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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Monthly Archives: January 2011

“The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honored us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.”
President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Here at Cooperating School Districts, the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis was able to honor the occasion by offering free videoconferences to elementary, middle and high school students entitled “Christa’s Lessons.”

Christa McAuliffe was one of seven crew members to perish that day; a teacher, she was set to conduct lessons from space to students on Earth. Today, Robert Powell of the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis is sharing some of those lessons to students across North America- we have connections in the St. Louis metro area, in Texas, California, New York, Ohio and Alberta, Canada.

The lost Challenger crew included Michael J. Smith, Commander Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair,  Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik.

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As a follow up to my earlier post, KSDK aired a story about the Holocaust survivors’ videconferences held yesterday by HEC-TV Live! Click on the image below to see the piece.

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Tim Gore from HEC-TV LIVE! interviewed Holocaust survivors Wednesday.

We had a group from Incarnate Word Academy view the HEC-TV LIVE! videoconference from Cooperating School Districts yesterday afternoon. The topic: interviewing survivors in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.  One student from a Missouri school asked a survivor being interviewed if he had ever seen Adolf Hitler in person, and he replied no, not in person. He shared he had heard Hitler on the radio and seen him in newsreels. He also said there was an occasion when Hitler was being driven down his street and the interviewee, just a child, hid from the motorcade.

What a great learning experience for the videoconference participants!

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The winning movies from the Show-Me a Movie Contest will be posted very soon to our SchoolTube channel: In the meantime, here’s a list of the movie titles, the teachers, and schools where the students attend (we have 64 winning students this year!). Congratulations!
Show Me a Challenge
Elementary: Green Town from Cordill-Mason Elementary, Blue Springs School District; Gail Bush, teacher
Middle School: Dangers of Texting from Francis Howell Middle School, Francis Howell School District; Molly LaVictoire, teacher
High School: Above the Influence from Joplin High School, Joplin School District; Bruce VanderHaar, teacher

Show Me a Story
Elementary: Warren’s 10-Year Anniversary, Warren Elementary, Francis Howell School District; Janet Nordemann, teacher
Middle School: Tale of Zombie Road, LaSalle Springs Middle School; Rebecca Schweizer, teacher
High School: Life Without Limbs, Bishop DeBourg High School, Archdiocese; Matt Bolger, teacher

Show Me Your Community
ElementaryHoops & Jump Rope for Heart, Warren Elementary, Francis Howell School District; Janet Nordemann, teacher
Middle School: Spooner’s: Eureka’s Gateway to the Best, LaSalle Springs Middle School; Rebecca Schweizer, teacher
High School: Show Me: The Corn Cob Pipe Factory, Washington High School, School District of Washington; Michelle Turner, teacher

Show Me Something New
Elementary: Fantastic Figurative Five, Willow Brook Elementary, Pattonville School District; Dawn Lynn, teacher
Middle School: How to Make Gooey Butter Cookies, Sperreng Middle School, Lindbergh School District; Laurice Badino, teacher
High School: How to Tell if a Guy Likes You, Bishop DeBourg High School, Archdiocese; Matt Bolger, teacher

Again, congrats to all the winners in the 2010 Show-Me a Movie digital storytelling contest! We had nearly 100 submissions total from schools in the St. Louis metro area and across the state! Thank you to all who participated in the contest this year. The judges had difficult decisions when judging the movies. Winning submissions will be screened at a special reception at the St. Charles Convention Center as part of the 2011 Midwest Education Technology Conference.

Also, a special thank you to the following companies and organizations for sponsoring the contest and/or contributing to the gift bags the students’ will receive: Tech4Learning, CIGNA, Cooperating School Districts, Holt Electrical Supplies, and KMOV Channel 4.  We appreciate your support of Missouri students’ film-making efforts!

To learn more about the Show-Me a Movie digital storytelling contest, visit Cooperating School Districts’ website or click on the image above.

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Transforming Learning with a SMART Board (Level 1 Training)
February 24 OR March 25 •  8:30 to 3:30
$149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(No  Graduate Credit Available)

The SMART Board is an interactive whiteboard that can improve the way you teach. Come learn how to use this technology tool in your classroom—no prior knowledge of SMART Boards required! This is a class for beginners with no prior knowledge of SMART Boards. Discover how to find and develop lesson plans that make use of this hands-on tool and motivate 21st century students.

Using SMART Response in the Classroom

March 18 •  8:30 to 3:30
$149 CSD member; $189 non-member (No  Graduate Credit Available)

What’s all the buzz about “clicker” systems in the classroom? SMART Response is an interactive response system combining handheld wireless remotes (or clickers), a receiver and powerful assessment software that allows you to create tests and manage, track, and evaluate the results. This system integrates seamlessly with the SMART Board, but must be purchased separately. Come learn how to set up formative and summative assessments for your students and obtain immediate results that can be used to guide instruction. Learn the basics of the h and software, how to set up a grade book, and practice creating assessments.

Creating SMART Board Lessons to Engage and Motivate Students
(Level 2 Training)
PREREQUISITE: Level 1 Training or equivalent; not a class for beginners
March 29
•  8:30 to 3:30
$149 CSD member; $189 non-member (One Graduate Credit Available)

Do you already have a SMART Board and consider yourself a user? This intermediate class is for you! Come learn some of the advanced features of the SMART Board and create lessons. Become adept at creating recordings of what you do on the SMART Board for future playback! Find out how to use the video player that comes with your SMART Board to annotate videos. Learn how to attach audio files to objects on the SMART Board, and how to save items that you use often and want to share to the My Content folder. We’ll show you how to find hundreds of lessons that have already been created for use on the SMART Board. You’ll be able to create your own usable lesson, either from scratch or by tweaking a downloaded lesson.

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Be sure to check out Cooperating School Districts‘ blog, Education Today.

The most recent post is about the upcoming Midwest Education Technology Conference. Lots of good info to know!

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Our TELE course Creating Multimedia Projects with Discovery Education streaming takes place February 1 & 2, from 4:00-7:00 each evening. Did you know that Discovery Education streaming has digital video, audio files, images, and more that can also be used in a variety of multimedia applications? Are you looking for a perfect, easy to do multimedia project? This fast-paced class is for you! Come discover ways to develop curriculum-based digital media projects with DE streaming resources. Student produced videos or digital media projects can empower students with the tools, skills and confidence to take creative control of their research and presentation projects. Teachers can provide engaging lessons by adding some creative multimedia to their lessons. Participants will work together and use DE streaming resources more effectively with free Web 2.0 applications like Glogster, VoiceThread, Photo Story, Animoto and more. Participants may also choose to use iMovie or Movie Maker to develop easy-to-use resources for more media rich lessons. Prerequisite: Bring a lesson idea and organize your DE streaming My Content with songs, images, video, and sound files that support your lesson. Participants should be familiar with one of the applications above. Costs: $149 CSD member; $189 non-member (one graduate credit is also available at additional fee).

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Stories of the Civil War: Lincoln Takes Office

Date:  February 10, 2011
Times: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. CDT or 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. CDT
Grade Levels: Morning program grades 4-8; Afternoon program grades 6-12
Cost:  NO CHARGE | Register:

Without a doubt, the Presidential election of 1860 was an historic one. America was living in turbulent times; the debate over slavery was constant and heated; the issue of states rights loomed large. Americans had a number of choices in this historic election, and the candidate that prevailed was Abraham Lincoln.

Who were the candidates of the election and how did people view them? What made Lincoln a galvanizing figure in such different ways for those in the North and those in the South? Why did southern and border states move so quickly to debate secession after his election? What would it have been like to be at those meetings, to hear the debates, to read the headlines daily?

This HEC-TV LIVE! videoconference will focus on the use of primary sources to explore the impact of Abraham Lincoln’s election as President on the start of America’s Civil War. What are the strengths and limitations of such sources? How do they shed a light on history that is different from secondary sources? What stories of people and institutions do they tell?  Students will have many opportunities to interact with the experts involved in the program as well as share ideas and ask questions of each other.

Students will also have many opportunities to interact with primary source documents that take them back in time to the people, places and perspectives of Americans in the winter of 1860-1861.  A highlighted focus of the program will be given to documents demonstrating Missouri as a microcosm of the explosive conversation being held all across the country.

The 10 a.m. Central Time program is targeted to students in grades 4
through 8. The 1 p.m. Central Time program is targeted to students in
grades 6 through 12. Register with

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Here’s a list of METC sessions for this year that will incorporate videoconferencing into the presentation:

  • Helping Kids Identify Their Future Career presented by Tabitha Kappeler-Hurley from Santa Clara Unified School District
  • K-12 Distance Learning @ Manhattan School of Music presented by Juliana Han from the Manhattan School of Music
  • Inspring Teachers’ Use of Curriculum Videoconferencing: What Works presented by Janine Lim from Berrien Regional Service Agency
  • Blended Learning for the 21st Century Classroom presented by Polycom’s Elaine Shuck and Amanda Stewart
  • Oh the Places You Will Go… presented by Debbie Alston and Shirley Boyd from Kileen Independent School District and Tech4Learning, respectively
  • “Virtually” Crossing Cultures in the Classroom presented by Global Nomads Group’s Tonya Muro Phillips

Of course, there are other sessions about videoconferencing, too, at the Midwest Education Technology Conference. Be sure to visit to see who is presenting, and when!

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Great information here from Janine Lim, Roxanne Glaser, and Shane Howard as part of their Talk Like a Techie series of blog posts!

How To Dial with a Polycom Remote

Posted on January 17, 2011 by Janine Lim

This post continues our 20 Day Challenge to understand the technical aspects of videoconferencing.

We have covered the larger issues of setting up and optimizing the network, using gatekeepers, and how to tell people to connect with you via a firewall traversal unit. This week, we are shifting our focus on when you pick up the remote to your endpoint and dial to another site.

Most parts of dialing are straight forward. Enter the numbers and connect. Sometimes, there is a hidden button or a function that changes and it isn’t explained on the official equipment documentation. We are going to share some things that we have learned over the year.

How to Dial

  • Press each number and be sure to enter the “.” after each octet. Dialing a video conference unit is different than dialing a phone, in that you don’t add any “punctuation” in a phone number, but you must on a video conference system.
  • Access the directory, if it is set up, and dial directly from there without entering any numbers.
  • To Dial an Alias: Dial the main IP address, add ## and then the number of the extension, alias, or room number.
  • If you dial an IP address and arrive at a screen and if there is audio, listen to what it is saying to you. Codian bridges are “talky” bridges and will present you with an entry queue or auto-attendant. You can navigate this screen by using the far end camera control on your remote and the the up and down arrow keys. When you arrive at the conference where you should be, press enter.

Polycom ViewStation: Quirk

Remember, when you enter the IP address into the dialing menu, you must enter the “.” between each octet.

  • Older ViewStation remotes had no dot button. You press the red, right arrow key while in the address box. That makes the dot.
  • The call/hangup button is green and does both functions.

Polycom VSX 7000: True Love

This could possibly be our favorite video conference remote of all time.

  • Separate call/end call buttons.
  • Dot button.
  • Separate near and far camera control buttons.
  • Color-coded buttons separating the camera and call functions. (This went away in the HDX remotes.)

Polycom HDX Systems: Tip

Polycom HDX systems came with an entirely new remote design. This design was not made with classroom functionality in mind. It was created to appear attractive in a conference room environment. It takes a bit of getting used to the different shaped buttons and some of the design takes precedence over functionality, in our experience. And it takes more batteries!

If you are accustomed to the Viewstation or the VSX line, those remotes will also work with the HDX line. The color coded buttons on the old remote design were user-friendly and easy to train users on.


Your Turn

Anything we missed? Can you remember when you first began dialing? What was hard to remember?

Team-written by Janine Lim, Shane Howard, and Roxanne Glaser. The opinions expressed in these posts are based on our collective video conference experience connecting classes across multiple networks to connect them to zoos, museums, experts and other classes during the past 10 years. This series of posts reflects our usage and understanding, not that of any vendor or manufacturer. No one is paying us to write these. We are just sharing what we have learned.

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