Hooking Teachers on Videoconferencing

The perennial challenge of videoconferencing is to get teachers to use it! They have so many good reasons to resist using it! If you’re just getting started, here are some ideas to get past that first block.

Select a Couple Teachers

Think about who you could start with. Pick someone who:

  • Willing to try something new
  • Flexible
  • Based on content/what’s available

Ask Teachers Questions

As you try to find videoconferences that meet curriculum and teacher interests, ask your teachers these three questions from Linda McDonald.

  • Ask what about the critical target objectives based on testing data.
  • Ask about areas of curriculum that teacher think are important but don’t seem to have time to teach.
  • Ask which content students struggle understanding.

Plan on a Progression of Support

Start off with a very high level of support, and then slowly teach your teachers additional skills so they are more independent.

  1. In the first year, or at least for the very first videoconference, do everything for your teachers. Register for them, give them prep information and help them know how to prepare, remind them a few times before the VC, connect for them and run the camera / remote for them.
  2. As soon as you can, teach your teachers how to do their own registrations.  Keep assisting with connections  and using the remote.
  3. Next, start handing the remote to the teachers and have them mute/unmute, move the camera, and use presets during their VC. Help them set the presets before the VC.
  4. Finally, teach them how to dial on their own too!

Through all of this progression, staying available to assist is critical for the sustainability of the use of videoconferencing in your school/area.

Your Turn

What about you? What tips do you have for hooking teachers on videoconferencing their very first time? Think of the last teacher you got started with VC. What was it that caught his/her interest? Please comment!


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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2 Responses to Hooking Teachers on Videoconferencing

  1. The quality of their first experience is also critical. Even if it exactly fits into their curriculum expectations if it is lame or something that they can more easily do withOUT the video conferencing, that will turn them off.

    ArtSmart, Math Mysteries, and our Science Game Show Review have hooked more teachers this year than any other programs.

    Common to all of these programs: little teacher prep, strong pedagogy in the program, and every student is engaged. No sitting and watching and sleeping.


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