Friday, 31 October 2008

IOW Conference: Video-conferencing With Flashmeeting-John Warwick

John Warwick’s background is Science/Chemistry but his present educational focus is ICT and e-learning. He is also an eTwinning ambassador, which has provided him with many opportunities to explore the possibilities of flashmeeting as a tool to connect schools globally.

· Flashmeeting is a video-conferencing tools that is free for educational purposes.

· The aim of video-conferencing is to set up live interactions between groups of people or individuals. It is however possible to record sessions on a webcam and send them to partners if synchronous communication via flashmeeting is not possible.

· It is worth remembering that a professional set-up will only work well if the video-conferencing partner has equipment of similar quality.

· Another alternative is an intermediate set-up where a webcam is used with specialist computer software (PVX)

· The advantage of flashmeeting is that it is free to use and that you only need to invest in a webcam (from £25)

· The video confererences are private-by invitation- only, which makes this activity safe and secure.

Students could be talking about/ comparing:
· Hobbies
· Local environment
· Food
· Topical issues

Staff could use flashmeeting for:
· Organizing international projects (planning meetings)
· Languages INSET
· Friendships
· Preparing visits abroad/ exchanges
· Setting up penpals schemes
· Record a session and send it to the partner school

The webcam image can also be projected onto an Interactive WhiteBoard or a whiteboard using a digital projector. The quality of the image is not always of high standards but the linking in itself is a great way to motivate students. As only one person can talk at any one time, students must take turn and this is also a great way to focus on oracy.

Flashmeeting can support languages projects/ tasters e.g. Kent primaries who do Chinese are using flashmeeting to link with Chinese school.

The sound quality can be improved by having an external microphone and the sessions are also recordable, although this function can also be disabled. Parental consent may be needed to be able to share the link to the recorded session.

When used within a class/ a group, video recording can be used:
· To develop students’ AfL skills (with teacher or FLA, for instance)
· To help with KS2/KS3 transition projects: mini language lessons from Y7-9 to Y4-6? (lunchtime clubs?)
· To support enrichment projects e.g. Sharing cultural differences about Christmas
=> Gains in students’ self-confidence and improvement of self-image as a language learners.

More research about flashmeeting links here.

Setting up a meeting
Authorised user to book and input date, time and duration of the meeting. More than one person/ school can be invited. Each computer is ONE station. The guests then receive a url to click on to join the flashmeeting. Bookings are always done using UK time.

Meetings can be :

*Recorded or not
*Syndicated or not
*Included in a powerpoint presentation to share parts of a meeting

You need to be a registered user to be able to book your own meetings and invite other people.

Online tips and hints are available here and here.

1 comment:

videoconference said...

nice post...it is good to know that nowadays, there are a lot of people using this technology....