Wow. Based on my successful experiences sharing some live webcasts over Ustream.tv a couple of weeks ago in Washington DC from the National Air and Space Museum sites, I am contemplating offering/facilitating a free virtual field trip (at least one but maybe more) from the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The memorial and accompanying museum is about three blocks away from where I work in downtown OKC. This afternoon I tested the 3G bandwidth available here in my office, and this was the result: Plenty of bandwidth for a webcast over Ustream.tv!

Bandwidth from downtown Oklahoma City on the AT&T 3G network 3_28_2008

Compare this downstream and upstream bandwidth to the bandwidth available in Watonga, Oklahoma, about an hour west-northwest of Oklahoma City earlier this week:

Now THIS is a SLOW internet connection...

What a difference 3G towers make! Here in Oklahoma City, installation of 3G was just completed this past November. I’m going to do some checking with a contact I know at the OKC memorial and museum next week, and if I can arrange for a docent to assist with this VFT. Then I’ll do a test connection from the memorial and setup some dates/times for this actual virtual field trip.

I think it would be good to work with some students and have them create a VoiceThread that provides some background about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the memorial, and the museum. The official memorial and museum website already includes several videos about the bombing and the memorial. Four videos are currently available on YouTube, including a walking tour of the memorial. These were posted to YouTube last month:

Oklahoma City National Memorial Walking Tour (Part 1)

Oklahoma City National Memorial Walking Tour (Part 2)

I am VERY enthused about this capability which is now realistic: Connecting students LIVE over the web in a virtual field trip, conducted on site using only a laptop, a cell network connection device, and an external camcorder. This was the functionality we needed in December 2007 in Pearl Harbor for the dedication ceremony of the USS Oklahoma, which followed our very successful “traditional” (H.323) videoconference using Tandberg equipment with survivors of the USS Oklahoma. That entire videoconference remains online in three different segments. At that time 3G network upgrades had not been made by AT&T in the Pearl Harbor area of Honolulu. We did try an available Verizon network connection, but the available bandwidth was insufficient to maintain a video connection using either iChat or Skype. I did not attempt a Ustream broadcast or connection from Pearl Harbor, but I probably should have. For some reason using Ustream did not occur to me then as an option.

Hopefully we’ll be able to make this happen from downtown Oklahoma City at the actual site of the memorial. The key is available 3G network bandwidth, and it appears that IS available here where we need it. The more difficult challenge, of course, will be working with school district technology administrators who may have ports and sites blocked on their school network preventing connectivity to a Ustream.tv broadcast. Events like this will hopefully provide additional reasons for school districts to embrace tiered content filtering and actually TRUST teachers on the school network more than kindergartners.

I’m enthused about these possibilities for mobile, live virtual field trip connections. 🙂

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  • Rainer

    …. I love Ustream but a friend showed me Mogulus …. you can do so much more there … amazing ….

  • I haven’t tried Mogulus. I’ll read up on it and check it out. Thanks.

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