VIDEO CONFERENCING a joint use between Geology and Classical Civilisations, March 2003. Jo Conway and Sian Squire, Yale College of Wrexham firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
What is Video Conferencing? • A means of getting a famous speaker to talk to your students, but they don’t have to travel! • It’s really a glorified video telephone, but better quality • It’s better than just a video because it is INTERACTIVE, you and your students can ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask! • It is also cheap (once equipment is installed!) since you don’t have to pay travelling or entertainment expenses
And there’s no risk assessment paperwork for a trip out to complete! • We are very lucky in Wales as all Colleges have been equipped with video conference suites, so we can talk to each other
Our VC suite Interactive whiteboard Used as “large tv” To show speaker The speaker Hand specimen of pyrite “Our studio” “the other end” “Mixing screen” Dial up and control facilities
Our experience! • Many of our Classics and Geology students want to go to Uni to read Archaeology (they are obsessed with Time Team!) • Both us tutors had wanted to work together – but had not had an opportunity, when we were told out about the equipment, we decided to be the first in the College to use it! • Turns out we were one of the first in Wales to use it in a class situation. • It is often used simply for managers to attend a meeting elsewhere without travelling!
CAESAR (Classics And Earth Science Adventures and Rambles)!! • Cardiff Museum gave us access to one of their top experts • We emailed, telephoned him and spoke to him via video conference to set the brief and test the links the week before • We had technical support from RSC Wales
The Brief • Two live hour long sessions, 10am and 2pm • One to focus on “Geology and minerals in Wales” • The second to focus on “how the Romans used the geology of Wales” • Our job - to provide enthusiastic students (not a problem we had 60 students up for 24 spaces) and to introduce the topic to them before the live link
Our VC suite • This is a picture of the PowerPoint presentation before the link up • Here’s Jo showing some pictures of Cambrian trilobites!
How did it run? • We prepared a PowerPoint presentation to give a bit of detail before the link up (the Classics students had not studied rocks or minerals before and the Geology students had very limited knowledge of the Romans!) • The Classics students were excited to link geological time names like Ordovician and Silurian with their studies of tribes in Wales (Ordovices and Silures) • As tutors we were pleased to see our subjects going beyond the “exam board specifications” and showing a wider application.
Document Viewer • Document viewer is a bit like an OHP • It can be used for text documents and links to the interactive whiteboard to project it to large size to be seen by both speakers and viewers • It can also be used for hand specimens, maps and slides to show these to the “other end”
The live link up • Our RSC Wales Technician started asking “Cardiff are you there?” which gave a few giggles and sounded like Eurovision voting! • And then our Cardiff expert appeared waving at us on screen • We were lucky as he was originally from our local area, and was able to respond to questions with a wealth of local knowledge • We had liaised over which minerals he would talk about, and we had hand specimens so the students could also look at them in the studio • Big tip here – make sure you vet your speaker well (as you would when inviting a speaker in to talk)
The hour sessions whizzed by • Initially students were a little reticent at asking questions as they hadn’t been in the video conference suite before, but they were soon leaping in - and forgot that they were also being watched by Cardiff Museum! • It really was interactive and the sessions were lead by the students
What did we learn • It was great to get to talk to an expert • It was a very novel experience (although we felt like weather presenters when standing at the whiteboard!) • It broadened the curriculum and delivered learning in a totally different way • The students commented very favourably on their feedback sheets and want MORE!
So what’s next? • Cardiff Museum is already booked for a similar event with us for the Wrexham Science Festival for March 2004, and are liaising with us for projects into 2005! • Many of our colleagues have been enthused by our experience and are now looking for their own events
What else? • It would be great to link students from various colleges to chat about topics • Perhaps linking with a tutor from another establishment for specialist help • The Welsh studios are also equipped with Interactive whiteboards and so sharing resources becomes very viable and interactive • So we’re now looking for who else we want to invite to talk to our students…… the sky is the limit as far as we are concerned! It’s only an ambitious email away!
Any drawbacks? • Limited places for students in order to maximise interaction (12 is a good number) • “Easier to talk to someone you know”, we’d communicated with our speaker a lot before the event and felt we knew his style, perhaps pick someone who you’ve seen on a video/tv
Hang on, we haven’t got state of the art facilities like Wales! • Blimey Wales has something new?!! • Perhaps find your nearest centre that does have the facilities, many may charge only a token fee for educational use
Thanks: • A massive than you to our expert – Ken Brassil from Cardiff Museum, who showed us the way forward by operating all the equipment by himself • Thanks to our colleagues – Marthese Morris for technical support from RSC; Sarah Camm and Jill Nicolson for enthusiasm and support
If we can be of any help….. • Jo Conway • Earth Science department, Yale College of Wrexham, Grove Park Road, Wrexham, LL12 7AA • firstname.lastname@example.org • Sian Squire • Classics department, Yale College of Wrexham, Grove Park Road, Wrexham, LL12 7AA • email@example.com