Framing a Video Conferencing Session

Types of Video Conferencing

1. Web IP Based

  • These systems are free to use.You can download their client from the web and get started right away.
  • Skype, Oovoo, Google Chat, ichat,
  • Koowy, VYEW - No software required.

2. Multi-Point Video Conferencing

  • These systems allow for multiple people to connect. They also work by sending email invites. Users can share their desktop in order to display powerpoint presentations, images or any other file.
    • Elluminate, - Free for Educators at Educators can sign up for a free account and have access to Elluminate for up to 3 simultaneous users.
    • Vidyo - Provided to us from Verizon. After installing the software users can send invites and create private video conferencing sessions. Users can share their desktop. This system can connect to any type of system including room systems.
    • VyEw

3. Room Systems

  • Room systems are best for point to point video conferencing. Both parties must have the same type of system. These systems can range from $10K to $100K.
  • Our district has 2 of these systems and access to a private pipe from Verizon
  • Ex: Polycom

Integration Ideas

School to School or Classroom to Classroom

  1. Find a class to connect with.
    1. Skype in Schools Network -
    2. Around the World with 80 Schools -
    3. Epals -
    4. Directory of NJ Schools -
    5. Skype for Educators Directory -

Skype with an Author

  1. Skype With An Author Tour -

  1. Skype with an Author Network -

  1. Authors who do 20 Minute Skype sessions for free. -

  1. Setting up a book club and finding authors to Skype with -

Connect with a Guest Speaker or Any Subject Area Expert

  1. Historians
  2. Professionals
  3. Museums
  4. Zoos
  5. Scientists

Take a Virtual Field Trip with Experts in the field

  1. Volcano
  2. Rain forest
  3. History Museum

Practice World Language
  1. The Mixxer -

Broadcast an event, Readers Theater Skit or any other presentation for those who can not attend.


Activate Prior Knowledge
Familiarize yourself with the geographic location, language, culture, age group etc..
Familiarize yourself with the author or subject area expert.

Graphic Organizers

A list of printable organizers can be found here

Google Maps -

  • Find the location on the map. Use street views if available.
  • Mark the location on the map and save the map. This map can be embedded and linked on your website for future reference. Each time you visit a new location you mark the spot.

Google Earth Tour

Job and Roles

(These activities adapted from Silvia Tolisano - - Download the PDF Here

Before the Video Conference

  1. Collaboration Coordinator - Contacts the video conference partner and sets up the appointment
  2. Calendar - Adds the event to the class calendar
  3. Google Earth - Finds the location of the Skype Partner and Measures the distance in miles and kilometers
  4. Google Maps - Adds a placemark of the video conference partner to the map.

During the Video Conference

  1. Greet - Greets the partner school and makes initial introduction.
  2. Share - Shares something special about the school, city, state or country. This could be a song, a dance, souvenir, project, sports team etc..
  3. Q&A - Asks specific questions for data collection. This may be multiple students. It is sometimes best to have room in front of the screen for the groups of students to come up to.
  4. Photographer - Responsible for documenting still images.
  5. Videographer - Responsible for documenting connection with video
  6. Back Channel Writers - Documenting the conversation, questions, answers and classroom happenings during the connection.
  7. Blogger -Skype - Live blogs the Skype connection on classroom blog
  8. Elapsed Time - Responsible for noting the time the call started and ended as well as calculating the elapsed time.

After the Call

  1. Photographer - Saves and organizes the images. Collaborates with Blogger to add them to the class blog.
  2. Videographer - Collaborates to create a video documentary
  3. Back Channel Cleanup - Save the backchannel chat to a Google Doc. Clean up duplicate comments. Shares Google doc with teachers and classmates.
  4. Blogger - Collaborates with photographer to embed digital images.
  5. Blogger Word Problem - Creates a Math word problem fromm data, questions, answers.
  6. Google Earth - Takes a screenshot from Google earth and provides that to blogger.
  7. Data Entry - Responsible for entering data collected into embedded Google Form on class website/blog. Ex: Distance in Miles/KM, Temperature etc..

Post Call Activities

  1. Debrief right after the session. Go through the notes or back channel log and make additions.
  2. Gather and talk about the data collected.
  3. Develop a digital story about the call or a photo slide show
  4. Students may write journal entries or blog entries that reflect on the event.
  5. The teacher may post a discussion on a blog and allow the students to comment about it.
  6. Students may produce a podcast that discusses the event and what they have learned.
  7. Students may present what they have learned to another class, parents or the school.

Getting Started with Skype

Skype -

  • Register for a free account.
  • The username you select will be the one that other schools use to connect to you.
  • Load the software on your computer.
  • You can have more than one account.

Add the person you are going to SKYPE with to your contacts. Accept any invites from contacts you will connect with as well.
Skype Help Documents - These are very easy to follow online help documents.


Sample Wiki's and Blogs

Student Blogs and Publishing
  • Kidblog - Create and Manage Blogs for Each of Your Students -
  • Blogger - Create blogs for each of your students using our google apps accounts.
  • Wikispaces - Create a Class Wiki for free. You can create accounts for each of your students.