (although blogging may soon replace it :) As you can probable tell, I am a big proponent of technology in education - but only when it actually IMPROVES the educational experience.

I see video conferencing as a way that we can bring students together that may not have the opportunity to otherwise. Students from rural areas are getting to meet "city folk" and discovering that they are not that different - and vice versa. Pre-service teachers are observing classrooms and discussing student and teacher behavior. Collaborations are jumping up all over the place from researchers, to faculty, to businessmen and women. A new communication boom is coming and we need to be ready for it.

But yet it goes farther than that. There are programs like Megaconference and Megaconference Jr. that bring students and educators from all over the globe together to learn about new technologies, or share information about their homeland. We have finally gotten to the point where these virtual meetings are not only possible but probable.

There is a good deal of technology available for video conferencing - from the $50 to the $5000 variety all of which have their positive and negatives. I have given a few presentations on this topic (recently at NCAECT), but Wesley Freyer covers it indepthly in his recent article for "Technology & Learning" which he references in his blog. He was also nice enough to mention myself and some of the webpages I have worked on in his most recent post.

I hope to talk more on the subject soon. I have a few trials with a Middle school coming up so cross your fingers.


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