Friday, May 22, 2009

Videoconferencing Opportunities

I attended a day-long Videoconference Showcase at IU 6 recently and had an opportunity to participate in videoconferences from several different venues. I will paste my notes below. Please excuse the lack of complete sentences and other grammatical niceties!

Check out the links for more info and to see lists of available activities. Also, if you are interested in participating in any of these videoconferences in the future, let me know. Please note that some are free and some charge a fee. Many send out classroom materials prior to the videoconference.

Mariners Museum

Man’s interaction with the sea
Web content, activities to download, quizzes—try to provide whole package
Programs for every age group

Pirates—difference between what literature and Hollywood have taught us about pirates; program tries to dispel myths; schools use when reading Treasure Island; can be geared to K-12
Civil War—museum is repository for artifacts being brought up by USS Monitor that went down in Hampton Roads area; Monitor vs. Virginia (ironclad); end of wooden war ships; deadliest day for US Navy before Pearl Harbor; web content on their web site; also do beginnings of CW
Native Americans in Mid-Atlantic Region—younger elementary students--tools they used; weapons; canoes; roles of men, women, children;
Sailing into Thanksgiving—K & 1—Pilgrims and Mayflower; 1st Thanksgiving
They send kit so kids can make their own Mayflowers!
Big Winds, Big Waves, Science of Hurricanes—4th through lower HS grades; what is necessary for hurricanes to form; use satellite imagery and other graphics; will follow a certain storm
Life at Sea Program—life at sea during 19th Century; sailors’ jobs, tools, artwork; Why were they going to sea? Why did they go out to hunt whales?
Titanic program—3rd grade through HS--talk about classes of people; communication tools of the time; events of the time the Titanic went down; legacy of the Titanic; why are we still talking about it?
Captive Passage program—older elem through HS—difficult topic to talk about—explanation between African and western concepts of slavery; cramped conditions on ship; what slaves did when arrived in Americas as opposed to the Caribbean area or S. America; Use primary source documents
Age of Exploration—spices, What did the early explorers find? Upper elementary through HS; map study
Chemistry of Conservation—currently developing and testing
Chesapeake Bay
Most are $100; some are $75
Usually 1 hour long
757-591-7748 to book a program or visit web site or

Library of Congress
Geared toward professional development for teachers; not programs for students
Teacher’s Page:

Under resources:
Videoconference workshops:
America’s Library—for kids
Everyday Mysteries--science
Images on Popular Topics—groups of photos on a variety of topics so teacher doesn’t have to go out and find them!
Lesson Plans
Portals to the World: Links to resources from around the world
Thematic Resources—links to resources arranged by themes:
Webcasts for Teachers—recordings of presentations at the Library of Congress, selected for teachers:
Young Reader’s Toolkit:

Links at top of page:
Ask a Librarian—form to inquire about programs or workshops
Digital Collections—links to all digital resources

Taking the Mystery out of Copyright—for kids:


Hardware Demo—Kevin Simmons
Polycom introduced software (People Plus Content—free download) to allow to share content from laptop over the videoconference
Try to make setup simple so anyone can use without tech staff help
Set up presets

To use Scopia Desktop:
  • Reserve space on IU 5 bridge—contact Ken Pruitt or Kevin Simmons
  • Gives the capability of joining videoconference without the videoconferencing equipment.
  • About same quality as using Polycom.
  • Can only connect to videoconference happening on the bridge. Can’t use if it’s a point-to-point videoconference (two parties only)
  • Might possibly be able to use at elementary school without hauling equipment over.
  • Always do a test first! Schedule two times on bridge so can test prior to videoconference

Carnegie Museum of Natural History
Rocks and Minerals
Presenter offered a workshop on rocks and minerals. Showed several rocks/minerals and talked about them.

Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum
Great presentation! We did sample activities from their “Slime Time and States of Matter” and “Fractions Interactions” programs.

Videoconference Databases for list

Cleveland Museum of Art

Arielle Levine—presenter; alevine[at]

All programs include handouts and/or other materials that are sent ahead of time
Book with at least a 2-week lead; longer for 2nd semester and end of school year

Pricing--$135 for most (45 min-1 hr); We get at $120 since we are Magpi members.
$75 for those for younger children (30 min)
$165 for those presented in a foreign language

A sampling of offerings:
Math Connections in Art—4 sessions—focus on art of Chuck Close; He uses math and grid system in his art; students then do a project—do self-portrait using grid system. (Like our art students do in 8th grade with Mr. Carrow)

Tessellation Exploration!
One session
Look at tessellations from around the world
A type of closed repeating pattern—all patterns must interlock
Show artwork from around the world to demonstrate tessellations

Origami Program
Math program that uses origami and other artwork that relates to math

Harlem Renaissance—popular with language arts and social studies programs
Study African-American artists from Harlem in the 1920’s and 30’s

A is for Animal (K-1)
A is for Apple, A is for Art (k-1)

Gods and Heroes programs—popular with high schools, esp. from Greece and Rome

Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration
—resource for video conferencing programs. Cleveland Museum of Art uses for their bookings.

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