Since webcams and microphones are built into many newer computers, the possibility to connect classes in other cities or countries is greatly increased. Projecting these conferences or viewing info from a webcam on a Promethean Board gives opportunities for many opportunities in a class such as breaking down cultural barriers, speaking with native speakers, breaking down the walls of your classroom without having the expenses of a field trip. Here are some sites to explore.
Ideas for classroom activities:
  • Pair with another classroom to compare lifestyles and cultures through organized thematic units
  • Expanding literature circles - connect with another class reading the same book and/or with a class or people in the setting of the story.
  • Many museums have videoconferencing programs that connect classrooms with the artists, primary works, and museum experts.

Audio Recording

Video Conferencing

  1. Skype - http://www.skype.com - computers for free from and between anywhere in the world. It is possible to record the session but make sure to ask permission form all participants first.
  2. Tokbox - http://www.tokbox.com - this is simple video calling with your browser with nothing to download. Just share your link so your partneru classes can call you. Add your tokbox to a wiki, blog, or other social networking site. It is very easy but not fancy.
  3. Eyejot - http://eyejot.com - this is a tool for sending messages to students. Upload your class list, send an oral prompt to yur students, and let them reply. No webcam? Just use audio.
  4. VYEW - http://vyew.com - this is a free full fledge webinar tool. It allows whiteboarding, desktop sharing, and voice over IP. Great for small class discussions or online office hours!
  5. Google Hangouts - http://plus.google.com/hangouts - This is a Google+ alternative to Skype. This option works well if everyone has a google+ account. 10 people can be connected for a face-to-face video chat but there additional members that can watch the chat from their computers. Great for watching a keynote address at a conference or other presentation.
  6. For "less fancy" options check out iChat, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, and ooVoo
  7. Try these sites to connect classrooms with other classrooms, museums, cultural centers, and more.
    1. CILC - http://cilc.org - In addition to offering collaboration opportunities with their search feature, they will also connect teachers with museums, science centers, and cultural centers.
    2. ePals - http://www.epals.com - This site offers world language teachers the ability to find authentic language practice opportunities and meaningful project-based learning for their students. Create your own project or join existing projects on this site.
    3. Skype for education - https://education.skype.com/ - You'll find project-based initiatives across classrooms based on learning goals and projects. Educators join for free and post or search for projects. Both classes work together to make the projects what they want them to be.

Webcams

  1. http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech100.shtml
  2. http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/sites/sites081.shtml
  3. http://mashable.com/2010/05/05/webcam-feeds/
  4. http://www.aceonlineschools.com/30-cool-educational-webcams/