Archive for the 'Virtual Field Trip' Category

Videoconferencing and Standards: Content Providers or Teachers

videoconferencing

I recently read some information that teachers feel that their students benefit from videoconferencing since there are standards. Content providers usually provide a standard (or standards) for each videoconference. I’ve looked at the standards supplied by various content providers and I’ve noticed that usually the providers do not supply a specific subcomponent of the standard. The providers indicate the standard at its most general level. My biggest objection is that the content providers are supplying the standard and not the classroom teacher.

The classroom teachers should be selecting content providers’ programs based on the subcomponents of the standards that they want their students to achieve. The classroom teachers should be verifying that the activities in the videoconference lead the students to the highest level of thinking in the standard subcomponent. The classroom teachers should make sure that assessment of the standard subcomponent is included in the videoconference or very soon after the videoconference. Classroom teachers should not leave standards-based learning to a videoconference content provider.

How do help your videoconference content provider to meet your standards-based learning?

Videoconferencing Effectiveness: Thrill or Learning?

zoo

In the USA Today article “Schools become virtual zoos” (Aug. 2, 2007, 6D), a teacher comments “I think it was really effective.” and another teacher says, “It is a wonderful experience.” Students respond with “Cool!” and “Neat!” The article was obviously a pro-virtual learning article.

However, no teacher mentioned that the students actually learned anything related to state standards. No teacher mentioned any activity that their students did to demonstrate their learning from the zoo visit. Is the focus of these videoconferences the thrill of seeing animals or the specific standards-based learning with measurable outcomes? Did the teachers select these videoconferences to improve the learning of their students or to give them a “great experience”? How closely does this virtual zoo visit match the teachers’ actual standards-based curriculum?

Virtual field trips can be wonderful educational experiences if the teachers’ standards-based curriculum determines the selection of the field trip, the learning outcomes of the trip, and the evaluation of the students’ learning.

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Videoconference- Not very Distant and Not very Educational

Videoconference global range

A friend emailed me about a “humorous” situation with the videoconferencing machines in his district. He can dial any school within the district since those addressed have been pre-installed in the videoconference machines. He can only dial out to another non-district school when another teacher gives him her IP address. He cannot have other classes dial in. He has been told it will take hours to enable the dial-in feature. Apparently he is only to videoconference within the district, he should forget “distance learning”. Furthermore, he was told that he should only attempt a videoconference when a technician is there.

The question is who has the “control” in this situation? The teacher? The technician? The teacher probably will not want to pursue videoconferencing if it is such a hassle. On the other hand, the district is screaming because these expensive videoconferencing carts are not being used by the teachers.

Does the technology and technicians in your district support your educational learning experiences or do they serve as roadblocks? Can you quickly and easily set up and use your school’s videoconferencing unit or is it kept under lock and key? Can you videoconference with a school any place in the world or are you forced into videoconferencingly only within your own district?

© Harry Grover Tuttle, 2007

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Promoting or Discouraging Global Citizens (Multiculturalism) through Virtual Field Trips & VideoConferencing:

CultureSimilarDifferentPositiveNegative

Two days ago I mentioned being at a virtual field trip. The students began to laugh and mock out a person who was chanting a prayer to Pele. The person was very demonstrative in saying the prayer in the native language.

The virtual field trip planners probably did not think that viewing students would have an adverse reaction to this culture. However, the students viewed this person as different and negative, a combination that does not usually contribute to being accepting of other cultures. The planners could have found similar examples in mainland USA such as a Native American Shaman praying, a Jewish cantor, a Muslim at prayer time, Wicca priestess “praying”, etc.

The virtual field trip planners did not plan ahead and therefore these students had a negative reaction to this cultural event. The students became less of global citizens by participating in the virtual field trip; they become more of “aren’t these other people weird” citizens.

How do you prepare your students to encounter another culture? Do they “leave” the virtual field trip or videoconference with a positive or negative attitude toward that culture?  Even if the cultural item, people, or event is different and negative, how do you help them to see it in another light? How can you show its similarity and how positive it is?

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Videoconferencing and Learning: Candy or Carrots



Candy or Carrots

Sweets or nutrition

Melting in mouth or crunching and chewing

Instant pleasure or body nurturing over time

Sugar high or slowly building up


Do educators see videoconferencing as candy or carrots?


I’m been researching articles and websites for some chapters I’m writing on videoconferencing. I found tons of candy: “My students really enjoyed it”, “They liked seeing the elephants”, and “My students learned a lot about videoconferencing.”


Only a few of the articles and websites even mention the carrots of learning. Occasionally, there are questions like “Did this videoconference meet your educational goals?” There are many general statements like “My student learned so much!” The detail or proof is very sketchy. “We predicted what would happen.” Did someone check each student’s prediction or did some students volunteer? Was a whole group assessment done?


Do educators in your educational institution use videoconferencing as candy or carrots?


How can you decide? Assessment is the key.


Do your educators assess the learning from the videoconference immediately or the next few days?


Do your educators have students do follow up performance tasks based on the videoconferencing? Do they assess those tasks?


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