ICT Items

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Video conferencing at Abbotsleigh

Video Conferencing: helping students become global citizens

Simon Ware & Warwick Noble from Abbotsleigh
4 (!) full time ICT integrators
(private girls’ school in Sydney)

WN wanted to ensure that it would not be equipment that sat in a cupboard and/or seem really difficult to use.

Initial aim was to have 12 VC in the first year. Actually had 44! This is due to having ICT integrators who do their job FULL TIME.
Some dedicated spaces, but also has some mobile use. the aim is to bring the VC to wherever the learning is happening.
They also use it for meetings and for proof of global presence as a school, as global school.

Costs of VC? The school covers this under the software budget for the school. This could be a solution for us, or perhaps getting the students to bring in  or 2 dollars, demoing on the size of the class.

VC creates ‘just in time’ learning opportunities.  
VC is more dynamic than watching video

Many universities have ‘Cinderella’ collections; they sit unused in a room, but professors can create a presentation for the students around it. Does Vic, Otago, AUT have something like this?

VC is better than Skype because it creates a better immersive experience for students.
Abbotsleigh have been recording their VC; can we? Then we should make the VC available online on Moodle?  
Can set up more than one screen, so you can have a VC and PowerPoint going at once.

Sign up to Capspace. You create a profile, like FB, and can put out requests for help.
Twice  and CILC are available through Polycom
Some other ones operate like listservs and will send you email alerts.
If you can’t find what you need, ask. Ask a university, company, etc. Often they have VC equipment that isn’t used much, but are happy to sort something out.

VC is being used at the upper end here. It’s more like an enrichment, rather than as it’s being used in NSW (Breakout 3).

Ways used:
Virtual excursions
Talk to experts
National & international collaborations
Professional development opportunities
Inter-campus communication (because their campus is split by a freeway)    

Virtual Excursions
Penn Museum
6th Floor Museum (JFK>
Sheffield Museum (Canada)
Nicholson Museum
Scott Base, Antarctica

Talk to experts
Physics & astronomy (big bang)
Health and nutrition
Authenticity of the Bible
Careers Fair (had women in different careers presenting via VC)
Holocaust survivors (in USA)
Literary festival 

St Lorraine language exchange (speaking to classes in other country)
Read Around the Planet (global literacy initiative)
Social Justice

Community of practitioners (could have school to school sharing for LOOP schools?)
Teacher Librarian conference
Development Office Fundraising
IT Managers meetings
K-12 team meetings

1 must be authentic learning experience
2 prepare your students
3 students should come to session with questions
4 if there are questions, email them to presenters
5 time zone convertors are your best friend (ask the presenters when is best for them too.)
6 do a test call before the actual conference, week before, etc.
7 don’t need to fill whole lesson
8 know your tech tip and tricks, and who to call if things go wrong)
9 come prepared, bring your laptop and mobile, just in case.
Possible to have synchronous sound. Could we expand this for music?
Very important to prep the people presenting the VC as well as the students.


October 7, 2010 Posted by | Video conferencing | , | Leave a comment

Video conferencing Part 3

This last section is about how to find VC or virtual events.

The Smithsonian Institute has virtual events. (Pretty neat!)

Or you can search for “virtual events”. Or you can register with CLIC. Or you can go to the Polycom content providers website. Or you could contact authors.

Some other places to look for events are
Virtual Learning Network (VLN);
Te Papa;
Collaborations Around the Planet (CAP);
Content Providers Database (CPDB);

Other things that are possible are connections with sister or brother schools in other countries or meetings with other LOOP members.

Some things to remember:

TIME ZONES. The best time for VC to the States is the morning; for the UK, early, before school or late, after school; for Asia, remember the 4-5 hour difference; for Australia, not really an issue.

If you are showing websites, show only one part at a time and zoom in so everyone can see it.

If you want to have a multiple-site VC between LOOP schools, you can all go via KAREN bridge. 0800 63 525 is the number for the Polycom engineers help desk, or you can email them at vcsupport@as net.co.nz. You’ll need the PIN number for the virtual meeting room.

For Schoolzone schools, the ones already with Polycom, email VC support or ring the 0800 number.

If you are linking multiple KAREN schools or Schoolzone schools AND KAREN schools, then it will be more complicated.

Enjoy these additional learning opportunities, and leave a comment if you go to a virtual event!

March 9, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Video conferencing Part 2

You can display the information on the screen of your PC or laptop during a video conference.

You will need:

  • a network connection to show stuff from the T drive or the school network
  • the data projector-type cable to link to the Polycom box (black box near the screen).

Once you are hooked up, use Fn + F4 or F5, as usual, to change the display to the big screen and your laptop/PC.

Important buttons:

  • The Content button (looks like a bunch of dots on a computer screen) starts and stops the sending of content
  • The Display button (looks like a screen with three quarters blacked out and  a small lighter rectangle in the lower left corner)
  • Home button – this one looks like a little house.  By using this one, you can change into or out of dual screen emulation.

Changing in to/out of Dual Screen Emulation:

  1. Push the Home button
  2. Highlight System and enter (the center of the arrows)
  3. It will ask for a password.  Use the Display Onscreen Keyboard button to get a keyboard – looks like a keyboard.
  4. Go to Admin settings
  5. Go to Monitor
  6. Go to Monitor again.
  7. Tick the box for Dual Monitor Emulation (Dual Screen Emulation).

Display button makes changes.  You can choose the most natural setting for the lesson/session context.

Press Content again to get rid of PC screen at end of session.

Note: the Display settings (such as Dual Screen) do not change the way things are displayed at the other end (Far).

March 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Video Conferencing 1 March 2010 – Part 1

On Monday, Alex and I went to the training session for the new video conferencing equipment.  Here are my rough notes on the session.

Best practice:

  1. Introduce yourselves and state your role.
  2. Ask if they can hear you.
  3. Be aware of what’s behind you in the shot.

Using presets:

  • Use arrows and zoom to locate person
  • Press number and hold until Preset # Stored shows on screen; press numbers in quick succession, holding on second number to store, if it’s a double digit.  Press-PRESSSS.
  • Go for midshot.
  • Watch headspace and background.
  • Aim to look like a TV presenter – front on to the camera, well-framed shot of yourself.
  • Group shot should always be Preset 0.
  • Use group shot (#0) for beginning and ending and ‘listening’ shots.
  • Don’t include any unnecessary info in the shot.
  • Can preset to something you want to ‘show’ during the lesson – like an experiment or show and tell item.
  • Everyone in the room MUST be in the group shot.  Otherwise – it’s considered rude.

TIPS for Presets:

  1. Create your presets BEFORE the session starts.
  2. These stay ‘forever’ until they are re-set.
  3. Presets can be changed by overwriting them.
  4. Can set up VC presets and leave them, if the furniture never gets moved.
  5. There are 0-99 presets.
  6. Presets can be changed on the fly.
  7. Purpose of presets is to make everyone/everything look as good as possible.

TIP: Eyeball to eyeball is done by looking into the CAMERA, not at the screen.

TIP: Can set it up so the camera shows school logo when someone dials in, so you can have privacy.  No one can ‘barge in’ on a conversation.  System automatically sets sound at MUTE when you dial someone, or they dial you.

TIP: Avoid putting acetate over things you are going to show as the glare makes it difficult to see.


The microphone is a very powerful microphone.  It can even pick up pen clicking and will tend to focus on that, rather than other noises, so try to keep other noises to a minimum.

  • Ignore it
  • Respect it.

TIPS for Microphone:

  1. Mute it, THEN move it.  Don’t drag it while live.
  2. Can be muted from controller OR microphone.


WGC is in the Managed Schools Directory, as are many schools across NZ.

To dial up a source, click on Directory.  The organisations show as green when available, and grey, if not.

You can also text in the name, either by using the controller like a mobile phone or by using the arrows to move from letter to letter, like the PS3.  After you get to the letter, you must press the ‘Enter’ button in the middle of the arrows.

Once you have found the person/organisation, push the green Dial button.

The protocol for dialling is to set up the meeting beforehand.  It isn’t like ringing your mate (not yet, anyway!)  They need to know that you are dialling.

NOTE: the system remembers the last place you dialled, so re-connecting to them is quick and easy.

TIP: when you do something on your end, talk it through, so that the other party knows what you are doing.  They cannot always see your screen.

TOP TIP! When in doubt, NEAR gets you out.  This is the blue button, directly above the MUTE button on the controller.

March 2, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment