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Pedagogy & Videoconferencing Using new technologies in the classroom Using Videoconference Technologies Effectively in the Classroom Robert Gusnowski October.

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Presentation on theme: "Pedagogy & Videoconferencing Using new technologies in the classroom Using Videoconference Technologies Effectively in the Classroom Robert Gusnowski October."— Presentation transcript:

1 Pedagogy & Videoconferencing Using new technologies in the classroom Using Videoconference Technologies Effectively in the Classroom Robert Gusnowski October 2006 Buffalo Trail Public Schools

2 Good Teaching is Always Good Teaching In the simplest of terms technologies and classroom environments are always secondary The principles of Good Teaching remain fairly constant no matter what mode of delivery is being used

3 Loss versus Gain Some may view videoconferencing as a loss – i.e. they lose the presence of physical teacher in a classroom to a virtual teacher elsewhere The FACT, however, is that videoconferencing most often replaces paper based distance education The reality is that students participating in programs using videoconference technologies have far higher completion rate than students using traditional paper based distance education

4 A Look At Two Separate Parts Classroom management and the logistics of working with this new environment are one issue Second – what are the Exemplary Practices that can be used as a starting point for effective delivery of curriculum using these new technologies

5 Classroom Management Always start with planning One hour of planning saves three in execution…… Anonymous

6 Procedures For The Use Of Videoconferencing In The Classroom Establish rules, guidelines, and standards of behavior for videoconferencing sessions Prepare the audience for any new terminology that may used during the videoconference Create a timeline for the video conferencing session

7 Procedures For The Use Of Videoconferencing In The Classroom Determine the need and establish goals for the videoconference Learn the basic set up of the equipment and how to operate all sending and receiving equipment Learn the basic skills of using any related software or hardware such as Bridgeit, Smartboard, document camera, etc. Remember to smile and be yourself. Whether in person or on the screen you are still the same person and projecting the same self-image.

8 Classroom Management Issues and Videoconferencing There are many components to the classroom management issues in a regular classroom Videoconferencing plans should include management issues in the design of sessions Videoconferencing adds additional management issues because of the new and unfamiliar environment, the collaboration with others at a distance, the management of technology equipment, and the newness of the situation “Teachers should guide without dictating, and participate without dominating.” C.B. Neblette

9 Classroom Management Issues and Videoconferencing Classroom Management issues can often be mitigated by using these strategies: Preparation and delivery - allow more prep and delivery time, have materials ready, follow a schedule, and be flexible Development of videoconferencing plans with the collaborating team Working with student behaviors to have active roles in the videoconference session Working with technical support to mitigate technology problems

10 Classroom Management Issues and Videoconferencing  Make sure that the classroom is set-up to work for videoconferencing  Communication - display a clock to follow the timeline, display an image to identify each site, designate a spokesperson for each site, and plan ways to communicate offline between teaching partners and students (e-mail, chat, etc.)  Follow-up - make contact with teaching partners after the session to discuss the videoconferencing issues and solutions for the next encounter

11 Videoconferencing Etiquette Otherwise known as Netiquette in the networking world, these e-rules for behavior simply take common sense and modeling of appropriate behavior in all settings. These are a few guidelines to follow to make sure that all students are aware of the extra care that needs to be taken in a videoconferencing setting. Voice: Be sure that your speech is clear and loud enough to be heard Noise: Be aware that regular classroom noise must be kept at a minimum to insure that the far-end site can hear Interruptions: Plan ahead for interruptions and have a plan for how to handle them. Lighting: Be sure that all participants are able to be seen when on camera Body presence on camera: Be aware of camera placement and image you are projecting This is not all that different than what needs to be considered when in a traditional classroom.

12 Student Interaction strategies for videoconferencing Students who are practiced and comfortable with the videoconferencing environment will take the actual connected time more seriously if the roles and responsibilities during the conference are spelled out. It is important to make sure that all students have the experience of time in front of the camera prior to the videoconference. Experience in front of the camera will alleviate some of the behavior problems that can occur due to nervous energy and the discomfort of not knowing what is happening. Make the students active participants in the teaching process as opposed to passive listeners.

13 Student Interaction strategies for videoconferencing A few strategies and types of interactions that might be included in a videoconferencing situation are:  Student self introductions should be scheduled at the beginning of the session to get students talking to each other. Student lists with first names and personal profiles can be exchanged electronically before the session to stimulate interest in student partners  Question and answer periods should be included in the planning to stimulate conversation about the project  Pair students at one site with students from anotherto focus on the project with outlined areas for discussion. Students need a personal connection and reason to interact

14 Student Interaction strategies for videoconferencing  Plan for interaction with a sequence and student list of those participating in interactions for each scheduled session. Be sure all students are included in a planned interaction  Record student interaction instances with a checklist to make sure all are participating in free-flowing events  Follow-up with individual students to comment on interactions

15 Its All About Engagement It requires no research other than our own memories about being in school to recognize that engagement is key in the learning process When we – or students – are active engaged in anything we remember the event It is these moments – moments when we are engaged and acutely aware - that we remember In the classroom when students are actively engaged in an activity the maximum potential for learning is achieved As in a traditional classroom engagement has been identified as critical factor in terms of student success.

16 Instructional Approaches for Videoconferencing It all comes down to presentation and communication Good teaching techniques in any classroom translates to good teaching It is important to balance face-to-face interactions with the more anonymous interactions of cyberspace –The use of email, chat rooms, phone calls, etc. must be included as a means of allowing students to speak privately with the teacher and with each other It is important to develop inter-site group cohesiveness

17 Instructional Approaches for Videoconferencing Teaching is more than just “talk and chalk” – good program design should utilize all available resources: web/technology based, paper based and people based Technology is blurring the boundaries between what classroom education is and what education – as a whole – can be. Videoconferencing should be used to facilitate the best of distance and conventional teaching. Distance learning is normally associated with more class materials and better preparation of teaching materials. Conventional with lectures and face to face meetings. Video conferencing does not support open learning, students must still register and attend classes at pre-set times and progress at the pace established by the course.

18 Start With A Structured Plan It is vital to have a videoconferencing plan of events, or timeline, in order to maximize the use of the videoconferencing connection time. The plan can be a simple outline, a detailed chain of events, or an outlined step by step process. The additional challenges associated with delivering program and content to multiple sites makes planning a critical step in the teaching process. Trying to “wing it” or “make it up as you go” is not only not sound educational practice but rather a recipe for disaster when used in a videoconference environment.

19 Stick to the plan Whatever method is used, it is vital to develop the project/lesson plan with the videoconferencing partner in order to ensure smooth sessions during a videoconference. Have a plan, work the plan and, if necessary, adapt the plan. Start with the end in mind and have a clear roadmap of what, how and why.

20 What if technical problems arise? You may experience problems with the technology during a session. Bear in mind what you, and others, need to know in this eventuality make sure you know where to get help check that participants at the remote site know enough about using the technology for it to run smoothly make sure they know where to get help have the telephone number of the remote site you are contacting at hand in case your connection goes wrong Always have a plan “B”

21 What if technical problems arise? You should also - as much as reasonable - have some contingency plans in case the link does fail. Does it make sense to continue on audio channel only if that is still working? Is it possible to provide overheads or handouts to the facilitator at the remote end so that some useful work can continue? Can some of the work be done via bulletin boards or computer conferencing? If the session is critical, are there possibilities of rescheduling the session or delivering it conventionally? Always have a plan “B” - if in doubt have a plan “C”

22 Be adaptive and responsive As with any new technology, successful integration of video conferencing into existing activities requires attention to the needs of the people who will be using it The determination of what is acceptable and useful must be based on the reaction and comfort level of the end users In the case of simple point-to-point meetings, there is not a lot of new learning required for participants to successfully interact with each other as long as the video and audio quality do not interfere Care should be taken to ensure that participants feel they can see and hear each other clearly Work your plan!

23 Critical Factors for success Most projects have initial teething problems, sometimes with serious negative consequences for learning such as cancellation of courses. There must be a back up to established in case the technology fails! Prepare students to understand that this is new technology and that we are all learning and that things may go wrong. Admit there are special challenges in video conferencing Prepare students for the form of learning to be adopted during the course. Ask students to take some responsibility for their own learning Plan for a large amount of instructional preparation time (including running a pilot trial) if you have not used video conferencing before

24 Critical Factors for success Sessions should be well structured and defined with clear time constraints Allow each site to work by itself on various things and bring people back at a specified time and with a specified signal. Build site camaraderie as well as cross-site relationships Voice, animation, energy and enthusiasm are critical motivating factors in distance learning –These key factors are also critical in a traditional classroom Practice participation and involvement During each session ensure that there is a lot of opportunity to interact with others, either at the site or across sites. Individual reports, team reports, presentations and feedback etc. The nature of the technology and the environment necessitates that creating “presence” is of even greater importance than a traditional classroom. The end goal is to make the technology transparent – creating “presence” for both the teacher and students is what makes “what’s happening” in the classroom of greater importance than the technology being used.

25 This Really Is Important Enough to Repeat The nature of the technology and the environment necessitates that creating “presence” is of even greater importance than a traditional classroom. The end goal is to make the technology transparent – creating “presence” for both the teacher and students is what makes “what’s happening” in the classroom of greater importance than the technology being used.

26 3 Most Important VC Factors Identified By BTPS Teachers 1.Smartboard + Bridgit collaboration server 2.Sound quality 3.Picture quality Based on BTPS survey results, VC Teachers all seem to agree that the Smartboard and Bridgit collaboration server is perhaps the most important and critical factor when it comes to delivering curriculum.

27 Work cooperatively This is a new and evolving area in the world of education Share what you have learned and look to others for new ideas “You can observe a lot by just looking around.” Yogi Berra

28 The Journey “The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn't matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” Barbara Hall, Northern Exposure, Rosebud, 1993


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