I was just thinking about the term collaboration. It is such an important aspect of the 21st Century Classroom dynamics. I have to admit that so far I have limited my thinking to implementing collaboration within groups in a classroom. Today, I came to realize that since we are truly a global community with awesome communication tools, how can we extend the collaboration to include resources outside of our classrooms, buildings and districts?
Two words came to mind instantly: Skype and iChat. These two tools allow for chat, audio and video communication anywhere in the world. Skype is free and iChat requires membership. But they are both robust in their ability to bring communication down to a click and connect metaphor. Why not use them? My grand daughter is in an AVerAcademy classroom and was home from school last week with the flu. She found Ms. Downey's Skype address and Skyped into class. Ms. Downey was gracious enough to allow her to participate via video/audio in a portion of the day. That seems rather minor and self effacing, but thinking of the potential opened quite a few ideas.
Why not use these tools for group project research? OK....many schools do not have cameras and microphones on their classroom computers. But then comes the epiphany: your AVerMedia doc cam is also a web cam! Microphones are extremely inexpensive devices that can be purchased at any Best Buy or other electronic stores for $10! Why not start using this part of the solution to bring in other classes, teachers, scientists, doctors, nutritionists, etc. into our projects?
In fact, I have been using Skype to answer questions and offer help to some of you! Using the screen share feature allows me to control your computer to show how to do some things within the AVer+ software. Imagine what we can learn and share with the rest of the world if we use all of the potential of our solutions!!!
I know you are absorbed in learning the new software and how it works with both the doc cam and the pens.....but I am offering up the challenge to push a little further. Who will pick up the gauntlet and share their experience using the doc cam as a web cam?
Can't wait to hear and share in those experiences!!!! Also, I am ready, able and very willing to participate in your trials. Please call on me for help and advice if you need it. But I also know that you all are some of the most creative and technically astute educators in the country, so lets give it a shot!
My Skype name is: tompisano1
My iChat name is: email@example.com
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lets do this thing!