Video Conferencing

Another common tool for distance learning and collaboration is instructional videoconferencing (IVC). MISD has an IVC system on each of its campuses, so availability is not an issue. Let’s look at a few examples of how the IVC system could be used in conjunction with the ELA curriculum.

1. In the Third Grade ELA curriculum (2nd 9 weeks), one of the foci is on “Cultures, Analyzing Characters.” This provides ample grounds for utilizing IVC to bring your students together with a class from another part of the country/world. Any work that you choose could be the subject of the IVC session(s). Once you have decided upon a work and delineated the goal of the collaboration, the MISD Educational Technology Department would find a partner for you. It is best to allow at least two weeks lead time to secure a partner (a month is better).

Here is how it could proceed: You select a novel/story with an outcome project based on character analysis and cultural differences – the project could be a PowerPoint presentation, an oral presentation, or a poster with accompanying oral description. Then, you would inform the MISD EdTech Department who would then find a partner school. Once your partner is selected, you would proceed through your unit and prepare your students for the culminating IVC session(s) where they would share their project with another class. During the entire process, you will need to be in contact with your partnering teacher to insure that your outcomes are compatible and that time is used effectively (the EdTech Department can assist with this).

It is recommended that, during the course of the selected project, the students on each end collaborate with one another through e-mail, blogs, wikis, or good old snail mail. You could organize the collaborating students in individual pairs or groups, but it is important that you, as the teacher, keep control of the communications to avoid any missteps. The culminating IVC session would consist or students sharing their projects back and forth.

2. Another possible IVC session(s) could focus on the analysis of poetry, its elements, or dramatic interpretation of a poem. Here is a template that you could use for a poetry slam: As you can see, this could also be modified for other genre of literature as well as any other aspect of a particular work (character analysis or cultural differences, to name two). This type of IVC session provides many opportunities for writing, speaking, presentation, and project construction.

An IVC session(s) is a powerful tool that your students can use to explore your assignment as well as the way others see the same topic with a different flair.