Videoconferencing: Outside the Four Walls of the Classroom


I’m proofing a book chapter on videoconferencing that I wrote in Nov. As I re-read it, I am amazed about how little videoconferencing is actually used in the P-12 area. I know of a school district where every school has one or two videoconferencing carts. Yet,this year there has been only a handful of conferences in the whole district.

Why do teachers not want to videoconferences with others? Why do they not want to use the expertise of other teachers? Why do they not want to be the expert for others? Why do they not want their students to learn from students in other locations? Why do they not want their students to act globally?

In one school, I demonstrated videoconferencing with two live videoconferences that related directly to their English Language Arts curriculum. Has anyone used it? No!

Videoconferencing is one of the easiest technologies to use- dial their IP and connect. Probably teachers do not using it since it is an outside-the-class approach. The four walls of the classroom are visibly blown away by videoconferences. A class can just as easily videoconference with another school in the district as a classroom on the other side of the globe. A teacher’s book knowledge confronts real world knowledge.

How have you used videoconferencing this year?


© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007


3 Responses to “Videoconferencing: Outside the Four Walls of the Classroom”

  1. 1 Lauren June 15, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    While this isn’t answering the question of how I have used it b/c I’m at a University where we are using it very differently than the pk-12 group would, I have a feeling I know why they aren’t using it.

    The difficulty is most likely not the technology nor the lack of interest in bringing in outsiders to their classrooms. It is the overwhelming thought of making the appropriate connections and building a solid plan for how it is fully integrated into ones curriculum. The exchange must be a meaningful one that doesn’t just start and stop when the conference is taking place. It must be greater than that it and it must add on-going value in a way that the current curriculum is not doing. The technology shouldn’t be used just because it is there it should be used because it adds something that isn’t there.
    Developing the pedagogy around that is no small task and teachers don’t often have the time to really think outside of the box long enough to develop that sort of a meaningful approach.

    What they need more than a demo is dedicated time to look at their curriculum, find where it needs enhancement, opportunity to make the outside connections and organized plan for how and when the meeting(s) would take place, make sure that it is meeting learning objectives and a way to assess whether or not the experience in fact added value.

    Just my $.02 having once been a 7-12 teacher before the proliferation of desktop videoconferencing.

  2. 2 amy December 4, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    […]This crazy modern world gives us lots of ways to get together, without boarding an airplane… from
    fancy video conferencing, to free conference calling and Skype, it’s all good.
    Sony Video Conferencing Sytem

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