Demonstrating Cornell University's CU-SeeMe videoconferencing software for a group of visitors is one of my favorite workshop activities. For those who are seeing their first demonstration of a videoconferencing program running over the Internet, it is not unusual to hear them ask, "Can they see us?" Then when they hear conversation coming from the speakers attached to the computer, visitors tend to stare at the screen and then ask, "Where is that sound coming from?" Their hands will usually motion toward the screen as they ask, "Are they talking?" Once I prove I am not a ventriloquist by engaging someone from one of the sites in conversation, most visitors are in awe that not only can they see people in other sites but can hear and speak to them as well.

          The fact that there was little documentation for teachers who were seeking to use videoconferencing in a classroom setting became very clear to me when students and I were working on a project and noticed that a video window opened up on the reflector we were logged onto. As we were busy with another task we continued with our work until we heard our cyberguest saying, "Ok, I see you and you see me, now what do we do?" At that point we focused our attention on our guest and proceeded to explain how students at our school use videoconferencing to share resources, strategies, information and guest experts with students in other schools around the world. It was soon after that chance meeting that I realized that this new use of technology brought with it new questions and challenges to those seeking to use it for themselves as well as with students.

          I hope that the following information proves to be helpful as you use videoconferencing with your students. Please share your experiences in the feedback section. I would love to hear how you are using videoconferencing with your students and staff.

Carla Schutte -

[Introduction] [Planning] [Preparing] [Resources] [Class Use]

1998 Carla Schutte, Technology Specialist at Moton Elementary School November, 1998