K-12 and Classroom Specific Needs
When might you use videoconferencing in your classroom?
described in the beginning of the Cookbook, videoconferencing is a medium that enables the exchange of
external/remote information in a real-time, sensory rich (audio and video),
interactive (two-way) mode. Though the term conferencing is considered to be the quality of human-to-human
interaction, it is worth reminding ourselves that videoconferencing can also
be used to connect people with remote data, events, places and objects in
is also a tool for enhancing, improving, or even enabling communication and
teaching capabilities. Improving and enabling teaching capabilities includes
being able to see and demonstrate what would otherwise be hindered by geographic
separation. As an example, enhancing communication in educational settings
may involve serving the needs of teachers needing to communicate with a variety
of people resources (i.e. faculty, other teachers, content experts). The
use of technology (videoconferencing) does not exclude
traditional methods nor does
it replace teachers. You cannot replace the quality of face-to-face mentoring
but you can enhance it with videoconferencing. The ability to overcome
distance and, to some extent, time is what expands our capacity to communicate
When should you use videoconferencing? When
it improves or enhances traditional methods, is cost effective, and/or it
improves the capacity for teaching and learning.
We provide three categories
- If it provides more and/or more appropriate
information: it brings sensory
rich (condensed), authentic information that can be effectively used
to advance learning.
Example: moving images bring condensed information about certain
subject sand therefore can be far more effective than textual information
in many (but not all!) cases. Viewing a video of a biology experiment being
conducted at a remote site is more effective than reading about the same
experiment and trying to visualize the entire process. Having interactive
access to those who are doing the experiment is richer yet again.
- If it is more motivating and engaging for learners:
even if videoconferencing is used only for the fraction of entire learning
time, it has the potential to energize learners and motivate them in their
seeing and talking to the scientists or students from other classrooms even
for only 10 minutes, can have great impact on the rest of the class and students'
- If it is the only (practical) way to achieve
some teaching and learning goals:
it brings remote people and events to the classroom in sensory rich fashion;
this may be the only way we can bring much needed and missing expertise.
This is especially true when using a multidisciplinary approach to explain
certain subjects - a technique that is very fruitful, yet extremely demanding
on teachers whose daily work is already overloaded with numerous requirements.
videoconferencing may be the only way to bring in the expertise for squid
dissection and guide students through their own hands-on experience. Another
example is access to hazardous areas - with videoconferencing, students could
talk to a vulcanologist that may be standing right next to the live and brewing