A few weeks before Christmas, I watched and blogged Dr. Z’s (Leigh Zeitz) webinar for ISTE on web 2.0 tools. Dr. Z mentioned Skype as a videoconferencing tool in the classroom, which can be used to bring in virtual guest speakers. I asked him during the webinar if he knew of any online directories for K-12 teachers to use wanting guest speakers, similar to the MERLOT Virtual Speaker’s Bureau for higher education. He said at the time he didn’t know of any, but would check. I blogged about using MERLOT to find virtual guest speakers back in September, and Rod Lucier started soliciting entries for a K-12 speaker’s directory on December 1st.
Many thanks to Dr. Z and Angela for sharing this link, and Dan Froelich for creating it!
ePals continues to be one of the best resources I know of for finding other classroom teachers with whom to collaborate on different projects, and does have an advanced search option to restrict a search only to classrooms with audio/voice software access.
The Skype in Schools wiki is the first resource I’ve seen to date which is explicitly focused on serving as a virtual guest speaker networking site for K-12 educators. Do you know of other sites which have this focus?
The CILC’s Collaboration Center permits keyword searches for active collaborations.
A search with the keyword “skype” yields just six collaborations as of 1/3/2009, however. One is Tammy Parks’ “Journalism 2.0” project, involving students in Howe, Oklahoma. The focus of the project is interviewing speakers virtually over H.323 video, Skype, or iChat:
Small, rural school Broadcast Journalism program in SE Oklahoma seeking interviews via distance. Mode of connectivity ranging from iChat, Skype, H.323, etc. Has a student(s) in your classroom received recognition for a class project? Do you know an interesting character? Does your town have a unique story? Tear down those four walls in your classroom and join my students for an interview session for our student-created newscast. We can only interview our Principal so many times, give Mr. C a break from the cameras and tell us YOUR stories! Still not convinced? Let’s discuss what Nat’l/State Standards this collaboration 2.0 project will meet for your lesson plans!
If you’re interested in having your students participate in a videoconference during the Jan-May 2009 school term, get in touch with Tammy!
I hope we’ll see more organizations step up and provide directories for virtual guest speakers, as more folks in the business world outside of education obtain webcams and microphones on their computers. What a great “service learning” opportunity for business men and women, and others in various career fields: Spending a few minutes connecting virtually to a classroom and sharing perceptions and ideas with students as a virtual guest speaker! If a large company or organization would setup, maintain and promote a virtual guest speaker directory like this, I think it would be WONDERFUL resource for classroom teachers seeking virtual connections for students!
The highlight of my presentation “Global Voices – Using Synchronous and Asynchronous VOIP Applications for Worldwide Classroom Collaborations” at the NCCE conference in Seattle last February was a short, impromptu videoconference with Dr. Scott McLeod, who happened to be in Mumbai, India, at the time:
Hopefully, in the next 5 – 10 years, international videoconference connections like this will be common rather than rare occurrences in our classrooms.
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- Podcast298: An Interview on Manitoba Morning Radio with Darren Kuropatwa about Numeracy, Literacy, Student Summary Blogging, Digital Learning and the K-12 Online Conference - 2009
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