Can you guess what we have at least 1 of on every campus, making a total of 104 in the entire district?

Video conferencing units!

Yes, that’s right! We have over 104 endpoints in our district.  I do not know of a district our size with that many!  Along with all of the endpoints, we have a gatekeeper (which means we can connect to endpoints outside of the district) and a bridge (which means we can connect more than one unit at a time to the same video conference).

Video conferencing requires an internet connection, but it is more powerful than Skype.  When you connect using a video conference, the traffic going through the internet pipe is tagged a special way.  This allows for the nice clean connection that you see at the end.  If you have ever been on a Skype video call, you know that the call drops, or pixelates or has other issues.  While video conferencing is not perfect (and trust me, it does have issues!), it is much cleaner than Skype.

The drawback to video conferencing is that it requires a special video conferencing unit.  Good for us, since we have so many units, but not all districts are as fortunate.   If you are interested in connecting with another campus/district, know that you can use the video conferencing equipment.  Just be sure to let your technical contact know your plans.

How could video conferencing be used to enhance research in your classroom? Respond in the comment section. Write a goal for using either a VC or blog in your classroom.