By Edward Steinhauser
Use video conferencing to create authentic, real-world situations for your students. There is so much more educators can do when we expand learning beyond our four walls, bringing the world to our students and our students to the world.
Here are some ways you can use video conferencing for the classroom:
- Common Assessments: Partner with another class and create a common assessment. Instead of having your students present their work to your class, have them video conference the partner class and now students have a new audience with new perspectives they can use to evaluate the work.
- Virtual Review Sessions: Students are busy and it is often hard for all of them to go to a before school, lunch or after school review session when they have other obligations like clubs and sports. However, review sessions are important and help students process the information further before their assessment. Why not hold virtual review sessions? For example, tell your students you will hold a review session from 7PM-8PM on freeconferencall.com and with up to 1000 users able to join for free, all your students definitely will be able to participate.
- Virtual Office Hours: Similar to review sessions, sometimes it’s hard for students to get to your room to ask you the question they need to when they are super busy. Tell your students you are available for help for a set time and they can join and leave the meeting whenever necessary.
- Guest Speakers: As educators, we are expected to help our students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in college and a career in the 21st Part of this process is bringing in industry experts to share how the classroom experience will prepare them for life after school. However, not all industry experts are able to physically come to your classroom or spend the entire day in your room if you teach multiple classes. With video conferencing, you can bring the guest speaker in virtually. Plus, with video recording, you can record the session and share the video with your other classes so that everyone gets to hear the valuable information.
- Virtual Parent/Teacher Conferences: Sometimes, parents’ schedules make it hard for them to come and meet with the teacher even though they very much care about the academic success of their child. Using video conferencing you can hold a virtual parent/teacher conference at the convenience of both parties. Even if neither of you are near a computer, you can use the phone app and have the discussion both parties want to have which will ultimately support the student.
For the brave of heart: Video conferencing can be used to assess your students even if you can't make it to class. My flight home from Washington D.C. was canceled, and I could not push back my sub plans for another day due to our pacing. So, I decided to video conference with my class by having my sub join the meeting on the laptop connected to the projector. The laptop was then turned to face the students presenting their work so that I could see them and the class could see me on the projected screen. It was a great experience for all of us and was a fun way for me to assess the students and for the students to present their work in a new way.
Video conferencing allows us to tear down the four walls of the classroom and create new learning opportunities. Use FreeConferenceCall.com to be creative, take risks, and help your students develop those 21st Century skills.
*This post was written by a guest blogger. Edward Steinhauser is the Ed-Tech Coordinator at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California.