Eric Langhorst, an 8th Grade US History teacher in Liberty, Missouri, and the 2007/2008 Missouri State Teacher of the Year, is the author of one of my favorite educational podcasts. Last month, Eric posted a great podcast about his use of Google Videoconferencing (a relatively new feature of Google Chat in GMail) to bring a virtual guest speaker into his classroom in Liberty, “Using Google Video Chat to Visit the National Constitution Center.” This seven and a half minute video posted to YouTube shows an excerpt of one of these videoconferences with National Constitutional Center Education Director, Eli Lesser.
Way to go Eric! This was not only a great learning opportunity for your students via videoconferencing, it’s also a great example of modeling via blogging, podcasting, and YouTube video posting! Take a look at the video to virtually flashback to December 5, 2008, in Liberty, Missouri AND Philadelphia! 🙂
Have you given Google Video Chat a try yet? If so, what have been your impressions and experiences so far, especially as they may compare to Skype, iChat, or traditional H.323 videoconferencing?
If you want to use Google for videoconferencing, here are the instructions from Google cited by Verne Kopytoff:
Open a Gmail chat window, click on the “Options” menu at the bottom, and choose “Add voice/video chat,” which will walk you through a one-time installation of a free plug-in (a quick 2 MB download). Then you re-open Gmail you’ll notice your “Options” link in your chat window has changed to “Video & more”. Open this menu and click “Start video chat” to see and hear your partner in high-quality video. You can pop out the video and change its size and position, or switch to full screen.
You can also visit http://mail.google.com/videochat to install the client-side application and get started.
As I last point, I will re-blog Eric’s encouragement to US history teachers and others interested in the history of the US Constitution to “to sign up for the National Constitution Center educator newsletter to stay informed about all upcoming activities and events.”
If you found this video and idea for using Google video chat in the classroom valuable, I’d also encourage you to visit and leave a comment on Eric’s blog post about this event. 🙂
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