Videoconferencing is “REAL”

As many of you know, I’m currently teaching an online class – 21st Century Communication Collaborations.

One of the participants in the class is doing Weather Buddies – a year long collaboration with a Dallas ISD class. She described a serendipity moment during their last VC:

In our weather buddies vc my class had written a brief story about a snowy day. We had read the book Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. Several students read their writing to our weather buddies. The media specialist in Texas found the book and gave it to the teacher there during our vc.  My class was so excited to see the very book that we just read. The kids there had made a connection with us and our writing. This was not planned it just happened. I can’t wait to see what they thought of the book!

One of the other participants has not yet done VC with students – and has only experienced Skype with family. This was her response and reflection:

Thanks for pointing out the “realness” that VC allows when you talked about the writing and book connection. Today, walking outside after the snowstorm, a strong feeling of what is real came over me – being outside, interacting with people (my neighbors helped me dig out), my dog trotting, etc.

In the last few years I have increasingly felt that technology is not real – it is somewhat artificial – it doesn’t breathe, think or have emotions and even many projects we do with it, aren’t completely real.

So, your example caused me to think – VC breaks through the artificial aspect of technology – people are real – you can see them, talk to them and feel with them.

Have you experienced this too? Have you noticed how videoconferencing can help you feel so close and connected to students and people so far away? It’s an incredible power to the technology!

Share a story if you too have felt this!

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About Janine Lim

Janine Lim, PhD, currently serves as associate dean for online higher education in the School of Distance Education at Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. She and her team support over 200 online courses, provide training for faculty teaching online, and work with the campus infrastructure support of online learning. Her department also provides educational technology and Moodle support for faculty and students. In addition, Janine is responsible for the faculty and courses of the Consortium of Adventist Colleges and Universities. Janine has taught over 15 unique graduate educational technology classes online numerous times over the past 15 years, with some classes attracting participants from all over the world. Her undergraduate teaching includes social media courses for communication and digital media majors. Janine has served on the board of the United States Distance Learning Association since April 2015. Prior to her work at Andrews University, Janine coordinated distance education for 22 K12 school districts in southwest Michigan for 14 years. In that position, as one of the co-founders of TWICE, Michigan’s K12 Videoconferencing Organization, Janine has spearheaded popular international K12 videoconference projects such as Read Around the Planet and MysteryQuest. While still serving on the board of TWICE, she was instrumental in designing and implementing the CAPspace website for collaborative videoconference projects. Janine also served on a team of Michigan educational technology trainers providing a workshop called ATA Technology Academy. Her current online learning research interests include successful teacher behaviors, quality online discussions, and student activity patterns in self-paced courses.
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