Monday, January 21, 2008

SEMTEC - Techspo - Video Conferencing witin SEMNET

Today I am attending the first annual SEMTEC Techspo at Stewartville HS in Stewartville, MN. Today I will be posting 5-6 entries about this event. The following are my notes from the first session I attended on Video Conferencing within SEMNET by Jen Hegna (tech coordinator) from Byron, MN (my own comments in italics):

  • This technology allows classrooms to connect with other classrooms via digital video.
  • It allows you to share not only video from a camera but also computer or video screens.
  • It appears you connect via phone calls much like Skype
  • ASL so far has been the fastest growing and most popular video classes.
  • Professional development - teachers can take classes from UofM or St. Cloud State in the evenings
  • Socrates started in 1984 - Socrates is a network of video conferencing schools that began in northern MN.
  • 4 schools can share an account
  • They are looking at integrating streaming technology so it can be used on screen in a lab setting.
  • SEMNET has not yet started offering classes
  • Could be hooked up to LCD projector and viewed on the SMARTboard. Very mobile, unlike ITV.
  • Contact OET to hook up.
  • I don't see the advantage to this as opposed to using a free service like Skype other than the ability to share VHS or DVD.
  • I think this technology is best left to other districts to develop before Goodhue jumps on board. I don't think it is cost effective for us right now.
  • More info:
  • The advantage to this over Skype is quality of service. Skype can be slow if the network bandwidth is bogged down.
  • The technology is the easy part - the hard part is making the connections and establishing the collaborations.

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