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Videoconferencing---connecting students to content area experts and classrooms from different continents through the use of synchronous discussion tools like Skype (http://www.skype.com)---is becoming an increasingly common feature in the 21st Century classroom.  To make the most of videoconferences, teachers must introduce students to a set of skills that are not always necessary in traditional classrooms. 


The tools and resources on this page can help teachers to structure meaningful learning experiences with videoconferences.



Learning More about Classroom Videoconferencing



Videoconferencing is often a strategy that is brand new to many teachers, and the greatest barrier to introducing videoconferencing in classrooms can be simply imagining what kinds of activities are possible when teachers embrace tools like Skype in their instruction.  This handout contains six resources divided into two categories---Finding Classroom Partners and Sources for Studying Videoconferencing---that may just help teachers take the first step towards making classroom videoconferencing a regular part of the learning experiences in their rooms. 



Teacher Videoconference Checklist



This checklist walks teachers through the common technical, procedural and pedagogical concerns that must be addressed before a videconference can be successful. 



Student Videoconference Checklist



Preparing students to host their own videoconference sessions requires a different set of skills and behaviors than those expected of classroom teachers.  This checklist walks students through the process of preparing for a Skype videoconference. 



Tracking Your Videoconference



Successful student participation in videoconferences with experts or classes from other continents depends on structured before, during and after conference activities.  This handout includes a series of questions that focus students on the kinds of thinking that should take place during each stage of videoconference participation.  




Conversation Role Play Activity



Any conversation---whether it takes place in person or online---requires a certain set of skills to navigate successfully.  Participants must learn how to draw out quiet participants and to deal with those who dominate the direction of the dialogue.  Participants must learn how good questions can move a conversation forward and what to do when inaccurate information is brought to the collective table.  This set of role plays can help the students in your classroom to learn a bit more about the kinds of conversation behaviors that matter. 



Skype Skills to Master Tipsheet



Skype---one of the most widely used free videoconferencing tools in schools---is approachable and easy to use.  There are, however, several basic skills that students must master before they will be able to carry out videoconferences without extensive teacher support.  This tipsheet introduces students to some of those basic skills. 



Reflecting on Digital Conversations



Digital conversations are inherently different than face-to-face conversations...even for children who've grown up connected!  This handout is designed to encourage students to carefully reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of digital conversations. 

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