Yesterday after school I met with nine teachers to learn about using our Macs for communicating in our schools, across the county, and around the world.
We explored every function of iChat, from the basic text chat, to file transfers, video conferencing, and screen sharing. We spent quite some time discussing how lucky we are that the leadership here in Goochland treats us like professionals and allows us to use this powerful tool. The teachers were appalled to hear there are many, many school districts that disable this feature.
Next we covered what to do if we needed to communicate with someone who doesn’t have access to iChat. All the teachers downloaded and installed Skype, and created an account. I was able to demonstrate how great this tool is when, just a few seconds after launching the application, my “phone” rang and we were able to see and hear my cousin who lives in Cali, Colombia. He didn’t realize I was still at school when he saw me come online. He chatted with the teachers for a few minutes, so it was a very welcome interruption that served as the perfect demo for the product.
We finished our session by brainstorming ideas for taking advantage of video conferencing in the classroom. From bringing in experts to sharing work with other classrooms, the possibilities are out there. We all agreed that Classroom 2.0 would be a great place to find educators willing to partner with us to collaborate globally using video conferencing, blogs, wikis, Google Apps, and many other tools we have at our disposal in our schools.