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The Connected Classroom

Information on and from EducationPlus' Learning Division

Tag Archives: Skype

Teachers just like you are doing amazing things through distance learning, providing their students experiences that are far beyond what’s possible in the classroom.  flickr creative commons

The EducationPlus Distance Learning Academy will equip you with the knowledge and tools to make amazing experiences  come to life for your students! St. Louis area teachers have connected their students to the rainforests of Borneo and to the underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef. Where will you take your students?

In the three day academy this summer, you’ll learn about e-learning, online projects and videoconferencing using tools like Polycom, Cisco, Skype, Google and LifeSize.  You’ll also learn how to effectively use other collaborative technologies such as Google Docs, blogs and wikis.  As you collaboratively work on projects over distance learning you’ll develop a Personal Learning Network that will be valuable in your teaching.

Learn more about dates, fees, and graduate credit opportunities by visit our online registration calendar.

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Today in her Using Digital Portfolios to Collect & Evaluate Student Work workshop, Stephanie Madlinger connected briefly via Skype to high school English teacher Nicholas Provenzano, who holds a Masters Degree in Educational Technology from Central Michigan University. He discussed with the St. Louis participants at Cooperating School Districts how he uses Web 2.0 to encourage student writing- citing Google Apps, Blogger and Evernote as his favorites. Visit Flickr to see more shots from the full-day workshop.

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New Links for Your Classroom with Videoconferencing & Skype   
Monday, June 4 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Find out how to take your students anywhere in the world to connect with experts and collaborate with other students- all without leaving your classroom! You can make these connections using distance learning technology tools like Skype and videoconferencing. During this full-day workshop, we’ll compare & contrast different methods of delivery. And you never know who… or where… we’ll connect! This professional development session costs $149 for CSD members; $189 for non-members. (New Links members, ask how you can take this workshop for free!) Graduate credit is available for those who opt to participate. Register for any tele workshop here.

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Here’s a list of the first few workshops we are offering this summer at Cooperating School Districts’ tele. A complete list of May & June sessions is currently up at, as are more complete descriptions of the workshops listed below.

Using Prezi to Create Zooming Presentations
June 1  12:30-3:30pm  $75 CSD member; $89 non-member
(No Credit) Did you know that Prezi is a web-based presentation application & storytelling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides? Text, videos and other objects are placed on the infinite canvas & grouped together. Learn how the canvas allows users to create non-linear presentations, where users can zoom in and out of a visual map. You’ll see how your Prezi can be developed in a browser window, and then downloaded so that no Internet connection is needed when sharing your presentation.

New Links for Your Classroom with Videoconferencing & Skype   
June 4 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.     $149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(1  Grad Credit Available) Find out how to take your students anywhere in the world to connect with experts and collaborate with other students- all without leaving your classroom! You can make these connections using distance learning technology tools like Skype and videoconferencing. Compare & contrast different methods of delivery during this workshop.

NEW! Digital Age Leadership: A New Paradigm for Learning
June 5 
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.     $149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(1  Grad Credit Available) How can we meet the needs of today’s learner, use technology effectively and efficiently, and still maintain the personal connection that’s so important to any learning experience? You’ll learn about managing change, using authentic student engagement strategies, and communicating effectively with education stakeholders. Technology tools used will include, but are not limited to, Google Forms for data gathering and analyzing, learning management systems (like Moodle), social bookmarking, and wikis, blogs, podcasts, videoconferencing, plus social media.

Transforming Learning with a Promethean ActivBoard (Level 1)   
June 5   8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.   $149 CSD member; $189 non-member
(No Credit) Learn how to use the Promethean ActivBoard and the ActivInspire software in your classroom- you’ll discover how to locate hundreds of lessons that have already been created for use on the ActivBoard and become familiar with features such as Focus tools, Power tools and the Resource Browser that make your lessons more interactive.

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Here’s a new great program from author/illustrator Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. Based in New Mexico, though originally from Missouri, Jenny Sue has come to Cooperating School Districts to videoconference a couple of times during visits home. She will now be offering author visits over Skype- at no cost! (So in a way, it’s same, same, but different)!

Jenny Sue’s Skype sessions will run 30 minutes, live from her home-studio in the southwest. Her preferred day of delivery is Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon Mountain time (one hour behind the Central time zone). During the fall, Jenny Sue will be traveling quite a bit (including to St. Louis, we’ll update you events she will be attending!) She will be available to conduct these sessions between October 3-7th; most of November, and the first half of December.

Prior to the Skype connection, participating classrooms should have read and be familiar with her book(s) and to let the author know if they want a specific one read/discussed. Another option is for Jenny Sue to read her new book, Same, Same but Different. Teachers and students can have a few questions prepared to ask.

Though the half-hour sessions will be catered to the age group participating,  here’s the general breakdown on the connection:

  • Hello! Introductions & Questions for students.
  • A studio tour. Jenny Sue will pan the camera and show them where she work and what her studio is like: painting and writing space, and looking at bookshelves and some of her favorite books.
  • She will briefly discuss how she researches and uses her tools.
  • Jenny Sue will read one of her books and then share about her process — asking participating classes questions about how they think she does each part and share her research, sketchbooks, how she create illustrations (paint, collage, and more).
  • She will also share how she integrates personal ideas into illustrations, and how to work editors.
  • Wrap up: answer any questions students have.

If you have questions, or would like to book a session with Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw over Skype, contact Rebecca Morrison at Cooperating School Districts: Please note there limited dates and times for this free program. Sign up early!

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Is your understanding of distance learning a little unclear?

Distance Learning consists of many technology facets, allowing for a variety of learning opportunities including e-Learning, online projects, and videoconferencing.

You are invited to participate in the Distance Learning Academy. This multi-session academy is an extension of the New Links program offered by the Virtual Learning Center of Cooperating School Districts.

In this year-long academy (which starts October 12th), participants will learn and experience methods of hybrid learning while also collaborating on projects with other classes. To learn more, click here.

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Midwest Education Technology Conference (#METC) 2012 proposals are due by August 30th – have you submitted yours yet? The Virtual Learning Center and the METC advisory committee are looking for presentations for all of the conference strands, but especially right now, we’re looking for sessions on distance learning- videoconferencing in particular!

Remember, the 2012 theme is Motivate, Engage, Transform, Connect  = Innovate – what better way to explore those ideas than to present about videoconferencing?

Videoconferencing falls under the Virtual Teaching & Learning strand. This strand focuses on teaching & learning online. The target audience is classroom teachers and leaders interested in using online resources, library media specialists, professional development directors, and communications directors.

For videoconferncing sessions, we’re looking for usage in different methods: H.323, SIP, Skype, Apple, Google, etc. What do you use in your district? What has worked? What hasn’t? Share your stories! Keep in mind, too, you can present over VC if need be! To submit a proposal to the Midwest Education Technology conference, visit

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Here’s a blog post I wrote a few years ago about my job; it’s largely accurate as of July 2011, though my work has expanded to connecting classes via Skype as well as H323 videoconferences.  I also conduct PD on videoconferences for educators. (There are a a few more things as well, but you’ll have to wait until next week for that!)

The New Links program is evolving; we’re going to publish our new membership tiers next week. We’re hoping the changes we’ve made will help our schools even more with connecting students over distance learning.

what I do, part II posted Monday, September 22, 2008

Note: I originally posted this to the blog in August 2007; the information is still current, so for those new to the blog (and maybe not going back a year + for entries), this is for you!

Trying to explain my job to people can be complicated. Somedays, I wish I could just say, “I’m a nurse” – people would nod, understand, and the conversation would move on. When I tell people about my work- “I’m videoconference coordinator, I bring educational programs into schools” I get sort of an eye squint or head tilt and then “oh” from people. There are two groups- those who know about v/c and have participated in one, or those who have no idea of what a v/c is and what it can bring (to classrooms). Then when I start talking about content providers, people either perk up or tune out- too much lingo!

My job as videoconference coordinator is to help teachers find content that will enrich their curriculum. I’ve connected to everything from knee replacement surgery for high school students to zoos and baby animals for kindergarteners. Math, history, current events- covered. Human anatomy, music education, test prep- been there, done that. Authors in St. Louis come to my office and connect to classrooms across the country- in our “backyard” or several states away.

It’s pretty neat to watch it all take place. It is also amusing to see a teacher quickly step out of camera shot (”bad hair day!”) and then see her first grade students immediately understand the the man in the TV can in fact see them, and is talking to them, even though he is not in the same place.

We’re always looking for other classrooms and experts to connect to for videoconferences! Members of New Links, you can contact me and ask me to find videoconferences for you on topics you’re covering in class. On Tuesday, I’m connecting some high school psychology classes to a chiropractor (content provider) in St. Louis to talk about the mind/body connection. It should be a really good presentation. Don’t be afraid to ask!

If you want info on New Links, visit here. If you’d like to be added to our e-mail list to learn about distance learning opportunities, e-mail me and let me know. A great place to look up videoconferences is I encourage you to check it out!

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“A powerful tool in the Skype educational arsenal is group video calling which can easily be activated by the “Add People” button. Essentially, this allows up to ten individuals or classes from anywhere in the world to be on the screen at the same time.” To read the rest of the post from, and to see a multipoint Skype call in action, click on this link.

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This is interesting- Comcast has partnered with Skype, (which recently purchased by Microsoft), to offer the service for televisions later this year. To read more about this, visit  (Since last year, Skype-enabled TVs from Panasonic and Samsung have been on the market, however, this is the first time that Skype will be available to Comcast subscribers regardless of which kind of TV they own).

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