Classroom Management






Sample Assignment for "An Arctic Year" Web Site

Videoconferencing Resources


This guidebook was written to help teachers and others who are delivering or are planning to deliver courses through videoconferencing. It is intended to be a practical guide and the information and tips in it are gathered from the authors' eight years of videoconference education experience. It should be remembered while reading this guide that each situation is different and that the comments, observations, and recommendations in it are the result of those experiences, which will have some similarities to your experience, but will not be exactly the same.

To be successful in providing videoconference education, you will need to have the following qualities: be passionate and enthusiastic about educating your students; believe in the possibilities of videoconferencing while being aware of its limitations; be flexible; and be prepared to push the envelope, which always means putting in lots of time and thought. Preparation for a videoconference class takes anywhere from three to 10 times as much time as for a traditional class. Please use this guide in the spirit in which it is offered--a sharing of our experiences and lessons learned.

We have used videoconferencing for eight years while working for the North Slope Borough School District (NSBSD), which is located on the Arctic coastal plain of Alaska and is approximately 88,000 square miles in size (just slightly smaller than the state of Oregon). NSBSD contains eight villages (200 to 4,500 population). Secondary schools range in size from 10 to 250 students. Because of the small number of staff at each school, secondary teachers become generalists who teach many subjects outside their area of certification.

Because of these factors the district needed to improve the equity of course offerings for the smaller schools, increase the ability of students and staff to interact with people outside of their villages in order to increase collaboration and support, to promote a greater feeling of district cohesiveness, and to provide more high-quality staff development opportunities for all district staff.

The greatest challenge for the staff and the school district was not keeping the network going and upgraded, but rather in learning what the new opportunities were and how to use them to improve the education of their students. As with any new "tool," a lot of experimental play, question asking, getting technical instruction, and reading guides took place while learning how the system worked. There was also lots of trial and error and lots of impatience, both by people who did not believe in the system and by those who did. Through it all we learned much about what didn't work for us as well as the processes involved in developing successful education programs using technology.

Although this guide shares what we learned about videoconferencing in this district's technology program, it was not written to be a blueprint for your program. Rather it is meant to help you develop a program appropriate to your needs.

We hope you will find this guidebook useful and that it helps you deliver passionate, enthusiastic, and quality interactive education to your students.

Susan Mason and Mike Davis
EduLynx, Inc.
February, 2000


Copyright ©2000 Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

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