Video Conferencing Tips and Trips

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               Interactive Video Conferencing Tips and Trips
                                    CSU Chico, July 26, 2005
                    Presented by: Teresa Lightle, Butte County Office of Education
                                          tlightle@bcoe.org


What is IVC – Interactive Video Conferencing?
Video Conferencing is live interactive audio and video between two or more locations.

Why use Interactive Video Conferencing?
Interactive Video Conferencing allows access to opportunities:
        Which allow students to visit remote locations
        Which save travel time and expenses.
        To attend meetings, in-services and trainings
        To meet and confer with content experts
        To take virtual field trips
        Create Interactive student projects
        To share resources
        To attend professional development
        To access otherwise unavailable classes
Impact:
        Enhanced motivation for students
        Improved communication and presentation skills
        Increased connection with a wide range of resources
        Connections to a variety of social, cultural, and economic environments

What’s in a name?
The term “Video Conferencing” has been used to describe a wide variety of technologies. Here
are a few of the options.

     •    Interactive Video Conferencing
              o Allows people in two or more locations to see and hear each other. Presenters can
                 use computers to share information. Ability to interact in real time.
     •    Distance Learning
              o Presenter(s) presenting to one or more sites. The platform is usually used for
                 distribution of information. Can use same equipment as IVC.
     •    Virtual Field Trip
              o Can be live, but may not be interactive. Students access location via computer and
                 may log on to a pre recorded show or presenter.
     •    Web Cast
              o Uses a computer to access information, audience logs on to website for
                 demonstration. Audio is usually only received by the audience. Communication to
                 the presenter is usually chat or email. Used to dispense information to a large
                 group or audience.




Video Conferencing Tips and Trips                                      Teresa Lightle July 26, 2005
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What do I need to do Video Conferencing?
  1) For best performance, you will need a CODEC (Coder/Decoder or Compression
      Decompression Module). This unit translates the incoming and outgoing signal. There are
      a variety of CODEC Models available from a variety of sources. Below are examples of a
      few options:
    Company                 Model                      Visual               Street Price

Polycom                             Polycom V500                             $ 1999.00
                                    Small offices <4

                                                                             $ 4,000.00
Polycom                             Polycom VSX7000s
                                    Classroom up to 40


Tandberg                            Tandberg 3000 MXP                        $19,390.00 MSRP
                                    Classroom
                                                                             Dual 26” monitors



Tanberg                             Educator MXP
                                    Classroom                                $66,730.00 MSP
                                    Plasma


                   Purchasing Contact IVCI 1-800-224-7083 ask for educational pricing

     2) A VCR or DVD recorder, if you are using a commercial content provider, make sure you
        get appropriate authorization to record.
     3) Projection device such as an LCD Projector or television
     4) An additional television monitor for viewing multiple sites
     5) An Internet connection no less than T-1
     6) A Network Connection with a patch cable long enough to reach the CODEC
     7) A Plan

ERATE – If your school applies for Erate funding each year, the hardware for video
conferencing can be purchased with these funds. Talk to your Technology lead or principal to
ask about this option as equipment must be applied for well in advance.

What can I do, now that I have all this stuff?

Connect with content providers to enhance lesson plans, increase motivation access experts in a
particular field of study. Collaborate with other classrooms in CA, the U.S., and the World to
share ideas, facts, and question or access Distance Learning opportunities from a wide variety of
resources.


Video Conferencing Tips and Trips                                     Teresa Lightle July 26, 2005
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Examples of Content Providers:
HealthSpace - http://www.healthspacecleveland.org/
       Contact: Tom Bills

COSI Toldedo - http://www.cositoledo.org/p_idl.htm
      Contact: Andy Campbell
      campbell@cositoledo.org
      419-244-2674 x106

Museum of Television and Radio - http://www.mtr.org/
     Follow the links for Distance Learning

ARI – Aquatic Research Interactive, Inc – http://www.arii.org/Main/Main1.htm
      Jim Gentile – Director
      1100 West Columbus Drive
      Chicago, Indiana 46312
      (219) 391-4138

Resources for finding Content Providers:
SBC - Video Conferencing Directory
http://www.kn.sbc.com/wired/vidconf/directory.cfm

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration
http://www.cilc.org/

Vanderbuilt Virtual School
http://www.vanderbilt.edu/virtualschool/fallcat05.htm

TWICE
http://dl.remc11.k12.mi.us/programs01/FMPro?-db=programs01&-lay=Browse%20Programs&-
format=search.htm&-view

Cost
Many of the content providers charge a fee for their services. This fee usually to covers the cost
of the instructor and telecommunications costs to the organization sponsoring the event Fees
range from $50.00 to $250.00 for a 50 minute IVC (times do vary) . Be sure you get a contract in
writing prior to the event so you know exactly how much the event will cost. Most providers will
take a district purchase order.

Connections – It is important to understand the different types of connections and their
availability before arranging an IVC with a content provider.

Multiple Locations
The more expensive CODEC units allow up to 3 locations to be connected at one time. If you
wish to connect more than 3 locations, you will have to make arrangements with a County Office
of Education who has access to “Bridging Services.” The equipment, which allows this “bridge”
to happen, is very costly and only limited locations have this ability. Sacramento County Office
Video Conferencing Tips and Trips                                      Teresa Lightle July 26, 2005
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of Education, San Joaquin, and Imperial County to name a few. Over the next few months the
California High Speed Network will be implementing free IP based bridging services. Visit the
HSN web page for updates. www.k12hsn.org

IP to IP connection
IP (Internet Protocol) connections are the easiest to make, this method uses the California High
Speed Network Backbone via the Internet to make the connection. There are no additional line
charges. It is important to note that not all Content Providers support IP to IP connections. Some
content providers may have options, if the do, this is the best option.

ISDN
ISDN is still being used by many content providers. In order to do ISDN (content provider) to IP
(classroom) you will need to make arrangements again with one of the county offices of
education with a bridge capable of converting ISDN to IP. In addition, their will be additional
line charges similar to a long distance call in addition to any other fees charged by the Content
Provider.

PLANNING
Many teachers lay out their yearly lessons or units months in advance. The earlier you plan for
IVC the better it will be. You will have the best chance of scheduling the date and time that
works best with your lesson outlines. Many of the popular IVC’s fill up months ahead of time. If
you plan to study Oceanography in March, go ahead and get the IVC scheduled early, so it will
fit into the curriculum at the correct time.

Time
You may have noticed that many of the content providers are in the central or east coast of the
United States. This can become a little tricky when scheduling an IVC, as you will have to take
into account your class schedule in the west, vs. providers work day in the east, 4 hour time
difference. Most content providers are willing to make accommodations as long as they know in
advance.

A few days prior to the event, be sure to set up a time to test equipment and connections with
your Content Provider. This will help make event day less stressful and any little glitches still
have a chance to be worked out. Content providers do not charge extra for this test connection.

Class Preparation
Remember I is for Interactive; therefore, it is essential that teachers and students are well
prepared for the event. If the presentation focuses on curriculum already introduced, this will
help. If you will be doing this IVC as an introduction to a new topic, make sure the content
provider is aware, so they do not make assumption of the students.

It is important for the teacher to work with the content provider (usually via email or phone) to
clearly understand what will happen during the IVC. Providers truly want the IVC to be a
positive experience for both the students and the provider. Sometimes providers will send
equipment or have the expectation of the teacher to have certain supplies available on site.

If you want a specific area of study you want covered, make sure you share this with the
provider; I have found them to be quite flexible and cooperative.


Video Conferencing Tips and Trips                                       Teresa Lightle July 26, 2005
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If the presenter has send hand outs or materials, review them ahead of time, so you are prepared
to use them at the presenter’s request.

The Classroom Setup
Ask the presenter if one classroom arrangement or another is better. Example students sit on the
floor in a circle or students will sit at desks with one table in front of the room, you do not want
to waste you IVC time rearranging your classroom. If your classroom is next to the gym or band
room it may be best to find a different location as ambient noise can make it difficult to hear.

Most CODECS have an external microphone, be to sure the place the microphone in a central
location, so all student can be easily heard by the presenter.

Many content providers have limits on the number of students at each site, this is for a several
reasons:
        Limitations on materials
        Ease of classroom management
        Importance of including as many students as possible in the interaction
It may be tempting to invite other classes in to participate, but unless this is the intended
structure of the presentation and is authorized by the content provider, don’t.

The Students
For many of your students this may be a new experience. It is a good idea to rehearse what will
happen during the IVC with your class prior to the presentation including:
   • The location of the projection of the presenter
   • The importance of using a clear strong voice when speaking
   • Using a raised hands
   • Using a thumbs up and down for yes and no
   • If you have specific questions for the presenter, write them down ahead of time so you
       have the ready when asked.
Presenters do not know you students, so they will rely on the teacher to call on students to
answer questions and volunteer.

     •    Notify parents of your intent to do a video conference to gain support and their
          understanding of new technologies.

Review
To get the most out of your IVC, make sure you follow up after the event. You will find it is well
worth all of the time and preparation you have spent, when you can see positive learning results.

Other Web Sites Accessed
PolyCom links for Video Conferencing -
http://www.scrcpdl.org/images/Education%20Content%20Providers.pdf

IVC - http://www.cesa10.k12.wi.us/services/educational_technology/.field_trips.htm




Video Conferencing Tips and Trips                                        Teresa Lightle July 26, 2005